Military contractors are employees who perform jobs for private employers who were hired to work on overseas military bases: Construction, transportation, security, communication, and other industries are all available as contracted work for the United States military.
Contractors are not considered service members, and do not receive the same benefits. However, they are subject to many of the same workplace injuries as active military members. Employees who are injured on-base, or develop a physical or mental illness as a result of their employment, unfortunately must face a complex network of healthcare and workers’ compensation processes to receive compensation for their injuries.
What is the Defense Base Act?
The Defense Base Act (DBA) is essentially a workers’ compensation plan for contractors. DBA insurance provides benefits for employees who were injured while performing contract work for the military.
Issues with Contractor Healthcare
Contract work for the military exists in a gray area between military service and the private sector, leaving the employees largely uncared for, and healthcare / workers’ compensation policies generally underdeveloped. There is debate surrounding who should be responsible for financing contractor injuries in place of insufficient current processes, but there have been little improvements to the existing system.
The DBA has also been criticized for its efficacy. A major issue is a lack of education about the act, leaving many military contractors in the dark about the benefits they may be able to receive. A number of contractor health issues go unaddressed under the DBA. This is especially true for mental illnesses, particularly Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In a Stars and Stripes podcast, experts reported a PTSD rate of 25% among military contractors, compared to a presumed max of 20% of affected military members. The lack of organization in the contractor healthcare system, as well as stigma surrounding mental illness and contract work itself prevents many people with PTSD from receiving proper care.
What to Do if You Are an Injured Civilian Contractor
Following an on-the-job injury as a military contract employee, seek medical care and give notice to your employer. Then, contact our experienced attorney.
At The Law Office of George P. Escobedo & Associates, PLLC, we represent civilian contractors who were hurt when performing work on an overseas base. We can help you navigate the complexities of receiving compensation and necessary medical care.
We are available to answer your questions in a free case evaluation. Call (210) 807-3178 24/7 or complete our contact form to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation.