Illegal aliens have always had a hard time when it comes to working in the US. It’s difficult for them to find a job, and even more challenging to keep it. And with unemployment on the rise, one question pops into their mind — Can illegal aliens get unemployment? Let’s try to answer that, shall we?
What is Unemployment Compensation?
Unemployment compensations are payments made by authorized entities to people without jobs. When it comes to the US, a government insurance system funds these benefits, which means taxpayers are not contributing to them.
The amount of money the benefit provides depends on the receiver’s status and state laws. However, the general rule is that it covers about half of the person’s previous salary. As such, unemployment benefits are basically a means of surviving while looking for a new job.
Who is Eligible for Compensation?
While requirements vary from state to state, the most common one is having a valid working permit. It’s also important to note that people who get fired for misconduct or quit are not eligible for benefits. Last but not least, a worker must meet state requirements for time worked or wages earned during a “base period.”
Can Illegal Aliens Get Unemployment?
Unfortunately, most illegal aliens are not eligible for unemployment, simply because they don’t have a valid working permit. In fact, some states make it illegal for employers to hire undocumented immigrants. But there is a silver lining when it comes to payment and benefits.
It may seem strange, but illegal aliens are eligible for workers’ compensation. As a result, illegal workers can receive money if they get injured in the course of employment. The drawback is that receiving workers’ compensation renders the employee unable to sue the employer. However, most illegal aliens don’t take advantage of this compensation as they are afraid of revealing their status to the authorities.
The California Department of Social Services is looking to help illegal aliens. Since May 18, 2020, the CDSS started providing one-time $500 grants to anyone 19 and older that:
- Is undocumented
- Is not eligible for federal COVID-19 related assistance
- Has endured hardship as a result of the pandemic
While most states have yet to adopt this system, we can hope that the rest of the US will soon join California in this admirable endeavor.
The Bottom Line
Nobody chooses to be jobless, especially illegal aliens who are at a much greater disadvantage. While the answer to Can illegal aliens get unemployment? is seemingly no, California seems to be a shining beacon of light. One can only hope that other states will follow their example and help those in need. If you are illegal, make sure to look up the unemployment requirements in your state. With a bit of luck, one day, everybody will be able to receive social benefits, be they illegal aliens or citizens.