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Illegal immigrant ineligible for benefits: Court

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SALEM, Ore.—An Oregon appellate court has ruled that an illegal immigrant is ineligible for vocational assistance benefits.

In Carmen Carreon vs. Commerce & Industry Insurance Co., the claimant appealed a ruling by the director of Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services that denied her vocational assistance benefits for a 2005 injury that resulted in a permanent impairment award.

Court records do not describe the nature of her injury or the accident that led to it.

But the director denied the benefits because Ms. Carreon was not authorized to work in the United States.

She argued that the conditions for vocational assistance eligibility rest on whether a worker is able to return to his or her previous job or any other suitable employment and whether the employee has a substantial handicap.

Ms. Carreon also argued that the director overreached by creating an eligibility requirement for the benefits and that Oregon's Legislature did not grant the director the authority to do so.

The Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed. In a Wednesday ruling, it said Oregon law grants the director the authority to establish additional conditions for providing vocational assistance.