5 Ways the Defense Base Act Protects U.S. Workers

5 Ways the Defense Base Act Protects U.S. Workers

Mar 2, 2023 | Defense Base Act

More than 700,000 civilians are employed around the globe on US military bases. These people work in support of US military operations, often facing similar dangers to military personnel. 

Yet, they don’t have the same coverage as military personnel. The Defense Base Act was created to provide necessary protections for those working abroad on behalf of the US government. 

The Defense Base Act is part of the federal workers’ compensation program under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. What kind of protections are provided, and how do you get them if needed?

Read on to learn more about these protections from the DBA. 

1. Eligibility for the Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act was intended to protect non-military workers who experience personal injury while working abroad.

Like traditional US workers are protected by workers’ compensation laws, the Defense Base Act provides similar protections for this unique group, including:

  • Workers employed by private employers on US military bases and installations
  • Workers on public work contracts with the US government
  • Workers employed for welfare services outside of the US

In essence, all workers employed outside of the US for the US government are likely covered under this act. 

2. Benefits Provided

Like regular worker’s compensation insurance, the Defense Base Act provides disability insurance coverage for workers. It covers a worker during their employment outside of the US or as a US contractor. 

It’s essential to note coverage is in place, even if the injury occurs during non-working hours. Benefits for those covered include:

  • Temporary total disability
  • Permanent total disability
  • Death benefits

Benefits cover medical treatment and care, including rehabilitative care. It can also include wage reimbursement while the worker is unable to work because of their injury.

In most cases, when workers lose their wages, they’re reimbursed up to two-thirds of their wages through the DBA.

3. What to Do If You’re Injured on the Job

It’s important to know what to do in the event of a work injury. Get medical attention if you’re injured and it’s an emergent situation. 

If you’re injured and can, first inform your employer of the injury. Ask them for Form LS-1, Request for Examination, and/or Treatment. This form authorized treatment through the Defense Base Act. 

You’re allowed to seek medical care from the provider of your choice. 

4. Filing a Claim

 Injury claims get made to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs or OWCP. You can file a claim for up to one year following an injury for compensation of wages. 

You need to use Form LS-203 Employee’s Claim for Compensation. You may already have an established OWCP file number. If that’s the case, you can upload your claim to Longshore’s Secure Electronic Access Portal (SEAPortal).

You may also seek legal assistance with your case. Be sure to use an attorney who specializes in Defense Base Act cases.

5. Death Benefits

If your loved one died while on a base abroad, the Defense Base Act also provides death benefits. You have thirty days to file for benefits using Form LS-201 Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death.

Get the Help You Need from the Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act provides important protections for workers across the globe on behalf of the US government and military.

You may find you need help navigating the claims process or seeking benefits. Barnes Law Firm specializes in Defense Base Act claims and cases. Let us help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today so we can review your case.