Understanding How Death Benefits Are Calculated Under the DBA

Understanding How Death Benefits Are Calculated Under the DBA

Mar 14, 2020 | Defense Base Act

Dying in the service to our country is an honorable but tragic moment. What many may not realize is that there are many more besides those in our military service that risk death.

To protect the contractors and civilian workers that work alongside our military, we have the Defense Base Act. As with many complex insurance structures, there are many things to understand and the most important item is death benefits.

We’ll walk you through all the details you’ll need to know as a military contractor or family related to a military contractor. 

Understanding Death Benefits

Upon hiring for any military contractor work, you’ll get your official confirmation of coverage through the Defense Base Act. This will allow you to get the death benefits from any potential fatal harm while working.

You and your family should know all the details of these benefits so that you can ensure that you can manage them well. The basics work out like this. 

1. Conditions and Beneficiaries 

Upon the death of the contracted worker, death benefits pay out to the surviving spouse or one of their children if no widow is available. Dependants can get some death benefits as listed below. 

The payments are 50% of the deceased’s average income every week. This payment depends on the spouse’s intent to remarry or the child’s age, whichever is applicable.

If a spouse never remarries, they will get the death benefits for the remainder of their life. If they do remarry, they will get a lump sum equal to 2 years of death benefits. 

A child only receives death benefits until they are 18. This age limit can go till 23 if they are a student. 

2. Calculated Payments

There are more details about the calculations. If there are two survivors of the deceased, then the death benefits will rise up to 66% of the average income. 

Other dependents of the deceased, such as dependent grandchildren or siblings, can receive up to 20% of the deceased’s average income. Dependant grandparents or parents get up to 25%.

If you do not have any children, spouses, or dependants, death benefits will not payout. This is unlike a life insurance policy that can go to any chosen beneficiary. The exception is the $3,000 paid to cover funeral costs. 

The percentage system of the death benefits payments does keep inflation in mind. Changes for inflated adjust every few years. 

How to Obtain Death Benefits

With an understanding of what they are, you need to know the parameters of how you get the death benefits. 

Within 30 days of the death, a written notice must go to the employer. Within a year you must make a written claim for payment of compensation. 

You should get an OWCP case file number which you can file to your case file for completion. If you do not get a case file number, contact an authority located here

Like life insurance, you may face contention for your payout, often due to the circumstances of death or your relationship to the deceased. If so, contact your lawyer right away.

Protecting Your Family with Quality Legal Advice

While the conversation may be morbid, the death benefits of the Defense Base Act will add a sense of security and peace of mind if the worse does happen. Understanding the details of this can save you a lot of heartache in a trying time.

The Defense Base Act isn’t the only thing we here at Barnes Law Firm represent. We have a strong and experienced legal team with expertise in Maritime Law, car accidents, workers’ comp and more. Contact us today for more information.