What is the Defense Base Act and When Do You Need to Consult an Attorney?
The Defense Base Act (DBA) is a workers’ compensation program that applies to civilian employees working on US military bases outside the United States, as well as to federal contracts in certain hazardous industries.
To be eligible for benefits under the DBA, an employee must be working on a contract with the US government that is performed outside the United States. The employee must also be working on a project that is declared to be necessary for national defense. Employees who the DBA does not cover include those who are working on:
- Contracts with private firms
- Foreign governments
- Projects not declared by the President to be necessary for national defense
Voluntary workers, such as missionaries and Peace Corps workers, are also not covered by the DBA.
Benefits Available Under the DBA
Employees who are injured or become ill due to their work on a covered contract are entitled to receive medical care and income benefits under the DBA.
Medical benefits include all necessary medical treatment, such as hospitalization, surgery, and medication. Income benefits include two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wages, up to a maximum amount set by law.
These benefits are paid until an employee is able to return to work or reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which further medical treatment will not improve an employee’s condition.
When Do You Need to Consult an Attorney?
There are several situations where it is advisable to consult with an attorney familiar with the DBA.
If you are injured or become ill while working on a covered contract, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the full extent of the benefits to which you are entitled.
An attorney can also help if you are having difficulty obtaining benefits or if your employer is contesting your claim.
Additionally, if you are the surviving spouse or child of an employee who was killed while working on a covered contract, you may be entitled to death benefits. An attorney can help you to determine whether you are eligible for these benefits and assist you in filing a claim.
Finally, if you have been denied benefits or your benefits have been terminated, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.
Perhaps the most important reason to have an attorney, however, is that the DBA is a complex law with many deadlines and procedural requirements. An experienced attorney can help to ensure that your claim is properly filed and that you meet all of the necessary deadlines.
Talk to a DBA Attorney Today
Javier Ruiz, ESQ. is an attorney who focuses his practice on the DBA, especially for workers injured while working for KBR, FLUOR Corporation, DynCorp, Vectrus and Labor Support Services in Iraq, Afghanistan. Javier Ruiz has represented injured contractors from India, Kosovo, Macedonia, the USA, Bosnia, and the Philippines.
If you have been injured or became ill while working on a US military base or under a federal contract outside the United States, contact Javier Ruiz today for a free consultation. Mr. Ruiz can help you to understand your rights and ensure that you receive the full extent of the benefits to which you are entitled.