Defense Base Act
a) Cases involving aliens and non-U.S. residents can be resolved by commuting benefits paid for permanent disability and death. In such cases, a one-time lump sum payment may be issued by the employer/carrier representing half of the present value of future compensation as determined by the OWCP district director. Medical benefits may not be commuted.
b) Death benefits may be paid only to the surviving spouse or child or children, or if no surviving spouse or child or children, to dependent parents.
Copies of the Form BEC 565 may be obtained in writing from the Director, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, at the same address, by email DLHWC-Public@dol.gov, or by calling the Longshore National Office at (202) 693-0038.
In addition, an employer who fails to secure the payment of compensation when required shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. If the employer is a corporation, the president, secretary, and treasurer shall also be severally liable for such fine and imprisonment. These three corporate officers shall also be personally liable, jointly and severally with the corporation, for any compensation or other benefit payable under the Act with respect to the injury or death of any of its employees.
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 $1,047.16 per week. The Defense Base Act also incorporates the LHWCA’s provision for payment of reasonable funeral expenses not exceeding $3,000.00.
Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. The LHWCA minimum benefits rate, however, does not apply to DBA claims.
The injured employee is also entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his/her choice, as the injury may require
Currently three major insurance carriers provide most of the Defense Base Act insurance coverage. They are ACE USA Companies, American International Group (AIG) Companies, and CNA.
– Work for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States, including those in U.S. Territories and possessions;
– Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the United States;
– Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, which among other things provides for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the United States;
– Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Services, e.g. the United Service Organizations (USO).
If any one of the above criteria is met, all employees engaged in such employment, regardless of nationality (including U.S. citizens and residents, host country nationals (local hires), and third country nationals (individuals hired from another country to work in the host country)), are covered under the Act.