The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act makes available a system for injured employees to obtain financial benefits and medical care without having to prove anyone was at fault.
It is a very common misconception that because someone is undocumented that they cannot qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in the state of South Carolina. This statement is false. An undocumented individual may be entitled to benefits while in private employment. The Act defines employee to mean “every person engaged in an employment … including aliens and also including minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed…” (S. C. Code Ann. Section 42-1-130 (Supp. 2009))
The law in South Carolina includes legally and illegally hired aliens. Insurance companies have tried to claim that if a worker obtains a job using false documentation then they will be ineligible for benefits under the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The South Carolina Supreme Court has said as recently as 2008 that IRCA does not pre-empt state law and the employee is not precluded from benefits under our Workers’ Compensation Act.
One of the biggest hurdles for an undocumented individual is proving that they in fact did work for an employer due to the lack of documentation. It is important to keep pay check stubs and if wages are paid in cash it is a good idea to keep a ledger of wages with dates and amounts. It is also a good idea to put your wages in a bank account in order to be able to have proof if ever needed that regular deposits were made. Just because someone is undocumented does not mean they do not have rights where workers’ compensation is concerned.
Callihan Lohr & Syracuse can provide a North Charleston workers’ compensation attorney to help fight for your rights and get you the benefits you are rightfully entitled to.
Call 843-790-3476 to learn more about representation from Callihan Lohr & Syracuse.