What Is the Defense Base Act? Everything You Will Need to Know

What Is the Defense Base Act? Everything You Will Need to Know

Aug 28, 2019 | Defense Base Act

How do you to defend yourself financially when you’re working at a defense base overseas?

Luckily, that’s a question that’s already been addressed. It led to the creation of the Defense Base Act, which covers contractors and employees at U.S. military bases that are outside American borders. 

But what exactly is the Act, when did it come into place, and who does it serve? Let’s take a closer look.

The Origin of the Defense Base Act

About 90 years ago there was the birth of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. It was designed to protect maritime and dockworkers and provide some financial benefits in the case they became injured.

That act was designed to cover those who weren’t already covered by the Merchant Marine Act (also known as the Jones Act), which offers some protection to seaman performing their duties off-shore. 

But what about coverage on foreign defense bases?

There was still a missing piece of the puzzle when it came to protection for those at sea. That consideration led to the Defense Base Act in 1941, which was created as an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. It applies to those working as U.S. contractors on public sector projects outside the country. 

Who Is Covered By The Insurance?

If you’re working at an overseas defense base as a U.S. government contractor or subcontractor, then you will need Defense Base Act (DBA) coverage as a condition in most cases. However, the employer is responsible for paying DBA premiums. It protects workers compensation in the case of death, disability, or if treatment is needed for an illness while working outside the country.

It can also help those struggling with PTSD from work-related activities. 

There’s a list of requirements to receive the coverage, and there’s another list of activities that are eligible for it in the first place. 

Let’s start with who this insurance mainly applies to:

  • Those working for a private employer on a U.S. defense base located outside of the country
  • Any contractor/subcontractor working with a U.S. agency on a project involving construction related to national defense
  • Those carrying out a contract funded by the Foreign Assistance Act to sell military equipment or military services outside the U.S. 

Requirements when making a claim: 

  • Your employer must secure coverage prior to the employment contract starting (and deployment)
  • You must report injuries to your employer in a timely manner
  • You may have to attend a medical examination if required
  • Claimants must provide any requested documents to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) 

Defend Yourself With DBA Coverage

This coverage gives both employers and contractors working for U.S. agencies outside of the country some peace of mind when it comes to carrying out their job. 

Remember, it’s your responsibility as a defense contractor to ensure you have this coverage. In fact, you face strict penalties if don’t obtain it. To find out more about the finer points of Defense Base Act insurance, contact us today.