The Defense Base Act (DBA) is a piece of legislation that provides worker’s compensation benefits to civilians injured on military bases outside of the United States. The DBA also covers civilians working for non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
For the DBA, US territories like Guam and Puerto Rico are considered outside the US.
DBA benefits pay for medical treatment that you may need, as well as compensation if you are no longer able to work. The exact amount of money that you are entitled to depends on the severity of your injury.
Do You Qualify for DBA Benefits if you have PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that can occur after a traumatic event. While PTSD ranges in severity, most cases have the same general symptoms.
These include negative thoughts, reacting strongly to things around you (like loud noises), and having intrusive memories, like nightmares or sudden, strong flashbacks.
PTSD can significantly affect your ability to function. It makes even mundane work tasks much harder to complete. It may also negatively affect your mental health, as negative and intrusive thoughts can result in depression and anxiety.
All of these things mean that a valid PTSD diagnosis will qualify you for DBA benefits.
Working on a military base, especially overseas in a conflict zone, can expose you to events that can cause PTSD. However, a medical diagnosis of PTSD may happen years after the event or events. You’ll need to document your treatment, your past wages, and any other documentation that can prove your diagnoses.
If you have PTSD, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation through the DBA. However, in order to qualify, you need to be able to prove a link between your PTSD and your work overseas. The best way to do this is through medical diagnoses and treatment.
A doctor or psychologist that can attribute your current mental state to your work overseas strengthens your application. So does the ability to point to a singular event, or series of events, that you keep revisiting.
Remember that PTSD can be triggered by a single large traumatic event or a series of smaller-scale events that leave a lasting impression. There is no singular definition of what makes PTSD.
Applying for DBA Benefits
The application process for DBA benefits is quite long. You need to make sure that you’ve retained a lawyer to walk you through the process. This is important because your employer’s insurance company will likely try to prevent your claim from going through.
A lawyer can also help you gather the proper documentation and make sure that you do not lose your case on a technicality. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us.
Our team of lawyers has a long history working with clients to secure DBA benefits for PTSD and other injuries experienced on the job.