Morgan’s Tip of the Week- FL new immigration law and WC


I have a received a few questions about the impact Florida Senate Bill 1718 will have on Florida WC.  The new law imposes stricter penalties on those who smuggle unauthorized aliens, etc…but a few provisions will have an indirect effect on WC.  Taken from the Florida Senate’s summary of the new law (link below), the bill….

  • Creates penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized aliens, effective July 1, 2024, including quarterly reporting and the suspension or revocation of employer licenses in certain circumstances;
  • Creates a third-degree felony for an unauthorized alien to knowingly use a false identification document or who fraudulently uses an identification document of another person, to obtain employment;
  • Requires any hospital that accepts Medicaid to include a question on its admission or registration forms inquiring about whether the patient is a United States citizen, is lawfully present in the United States, or is not lawfully present in the United States;

So, while none of the above directly impacts WC, they will have an indirect impact.   Florida WC caselaw does state that undocumented workers are eligible to receive WC benefits, unless they commit “fraud” in the claim itself. 

Although the FL WC statute states it is unlawful to use a false ID to obtain employment, there is no penalty for doing so (in the WC statute) UNLESS the claimant uses the false ID to obtain WC benefits.  Meaning if the claimant admits their true identity at the first contact with the carrier or first treatment, there is no WC misrepresentation.

Section 440.105(4)(b)(9), Florida Statutes (2005), provides:

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person:

9.  To knowingly present or cause to be presented any false, fraudulent, or misleading oral or written statement to any person as evidence of identity for the purpose of obtaining employment or filing or supporting a claim for workers’ compensation benefits

But….the punishment section says it must be for the purpose of obtaining benefits:

440.09(4)(a) An employee shall not be entitled to compensation or benefits under this chapter if any judge of compensation claims, administrative law judge, court, or jury convened in this state determines that the employee has knowingly or intentionally engaged in any of the acts described in s. 440.105 or any criminal act for the purpose of securing workers’ compensation benefits. 

So although it says you cannot use a fake ID to get a job in the WC statute, you only get the punishment of the claim being denied if the fake ID was used for the purpose of obtaining benefits after the accident happened. 

We have often seen undocumented workers admit to the hospital that their name is different than that which they used to get the job.  Now, with the hospital required to ask, and with the additional risk of the 3rd  degree felony for using the fake ID to get the job, we may see more claimant’s stick with the false name, possibly creating more “misrep” type claims.

Here is a link to a 2019 article by my law partner Sean Callahan on the issue of undocumented workers and FL WC:

Here is a summary of all the components of the new Immigration law.


Morgan Indek | Managing Partner