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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 18, 2013 11:29 AM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Prohibiting Workers’ Compensation for Undocumented Workers
I am re-introducing legislation to prohibit the award of workers’ compensation for undocumented, illegal workers in the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania does not prohibit an undocumented worker from receiving WC benefits - both medical and indemnity (wages) - despite their illegal residency status. State courts have reduced benefits for illegal workers over the years through rulings such as one that removed the requirement placed upon workers’ compensation insurance carriers to prove there is work available within the physical restrictions of the injured worker when they want to modify or suspend indemnity benefits of illegal workers. However, benefits of lost wages and medical coverage are still being awarded because under state law undocumented workers are entitled to workers’ compensation.

The United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal within the past few years from Louisiana which challenged the award of workers’ compensation to an illegal worker in that state because federal immigration laws should preempt any state, from allowing illegals to collect workers' compensation. By denying consideration of the case, the Supreme Court has left the matter up to the individual states.

My legislation will amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to deem undocumented, illegal workers ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

This legislation was Senate Bill 1077 of 2011-2012 and previous co-sponsors were SCARNATI, RAFFERTY, D. WHITE, EICHELBERGER, SOLOBAY, WAUGH, ALLOWAY, VOGEL, FOLMER, ERICKSON, YAW, BREWSTER, KASUNIC and BRUBAKER.

Introduced as SB714