Defense Base Act Law & Laws Impacting DBA Insurance Requirements

This sections gives you access to detailed information and other useful sources on Defense Base Act Law and the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act (LHCWA); the two main laws that impact Defense Base Act (DBA) Insurance coverage requirements under the Defense Base Act.

The Defense Base Act, P.L.77-208, was enacted in 1941 and extended workers’ compensation coverage under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (1927)  to persons working on American military bases that were either acquired by the United States from foreign countries or that were located outside of the continental United States.

In 1942 coverage was extended to public works contractors working outside of the United States with the enactment of the War Hazards Compensation Act, P.L. 77-784, which also established the War Hazards Compensation Act (WHCA) program.

In 1958 the most significant amendments to the DBA were enacted and extended coverage to non-citizens, to persons working on projects funded under the Mutual Security Act (1954), and to persons working to provide morale and welfare services, such as through the United Service Organization (USO).

The following section gives you a basic overview of two main laws and their amendments, in addition to these two laws the Mutual Security Act (1954) and Dayton Peace Accords (1995 – which primarily relates to the Balkan States) also impact coverage required under the Defense Base Act as administered by the US Department of Labor.

For further information refer to Cornell University Law School – Legal Information Institute [LII] for further free information on the Defense Base Act and Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and key updates. This is an invaluable free reference resource and is where we have found much of our Defense Base Act and related legal information below.


Defense Base Act

There are four main codified components of the Defense Base Act (42 USC Chapter 11 – Compensation For Disability or Death To Persons Employed at Military, Air, and Naval Bases Outside the United States). You can find individual references to these components below via our links to the CornellUniversityLawSchool. We have also reproduced them all together at the bottom of this page for convenience.

1651 – Compensation authorized

1652 – Computation of benefits; application to aliens and non-nationals

1653 – Compensation districts; judicial proceedings

1654 – Persons excluded from benefits

(there is a 5th part 1655 – but this relates to ‘Requirement for Department of Defense to adopt an acquisition strategy for Defense Base Act Insurance’ which minimizes the cost of such insurance to the Department of Defense and to defense contractors to such Act and should be reviewed every three years.

In addition to these, the majority of rulings covering how the Defense Base Act is administered derive from the Code of Federal Regulations, written in regard to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.


Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) was originally passed in 1927. The following link USC Chapter 18 – Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation gives access to all 49 parts including repealed sections.

It was created with the intention to force uniformity of benefits and remedies available to longshoremen and harbour workers through the United States. LHWCA provides employment-injury and occupational-disease protection to approximately 500,000 workers who are injured or contract occupational diseases occurring in the navigable waters of the United States, or adjoining areas, and for certain other classes of workers covered by extensions of this act.

The rules of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act apply to the Defense Base Act in regards to:
– Compensation Rates

– Filing Times

– Forms

– Appeals

– Rules of Evidence and Submission

– Medical Benefits

– Schedule of Permanent Loss


Additional Defense Base Act and DBA Insurance Related Information Sources

You can find a wealth more information on the United States Government Department of Labor website here and also on our page here which reproduces the Department of Labor’s Pamplet LS-560 which clearly explains what compensation is provided under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act.

The US Department of Labor also has a Longshore and Harbor Workers Act DBA Page here.

If you need additional information about your rights under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Act, then access the link provided below (from the official Longshore website) and contact the appropriate Longshore District Office.

Claims forms and additional information may be obtained from the official Longshore website.