In 1941, Congress enacted the defense base Act (DBA). This new law expands workers’ compensation protections and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to include those who work at offshore and overseas defense bases.
Since then, the DBA has helped connect injured employees of private contractors servicing government defense bases with benefits when they suffered injuries due to their employment. Employees performing work for private companies or through public work contracts directly with the United States government or funded through the Foreign Assistance Act can potentially qualify for coverage after workplace injuries under the DBA.
What kind of benefits can an injured worker hope to secure through a claim under the DBA?
The DBA authorizes medical benefits for injured workers that will cover care obtained overseas during an emergency after an injury while working at a defense base. Those benefits continue when the worker returns to the United States, and they have the right to work with their own physician for treatment. Medical coverage will apply to emergency care, rehabilitative treatment and intensive medical evaluations to establish the degree of impact and injury has on a worker’s life.
Disability benefits help replace lost wages. Those who temporarily cannot work because they get hurt on the job can receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage. In some cases, workers can receive supplementary benefits if that reduced compensation isn’t enough to cover their cost of living expenses. There are also permanent disability benefits available for those who will no longer be able to seek gainful employment after a job injury.
Death benefits for surviving dependents
Death benefits help protect their independence and surviving family members of someone who dies while working. Family members can receive ongoing compensation that may replace up to 2/3 of a worker’s wages.
DBA benefits will also cover the cost of a funeral and burial expenses. In fact, the DBA also specifically covers the repatriation of someone’s body after they die. International transportation of human remains can be prohibitively expensive, making repatriation benefits a crucial protection for grieving family members.
Knowing what DBA benefits you have the right to request will make it easier for you to get the support you need after an injury occurs while working overseas.