How to Handle Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation for Undocumented Workers

Document created by 1002070 on Apr 27, 2015Last modified by 1002028 on May 3, 2015
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Pat Rountree.jpgWhat happens under the Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment laws of North Carolina when an employee who was authorized to work is unable to produce documentation of eligibility to work in the US when their current documentation expires?


For an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation payments for an injury that occurred during the time they were authorized to work, they would continue to receive the benefits of the workers’ compensation system under North Carolina law if they are unable to work.  This would include payments for medical treatment as well.  At the time the employee has recovered and could return to work, but is unable to because they are undocumented, the employer should contact the carrier to petition the Industrial Commission to stop payments.


The unemployment laws base eligibility for unemployment on the following criteria:


  1. The employee must have sufficient earnings in the base period to qualify for a benefit;
  2. The employee’s separation must be due to no fault of the employee; and
  3. The employee must be able, available and actively seeking work.


Since an undocumented alien is not authorized to work in the US, they cannot satisfy the second and third requirements and would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.  If they are later able to produce documentation of eligibility to work, they may be eligible for benefits if they would otherwise qualify.