Do I Have to be a U.S. Citizen to Receive Workers’ Compensation?

By: Shulman & Hill

If you’re an immigrant worker who has been injured on the job in New York City, you may ask, “Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to receive workers’ compensation?” No, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen—or even a permanent resident—to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

A common misconception is that only U.S. citizens or green card holders are entitled to file for workers’ compensation claims. However, that is not the case. You can collect benefits regardless of your immigration status. If you have an established employee-employer relationship, and your injuries are directly related to your job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. New York State’s labor laws protect all workers, including undocumented workers.

How Can I Receive Workers' Compensation as an Immigrant in New York City?

Navigating New York City’s workers’ compensation laws can seem daunting, especially if you are an immigrant. We understand that workers’ compensation provides a critical safety net for all workers, regardless of immigration status.

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident to receive workers’ compensation benefits in any of New York City’s boroughs. This inclusivity provides a crucial layer of financial security and protection under the state’s laws.

Why You Need a Lawyer

Hiring a knowledgeable lawyer can help you receive all you are entitled to after a work-related accident. Insurance companies and other third parties often have vast resources at their disposal. They will typically attempt to minimize the compensation they pay out. This dynamic can pose formidable challenges for those who are not fluent in English or are unfamiliar with the legal system. Therefore, having a skilled and experienced lawyer is invaluable.

Shulman & Hill offers bilingual services and culturally sensitive representation to bridge communication gaps and protect your rights. We can advise you on all avenues for compensation that are available to you. For instance, you may also be able to pursue a lawsuit against any third parties responsible for your injury. Our firm handles both personal injury and workers’ compensation. Thus, we can attend to all your legal needs, saving you time and increasing the effectiveness of your claim.

Legal Rights of Undocumented Workers

If you are an undocumented worker, you might be concerned about the legal repercussions of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Undocumented workers’ comp is legally permissible, and your immigration status does not affect your eligibility for compensation.
  • You can file a personal injury claim after a workplace accident, regardless of your documentation status.
  • Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys will handle your claim with the utmost confidentiality and professionalism.

“With very few exceptions, all employees are eligible for workers' compensation in New York state. If your workers' compensation claim is denied, call Shulman & Hill. We'll take care of everything and get you back on your feet.”

Applying for Workers' Compensation Without a Social Security Number

Navigating the workers’ compensation process without a Social Security number might seem challenging, but in New York, the system is designed to accommodate all workers, regardless of their documentation status. Our team aims to help each worker receive fair treatment and compensation under New York law.

No Social Security Number Required for Undocumented Workers' Comp

New York State’s C-3 form, the primary document for filing a workers’ compensation claim, does not require a Social Security number. This critical aspect allows all injured workers to claim benefits without fear of their immigration status affecting the process.

Off-the-Books Employment

Many workers in New York are employed “off-the-books” or receive their pay “under the table.” If you find yourself in such a position, you might worry about the legitimacy of your claim. However, undocumented workers’ compensation claims are valid even if they are paid off the books. Additionally, the legality of your employment status at the time of hiring does not invalidate your workers’ compensation claim.

“Maximizing your workers' compensation settlement starts the minute after you're injured. So the first thing a person needs to do is seek medical treatment, give notice to a supervisor, clearly document the sites injured in the hospital, and document that in their C-3 claim form. They then need to determine if further intensive treatment is warranted.”

Will Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim Impact My Immigration Status?

While workers’ compensation claims are generally straightforward, concerns about immigration are valid and may require professional legal advice. We recommend consulting directly with an immigration attorney in addition to your workers’ compensation lawyer to fully address your concerns.

One common concern is whether filing a workers’ compensation claim could negatively impact your immigration status. Workers’ compensation benefits are based purely on your employment status and the circumstances of your injury, not your immigration status.

Workers’ compensation for immigrants is designed to provide benefits regardless of citizenship status. Recoverable benefits include medical care for injuries sustained on the job and compensation for lost wages. The law protects all workers, including undocumented ones, allowing workers to receive their due benefits without impacting their immigration status.

Employer Retaliation Is Illegal

Many immigrant workers hesitate to file a claim due to fear of retaliation from their employers. New York law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot fire, threaten, harass, or discriminate against you for filing a claim. If your employer retaliates, they can face serious legal consequences, including penalties and fines.

Shulman & Hill Can Answer Your Workers' Compensation Questions

At Shulman & Hill, we have over a decade of experience handling workers’ compensation matters. No case is too significant, complex, or challenging for our knowledgeable and skilled attorneys. We provide vigorous representation and personalized service to protect your rights. For more information on how we can help, please visit our detailed FAQ section. We are here to help you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Why Choose Us?

Shulman & Hill is a natural choice for your workers’ compensation case. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Comprehensive legal representation: Whether you’re dealing with an undocumented workers’ comp case following a construction accident or need guidance on how workers’ compensation for immigrants works, we’re here to provide the counsel and representation you need.
  • Client-centered approach:  Our dedicated attorneys and staff redefine the level of service you would expect from a law firm. We stress open communication, attention to detail, and vigorous representation throughout the course of litigation.
  • Results-focused: Our approach is backed up by our strong track record of case results for our clients. We have recovered over $400 million in compensation for our clients.
  • Experienced across NYC: We handle workers’ compensation claims across all five boroughs and Long Island.

To learn more about how we can assist you with your workers’ compensation claim or to discuss any specific concerns, contact our legal team online or by phone at 212-221-1000. 

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At Shulman & Hill, our personal injury attorneys have won more than $400 million for injured clients throughout the years. This includes pain and suffering damages that compensate them for their intangible losses, as well as economic damages such as medical bills and lost income.

As New York’s premier personal injury law firm, we serve clients in New York City, on Long Island, and statewide. We pride ourselves on handling cases no matter the difficulty or complexity.

Contact us using our online form or by dialing (866) 806-6754. We offer free initial case consultations and will assess your legal options based on your case facts. We are here to help you pursue fair compensation based on the expenses and losses you suffered, including any non-economic damages.

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