Florida Statutes Section 440.12(11)(a) defines employee to include “aliens not legally entitled to be employed.” It follows that lost wages and medical care will be furnished to an injured worker despite an injured workers inability to maintain residency or citizenship in the United States. If an employer knew or should have known the true “status” of the employee, that employer is estopped from conveniently using the unauthorized alien status to avoid paying wage loss benefits or furnishing medical care. It is crucial for a non-citizen worker to file a Verified Motion for a Substitute Identification number. This number will serve as the injured worker’s social security number for Workers Compensation purposes. This number will be used at all subsequent doctors appointments.
An undocumented worker has the same rights under the Florida Statutes as a United States citizen. However, if an illegal alien produces fraudulent identification in the form of a fake ID card or a social security card, all benefits will cease. A false identification card/Social Security Card/driver’s license is a form of insurance fraud, as an injured worker is attempting to obtain workers compensation benefits through fraudulent means. It is equally as important to file a Verified Motion for a Substitute Identification number to ensure that this worker is accounted for. The employer/carrier cannot deny an injured worker’s benefits if that employer knew or should have known that the worker was illegal or a non-citizen. If the injured worker obtained the job through a friend and produced no identification, it follows that the employer cannot cease benefits because he/she knew about the false identification and still hired the worker.
A similar issue arises when an injured worker, who is a native of another country, moves back to that region. An undocumented worker may be deported to another country or simply move back home. Injured workers should not fear such a situation, as the workers compensation carrier will authorize medical treatment in that country. It is very important to contact an attorney to discuss these important international matters.