5 Unique Facts About the Defense Base Act for Overseas Contractors

5 Unique Facts About the Defense Base Act for Overseas Contractors

Jan 21, 2020 | Defense Base Act, Workers' Comp

Work-related injuries or death occur in every profession. According to the National Safety Council, there were 4,414 preventable work-related deaths.

Even one preventable death is too many. While employers strive to create a safe work environment, accidents and emergencies happen. 

Worker’s Compensation Benefits provide monetary help for medical and death expenses. But what benefits are overseas contractors for the military eligible to receive?

The Defense Base Act offers similar coverage an employee receives through Worker’s Compensation Benefits. 

To learn more about the Defense Base Act, continue reading.

What Does the Defense Base Act Provide for Overseas Contractors?

The Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) provides medical, disability, and funeral arrangement coverage under the Defense Base Act to employees working overseas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

It doesn’t matter the position held, any employee of a private employer on a military base is eligible for the Defense Base Act (DBA) benefits. The DBA also includes non-citizen workers.

Below are five facts about the DBA that might surprise you.

1. Three Major Insurance Carriers

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) allows insurance carriers and self-insured employers. There are currently more than 700 insurance carriers and self-insured employers allowed to disburse benefits. 

Out of the 700 insurance carriers, ACE-USA, AIG, and CNA are the three major companies providing Defense Base Act insurance coverage. 

Interestingly, if an employer doesn’t make payments required by the Defense Base Act, the ill or injured employee or the survivors can sue for “tort damages.”

2. Choosing a Physician

An injured overseas employee may choose the doctor for medical treatment. Whereas an injured employee receiving Worker’s Compensation Benefits might go to a doctor chosen by the insurance carrier.

3. Operation Iraqi Freedom

According to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), hundreds of DBA claimants received benefits. But with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003, the number of paid claimants jumped.

In 2002, the total amount of benefits paid was $7,581,995 and by 2004 the number climbed to $30,079,389.

4. It’s Not a New Act

Congress enacted the Defense Base Act on August 16, 1941. The act extends the federal worker’s compensation program for longshore and harbor workers, according to the FAS.

5. Hiring An Attorney

An injured employee isn’t required to hire an attorney. But consulting an attorney might be beneficial for completing the Defense Base Act claim.

Completing and submitting the documentation could be confusing and time-consuming. To ensure the claim is done right the first time speak with a DBA attorney.

The employer has ten days to report the injury to the OWCP with Form LS-202 when the employee misses one or more work shifts. A written claim requesting benefits must get filed within one year of the injury, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Set Up a Consultation

Now that you understand how the Defense Base Act helps overseas contractors and five interesting facts about the act, it’s time to put it to use. If you’ve been injured in a work accident, but are unsure how to file a claim, please contact us today.