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Bills seek to deny comp benefits to undocumented immigrants

workers comp

New Jersey lawmakers have brought back a proposal to exclude undocumented immigrants from receiving workers compensation benefits for workplace injuries and illnesses.

S.B. 156 and A.B. 693 include language that has been introduced 10 times in the Senate since 2002 and 12 times in the Assembly since 1998 in response to a 1991 court decision holding immigration status does not dictate eligibility to receive benefits under the state’s temporary disability law.

Both measures would exclude from the definition of people covered by workers compensation “employees who are aliens unless they were lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time the employment was performed, were lawfully present for the purpose of performing the employment, or otherwise were permanently residing in the United States under color of law at the time the employment was performed.”

A legislative statement included with both bills states the measures would exclude “illegal aliens” from workers comp coverage and bar them from receiving benefits under the temporary disability law. The bills are a response to the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division decision in Mateo Coria v. Board of Review and National Fence System, according to the statements.

The 1991 appeals court decision said undocumented immigrants are allowed to receive benefits from the temporary disability program, which covers lost wages for people off work due to non-industrial injuries and illnesses.

S.B. 156 was referred to the Senate Labor Committee Tuesday, the same day A.B. 693 was referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.