The Defense Base Act (DBA) and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act offers crucial disability and medical benefits to government contractors who suffer injuries or illness while performing services outside the United States for the federal government or national defense. Understanding the eligibility requirements and potential disability benefits under the DBA is vital for those working or considering employment under this act. 

Grossman Attorney at Law is a legal firm that specializes in assisting employees with Defense Base Act disability claims and benefits. With extensive experience in this field, the firm has a deep understanding of the complex laws and regulations governing DBA claims and works tirelessly to ensure that its clients receive the benefits they deserve. The firm’s team of attorneys is dedicated to providing compassionate and personalized service to each client while also advocating fiercely to help them navigate the often-challenging claims process. If you are an employee injured while working overseas for a U.S. government contractor, Grossman Attorney at Law can help you understand your rights and options under the DBA and fight for the compensation you deserve.

How Do I Get Disability Benefits Under The Defense Base Act?

The DBA provides workers’ compensation insurance to civilian employees of the U.S. government or its contractors working abroad in defense-related activities. To qualify for DBA benefits, an employee must have suffered injuries or become ill during their employment. They must also be able to provide evidence showing a connection between their work and disabling condition. If approved, benefits are paid directly by the employer’s insurance carrier, not the U.S. government.

What Types Of Disability Are Compensated By The Defense Base Act?

The DBA compensates for lost wages, medical expenses, and permanent impairment resulting from work-related injuries or illnesses. Disability compensation benefits are based on the worker’s degree of disability and can include payments for permanent disabilities, temporary disabilities, rehabilitation costs, and vocational training. In some cases, injured workers may also be entitled to additional payments for pain and suffering caused by their work-related injuries or illnesses.

Understand The Extent Of Disability In DBA Cases

Under the DBA, there are two main types of disability covered. Your compensation and benefits will vary based on the type of disability and how long your employment will be affected. 

Here is a breakdown of disabilities under the DBA:

  1. Temporary Disability: If you are partially disabled, temporary disability payments compensate for lost wages due to a medical condition, medical expenses, treatments, and rehabilitation services, as well as any other out-of-pocket costs associated with the work injury. The amount depends on factors such as the injury’s severity and its impact on the employee’s ability to work. If you are able to perform light-duty work, then the disability compensation can be used to make up the difference in your pay.
  2. Permanent Disability: If an injury or illness results in an employee being totally disabled, also known as permanent disability, an injured employee may be eligible for additional compensation for long-term effects, including loss of earning capacity, medical care, and physical or emotional impairment. In some cases, death benefits may also be available.

Defense Base Act Compensation For Scheduled Injuries Vs. Unscheduled Injuries

Understanding the nuances of DBA compensation is crucial, as injured workers are entitled to varying levels of DBA benefits depending on the injuries sustained. Compensation is divided into two categories: Scheduled injuries and Unscheduled injuries. Scheduled Injuries have a specific maximum medical improvement (MMI) value, while Unscheduled Injuries rely on a more qualitative assessment of the extent and duration of impairment or disability.

Length Of Average Weekly Wage (AWW) Payments Defense Base Act

Benefits under this compensation act are calculated using an employee’s 

Average Weekly Earnings (AWE) and the Average Weekly Wage (AWW). The AWW is determined at the time of injury and may not exceed $1,340 per week or be less than $160 per week. DBA claimants may receive up to 66% or 2/3rds of their AWE for permanent total disability and up to 80% for permanent partial disability, depending on their average weekly wage and medical benefits associated with their injuries.

How Often Will I Get My Disability Check From Defense Base Act?

Under the DBA, the frequency of disability benefit payments depends on the category of disability and the specific circumstances of the case.

For an injured worker with temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, and permanent partial disability, the employee is typically entitled to receive weekly payments. These payments are made at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of injury until the employee reached maximum medical improvement.

For permanent total disability, the employee is entitled to receive ongoing weekly payments for the rest of their life or until they are able to return to work. Again, these payments are made at the rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of injury, subject to certain maximum and minimum limits.

In some cases, a lump sum settlement may be negotiated instead of ongoing weekly payments. The specific payment schedule and frequency will depend on the terms of the settlement agreement.

It’s important to note that there may be delays in receiving workers’ compensation benefits due to various factors, such as processing times, disputes over eligibility or payment amounts, and other administrative issues. Employees should consult with an experienced DBA attorney to help them navigate the claims process and ensure that they receive the benefits they are entitled to in a timely manner.

Call Our DBA Attorneys Today to Reclaim Your Lost Wages!

Our experienced attorneys at Grossman Attorneys at Law can help you reclaim lost wages due to injury or illness under the DBA. We recognize that no amount of money can replace your health and well-being; however, we can offer assistance and counsel on how best to proceed with your claim and ensure you receive what is due under the law. Our DBA lawyers are dedicated to advocating for your rights as an employee. We will ensure that all documents are filed correctly to avoid delays in receiving the benefits owed to you. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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