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What is the Defense Base Act (DBA)?

Workers’ compensation provides financial and medical benefits to employees who get injured while performing regular job duties. If you are a civilian employed overseas for the United States military, or an independent contractor helping the U.S. military overseas, workers’ compensation benefits will not likely be handled solely by a private insurance company. Instead, being injured on-the-job will invoke the Defense Base Act (DBA).

Our Helpful DBA FAQ

  1. Who may be eligible for Defense Base Act benefits?
    Essentially any civilian job associated with the support of the United States military overseas or across borders is covered by the DBA. For example, couriers, security teams, contract interpreters, local cultural specialists, and more would all be covered.
  2. What benefits can you received under the Defense Base Act?
    The insurance carrier should provide necessary medical care and a percentage of your regular earnings while you recuperate, which is typically set at 66.67%. If you cannot return to work due to your injury, then a lump sum settlement should be provided instead.
  3. How will my weekly wage be calculated for my DBA benefits?
    Your total contract payment amount can be used for your scheduled wage payments. The pay you earned in the year before your injury can also be used. Lastly, it might be possible to calculate your benefits by comparing what you earned overseas to what you earned domestically in the last year.
  4. What injury types are included in DBA coverage?
    An injury to an extremity – your eyes, nose, ears, feet, hands, elbows, and knees – is called a schedule injury. An injury to your neck, back, hip, or shoulder is a nonscheduled injury. To be eligible for a lump sum settlement, you likely need to be diagnosed with a nonscheduled injury.
  5. Is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) covered by the DBA?
    Yes, PTSD and the debilitating emotional and mental conditions are covered under the Defense Base Act. You must be diagnosed with PTSD for this eligibility. Without being near an active warzone, a doctor may not diagnose PTSD but a similar condition instead.
  6. Who diagnoses my injuries in a DBA injury claim?
    Responding insurance parties will be able to assign a doctor of their choosing for your independent medical examination (IME). During this evaluation, you will likely receive a diagnosis and a rating of debilitation to be used to assess your DBA benefits.
  7. Can I return to work without losing DBA benefits?
    You may be provided a vocational assessment to determine if you can complete different types of work, based on your IME doctor’s evaluation. As with standard workers’ compensation, completing work approved by your medical provider should not invalidate your DBA claim.

Figuring Out the DBA is Hard, Dialing (210) 807-3178 for Help is Easy

The Law Offices of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC in San Antonio proudly supports those who support our troops. We offer our legal services to civilian personnel and contractors who were hurt while completing their duties overseas. To get your Defense Base Act claim organized and filed in a timely manner, get our workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Our firm can also help with responses to inquiries or even claim denials!

To get the help of a legal team with 10+ years of experience, contact us now. We offer free initial case evaluations and Spanish-speaking services.