COPD and the Defense Base Act: Are You Entitled to Benefits?

COPD and the Defense Base Act: Are You Entitled to Benefits?

Oct 28, 2019 | Defense Base Act

The Defense Base Act (DBA) is a law that provides benefits to contractors who are injured while working for the armed forces overseas. These are injuries that can happen because of actual armed conflict, or through the regular duties of your job.

COPD is a specific type of respiratory illness that can occur after exposure to polluted air. If you were exposed to certain chemicals while working overseas and developed COPD, you may be able to get DBA benefits. 

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. As its name suggests, it means that your lungs are constantly blocked with phlegm. COPD is usually the result of other conditions, such as bronchitis, which occur chronically. 

Working in a conflict zone can expose you to a whole range of different airborne particles and pollutants. These chemicals can damage your lungs and make COPD and other respiratory diseases more likely. 

You may have COPD if you find that you’re constantly out of breath even after minor exercise. You may also struggle to draw individual breaths. 

COPD is much more common among veterans than in the general population, with veterans three times more likely to develop the disease. Obviously, while contractors are not members of the armed forces, they are still exposed to some of the same conditions working on military bases overseas. 

Will I Qualify for the Defense Base Act if I Have COPD? 

While it is possible to qualify for DBA benefits if you have COPD, there are a few steps you’ll have to take. To qualify for benefits, you need to have an actual diagnosis from a doctor, as well as evidence that links your job duties overseas to that diagnosis. 

For example, one of the leading causes of COPD is smoking. If you’re a smoker and also worked overseas as a contractor, it may be hard or impossible to determine that a specific event overseas triggered your lung disease instead of your smoking habit. 

Depending on how long ago you worked overseas, you should begin collecting evidence straight away. Documents proving your presence overseas and your job duties are good things to keep. Any medical records documenting your COPD and any treatment you’ve received are also necessary. 

You should also talk to a lawyer about filing a DBA claim. The process can be long and drawn out, and making mistakes during the process can reduce the chances of you receiving a payment. 

Start the Process Today

Paying for COPD treatment is a huge financial burden, and it doesn’t have to be one that you have to bear. If you think that you’ve suffered because of your work on military installations overseas, you should start the process of filing for DBA benefits as soon as possible. Doing so can help you access better care and payments for your treatment.

To book a free consultation, contact us today. Our team of experienced attorneys will be able to help you through the entire process of applying for Defense Base Act benefits.