COLUMBUS – State lawmakers today began hearings on the Ohio Workers First Act, which would close a loophole that allows illegal aliens to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

State Representatives Larry Householder and Bill Seitz, the architects of House Bill 380, told the House Insurance Committee the legislation would prohibit illegal aliens from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the plan, workers injured on the job would certify they are authorized to work in America – the same process already used in Ohio to process unemployment compensation claims.

“This is a common sense proposal that puts Ohio workers and Ohio jobs first, and protects Ohio businesses,” said Householder (R-Glenford).

“Legal workers have every reason to be concerned that our workers’ compensation system will have enough money to pay their injury claims,” Householder said, “and law-abiding employers have every reason to pay their BWC premiums only on the workers who are legally authorized to work in Ohio.”

Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said that because Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is mainly funded by charges to Ohio employers, “every dollar paid out by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to illegal alien workers is money that would otherwise go to reduce employer charges and make Ohio more competitive.”

He noted that BWC has admitted there is no federal law that requires states to pay illegal aliens workers’ compensation benefits, adding that the Ohio General Assembly has the ability to require proof claimants are authorized to work in this country, as several states have already done.

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