Defense Base Act Lawyers
What Is The Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act that was enacted by Congress in 1941. It provides workers’ compensation protection to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense. This includes both residents and non-residents of the U.S.
The Defense Base Act requires all U.S. government contractors and subcontractors to secure workers’ compensation insurance for their employees working overseas. This insurance is the same as the insurance maritime employers are required to have under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
The number of civilian workers employed by U.S. government contractors covered by the Defense Base Act has increased dramatically since U.S. Military action began in Afghanistan and Iraq. Every day, thousands of civilian workers help to support our troops by acquiring and delivering products and services, providing security and acting as translators for military personnel in combat and non-combat situations.
These civilian workers are employed by companies like L-3 Communications, Global Linguist Solutions (GLS), Service Employees International (SEII), Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), DynCorp, Fluor, Calnet, SOS Int’l, Mission Essential Personnel (MES), Global Integrated Security, Worldwide Languages, AECOM, McNeil Technologies, Torres AES, Science Applications Int’l Corp. (SAIC), Exelis Mission Systems and Blackwater Security Consulting.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation, administers the Defense Base Act. The OWCP’s job is to ensure that workers’ compensation benefits are provided for covered employees. The Defense Base Act, like other workers compensation laws, was enacted so injured workers could receive prompt medical treatment and a portion of their lost wages while recuperating from an injury. That way, injured workers were more likely to get the proper medical treatment immediately following an injury, which in turn, made it more likely that they would recover and return to work sooner.
Unfortunately, however, some Defense Base Act insurance carriers, like CNA, ACE, AIG Companies such as Chartis, Worldsource and the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania and Zurich Insurance Company often fail to deliver the benefits that the Defense Base Act provides. Instead, they unfairly and unjustly delay or deny payment of benefits.
Contact an experienced Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation/ Defense Base Act attorney at The Moschetta Law Firm, P.C. to learn your rights.
What Types of Benefits are Available under the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act provides disability and medical benefits to covered employees injured in the course of employment and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees killed in the course of employment. Compensation for total disability is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a current maximum rate per week, which is presently $1,256.84. Compensation is also payable for partial loss of earnings.
Death benefits are paid at the rate of one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings to a surviving spouse or one child, or two-thirds of average weekly earnings for two or more eligible survivors up to the current maximum rate of per week. The Defense Base Act also incorporates the Longshore Act’s provision for payment of reasonable funeral expenses up to $3,000.00.
Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments.
An injured employee is also entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his or her choice, as the injury may require.