Workers Who May Not Be Eligible for Compensation
Most employees are eligible to claim workers’ compensation from their employers when they become ill or injured due to their jobs. However, not all workers are employees, and there are even some employees who do not qualify for compensation.
The question of whether you qualify for workers’ compensation is not necessarily straightforward because the requirements vary by state. If you fall into one of the following categories, there may be a question about your eligibility for workers’ compensation at the very least.
Some people come to the United States from another country without going through official immigration channels. They get jobs without providing evidence of eligibility to work in the United States. These people are undocumented workers, and different states have different rules governing whether they are eligible for compensation when they get hurt on the job. Some states specifically require that workers’ compensation cover immigrant workers who are undocumented. These include states along the Mexican border, such as Texas, California, and Arizona. Other states, including Wyoming and Idaho, do not require that workers’ compensation cover undocumented workers.
Not everyone who works for a company is an employee. Some employers outsource certain types of jobs to independent contractors. These are people who provide services to other companies on a contract basis. In the eyes of the law, independent contractors are self-employed, which means that they cannot claim workers’ compensation.
Difficulties can arise when there is uncertainty over whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. A worker may believe he or she is an employee only to find out that the employer has inappropriately categorized him or her as an independent contractor. Sometimes this is a genuine mistake, but there have been instances in which employers purposely misclassified employees as independent contractors specifically to avoid paying benefits like workers’ compensation. If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you may need to provide evidence to prove your status as an employee.
People who work on a temporary or seasonal basis are often not eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Agricultural workers are sometimes not included, even if they work full time. Workers’ compensation may not cover people like babysitters, housekeepers, and nannies who work domestic jobs.
Contact our office if you believe you have been denied workers’ compensation unfairly or if you have questions about your eligibility.