If you’re a civilian working overseas at a U.S. military base or under a U.S. government contract, your employer must provide compensation protection under the 1941 Defense Base Act. This extension of federal workers’ compensation requires employers to provide coverage for all eligible employees working outside the continental United States. 

If your employer fails to provide you with Defense Base Act Insurance Coverage or fails to secure compensation following an injury, contact our dedicated legal team at Grossman Attorneys at Law. Our law firm helps people across the nation (and Americans overseas) with personal injury claims, and we have the experience to help you with your DBA insurance claim. Contact our attorneys for a free case review today.

What Is Defense Base Act Insurance?

Defense Base Act insurance is a social insurance that falls under the federal workers’ compensation program’s Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Division. Enacted in 1941, the Defense Base Act provides compensation protections for civilian contractors who are working contracts in connection to public works or national defense as well as those working on military bases. This act includes the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico as overseas locations. 

When Is Defense Base Act Coverage Required?

Employers with overseas employees working on eligible employment activities must provide coverage through an insurance professional for all employees, including nationals working under U.S. government contracts or a subordinate contract. Employees covered under the Defense Base Act include civilian military contractors, civilians with public work contracts, and other eligible workers with overseas contracts. 

Is Overseas Grant Work Covered Under the DBA?

The DBA requires insurance coverage for workers under U.S. government contracts, which does not include grants. However, if the grant recipient hires contractors and subcontractors to complete the work, the contractor’s employees may be covered under the DBA if the U.S. government financed and approved the contract.

What Are Defense Base Act Waivers?

Government agency heads may request waivers for Defense Base Act Insurance coverage. Granted by the Department of Labor, DBA waivers exclude foreign workers hired outside of the U.S. from DBA insurance coverage. However, the waiver becomes invalid if local laws do not provide the excluded employees with alternative workers’ compensation

Government agencies may not exclude U.S. citizens, legal U.S. residents, or employees hired within the United States. 

What Does DBA Insurance Cover?

Defense Base Act insurance coverage provides medical benefits including mental health care for those with trauma-related injuries, disability benefits, and death benefits to qualifying employees. DBA insurance coverage provides medical treatment compensation, indemnity for loss of wages, permanent and total disability coverage, burial cost coverage, and more.

Employees with total disability would receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage (AWW), calculated using the employee’s payroll documents, tax forms, and Social Security records. In the event of a death, surviving dependents would receive one-half of the employee’s AWW (for one spouse or child) or two-thirds of the AWW (for two or more eligible surviving dependents). 

What Companies Offer Defense Base Act Insurance?

Employers with eligible employees can secure DBA insurance from any company authorized by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). The four most significant and most commonly used insurance companies for DBA insurance include:

  1. ACE-USA
  2. AIG
  3. CNA
  4. Gallagher Bassett

Visit this link for a complete list of authorized insurance companies provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. Note that this page includes companies for all compensation laws under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Division. To find companies offering DBA insurance, look for DB within the table. 

How Do I File a Defense Base Act Claim?

To file a Defense Base Act claim, submit Form LS-203 to the OWCP. You must submit this form within one year of the injury or within two years of awareness that a medical illness arose from the overseas employment. Filers with OWCP file numbers can conveniently upload Form LS-203 through Longshore’s Secure Electronic Access Portal (SEAPortal)

Filers without OWCP file numbers can fax the necessary forms to 202-513-6814 or mail them to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act’s Southern Division (Jacksonville, Florida) office. 

To claim death benefits, you must provide the employer with a Form LS-201 within 30 days to notify them of the death. You must also file a Form LS-262 with the OWCP within one year. 

Talk to a Grossman attorney if you need help with your DBA insurance claim. As lawyers with a practice area in DBA injury law, we can help you through the process of pursuing compensation and ensure that your DBA settlement offer is fair.

What Are All the DBA Claim Forms For?

To file a Defense Base Act Insurance claim, employers and employees must file the following forms:

  • LS-201: Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death
  • LS-202: Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Illness
  • LS-203: Employee’s Claim for Compensation
  • LS-262: Claim for Death Benefits

If you’re unsure which form you need or where to file it, seek assistance from an experienced attorney at Grossman Attorneys at Law. We have experience with Defense Base Act insurance claims and can help you obtain maximum DBA benefits following an injury. 

How Does the OWCP Help With DBA Insurance Claims?

The OWCP manages the Defense Base Act by maintaining proper records and reviewing claims to ensure compliance. The OWCP provides many services to injured employees, employers, and DBA insurance providers, including:

  • Technical assistance for compensation claims
  • Informal dispute resolution 
  • Vocational rehabilitation for employees with permanent disabilities
  • Administering the Special Fund

The OWCP provides certain services, but injured employees should seek help from Grossman Attorneys at Law to ensure that the compensation they receive reflects the requirements of the Defense Base Act. 

Get Started With Your DBA Insurance Claim

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while working under a government contract overseas, let Grossman Attorneys at Law help you pursue compensation with a DBA insurance claim. We know all the forms to file and will guide you through the entire process, allowing you to focus on healing while we focus on your claim. 

Our legal team offers proactive and professional representation for injured clients and their families. Contact us to learn more about Defense Base Act insurance coverage or to get started on your claim today.

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