It’s not clear exactly how many contractors are working for the US military overseas – but it’s clear that the number is quite high. In 2007, there were more contractors in Iraq than there were service members, for instance.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer after previously working overseas, you may be entitled to benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA). However, because the DBA is a complicated piece of legislation and filing a claim is not straightforward, you may want to talk to a Defense Base Act lawyer.
Read on to see if your cancer diagnosis qualifies you for DBA benefits, and what you should do to start the claim process.
What is the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act is effectively the same thing as worker’s compensation insurance. It covers civilian workers who work for the US military as contractors or subcontractors overseas. It provides disability, medical, and death benefits to those who are injured or die through the course of their work overseas.
Is Cancer Covered Under the Defense Base Act?
The DBA covers a range of different injuries, from broken bones and burns to cancer diagnosis. Cancer is covered under the DBA, and you can receive medical, disability, and death benefits for a diagnosis. However, receiving those benefits is not an automatic process.
In order to qualify for DBA benefits, you need to be able to link your diagnoses with your job duties. This can be a complicated undertaking, which is why you should always talk to a lawyer who specializes in DBA claims.
You Should Always Talk to a Defense Base Act Lawyer
Hiring a Defense Base Act lawyer is your best bet to expediting your claims process. They know what paperwork you have to file, what records you need to provide, and how the entire claims process progresses over time.
You should document as much as you can, including medical, travel, and employment records. It can all help ensure that your claim is approved and you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Were you working with hazardous chemicals, or exposed to chemical weapons while working overseas? Was a medication you were prescribed while overseas linked to the type of cancer you now have?
Keep in mind that you will likely have to do a full health check-up and interview to gauge your long-term health. If you’ve been a long-term smoker and developed lung cancer, for instance, that may count against your claim.
The Claims Process Can Be Tough
For more information about applying for benefits through the Defense Base Act, check out this guide about the importance of mediation during the claims process. Mediation can help you get access to your benefits without going to court. Hopefully, of course, it isn’t necessary and the government gives you your benefits without a hassle.
But if that’s not the case, it underscores why you should always hire a Defense Base Act lawyer.