Defense Base Act

In recent years, the use of defense contractors to assist operations has been a widely publicized part of the modern U.S. military. Both as a strategy to minimize the number of actual troops necessary to wage a successful campaign and to complete some tasks that would otherwise require a great deal of vertical development on the Department of Defense’s behalf, defense contractors have proven themselves useful in supporting America’s military concerns. However, these workers may become injured, and, like other American workers, have the right to pursue compensation if necessary.

To cover worker problems in ports, the government passed the Defense Base Act in 1941 as measure to help contractors working for the war effort of the Second World War. This piece of legislation was specifically designed to streamline the process of workers’ compensation claims coming from from mostly foreign ports.

Unlike the standard stateside workers’ compensation systems, the military demands more strict paperwork and procedures for claims filed under the DBA. It is necessary to first notify a manager or superior about an injury and then file the appropriate reports and paperwork before any medical treatment is sought. Once the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs receives this paperwork, financial coverage for that medical treatment can be officially provided.

Instead of a compensation schedule program, which is most common among employers today, DBA compensation uses a weekly wage system. Instead of providing a pre-determined amount of money according to the severity of an injury, these systems determine compensation according to the worker’s average weekly wage.

The details of DBA law can seem confusing to laborers who are used to the rules established by state compensation systems. If you would like to learn more about compensation as a defense contractor, contact a workers’ compensation attorney.