What Civilian Contractors Need to Know About the Defense Base Act

What Civilian Contractors Need to Know About the Defense Base Act

Jan 4, 2023 | Defense Base Act

The US Department of Defense employs roughly 950,000 workers across the globe on military bases and installations. As an employee of a business in the US, you would be covered by workers’ compensation protections which are required in all states. 

A civilian contractor working for the US government doesn’t get the same type of workers’ compensation. Instead, government contractors get covered by the Defense Base Act. 

Are you wondering who’s covered and what kind of protections are offered? Are you a government contractor who needs to file a claim?

Read on to learn more about the Defense Base Act, including what you need to know to file a claim.

What Is the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act is a federal law that provides workers’ compensation coverage to non-military workers who work on military bases and installations worldwide. 

Since the worker is a government employee but not military personnel, this provides protection in the event of injury or death while abroad. 

The DBA is intended for workers outside the US, although civilian workers in the US who work on public works or national defense are also covered under the DBA.

The DBA requires any of the companies that are employing workers abroad to provide them with some type of workers’ compensation coverage. 

DBA Coverage

First, let’s look more specifically at who has coverage under the Defense Base Act. Those covered includes:

  • Private employers who are US military bases, land outside of the US, or territories controlled by the US.
  • Employees with contracts for a US government agency doing public works
  • Employees with contracts funded under the US Foreign Assistance Act
  • American employers that provide welfare outside the US for the  Armed Services

Also covered under the DBA is the transportation time covered by employers on behalf of the US government in case of injuries or death during transport. 

The DBA covers workers in a wide array of ways. Coverage can be pretty specific and general. If something happens to a DBA-covered employee, they are likely covered. 

Some areas of coverage include:

  • PTSD
  • Psychological damage like depression
  • Breathing problems, including asthma and asbestosis
  • Cancer from exposure while working
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Amputation
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Other physical harms
  • Vision and hearing problems

It’s important to note that this is a sampling of the things covered. If you experience any type of injury or illness while working for the US government abroad, you should talk with an experienced attorney.

Making a DBA Claim

Like a regular worker’s compensation claim, there are specific steps you need to follow to file a claim. 

If you have an illness or injury, you should:

  • Report the problem to your immediate supervisor right away
  • Seek medical attention and treatment
  • Save all medical documentation
  • File a claim with the US Department of Labor

It’s important to note you only have one year to file a claim following an injury or illness to the Department of Labor.km;l

Protecting A Civilian Contractor 

A civilian contractor deserves and gets the same kind of workers’ compensation protection as workers in the US.

Like many worker’s compensation cases, sometimes legal assistance is needed. If you think you have a DBA claim, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your case, so we can get you the benefits you deserve.