The Ohio House of Representatives passed a two year $645 million workers’ compensation budget on June 5, 2019. As part of the budget bill, a provision was added that requires anyone who files an application for a workers’ compensation claim through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, to identify themselves as either a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen with permission to work in the country or an illegal alien or an unauthorized alien. All applicants may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of citizenship identification. However, under the bill, anyone providing false information on a claim application will be ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and may be subject to criminal prosecution. Prior to this budget bill, anyone, regardless of citizenship status, who was injured in the course and scope of employment was entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
Previous attempts in Ohio to introduce language to bills and laws to prohibit illegal or unauthorized aliens from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits have failed to be signed into law.
In addition, the current House budget bill includes a provision permitting first responders such as police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Presently, Ohio law only permits a claim to be recognized for a psychological condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder when it arises out of an underlying physical injury.
The House budget bill will now proceed to the Ohio Senate for consideration. We will keep you updated should this budget bill become law.