Who Needs DBA Insurance?


DBA Insurance Coverage

The Defense Base Act, (42 U.S.C. 1651, et seq.,) – following employees and employment activities need dba insurance:

  • Any civilian employee  of private contractors employed outside of the United States on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes, including those in U.S. Territories and possessions
  • Any civilian employee engaged in public works contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and services contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the U.S.
  • Any employee engaged in a public works or military contract with a foreign government which has been deemed necessary to U.S. national security.
  • Contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended, generally providing for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is to be performed outside of the United States.
  •  Employees of American employers providing welfare or similar services outside of the United States for the benefit of the Armed Forces, e.g. the USO, and employees that provide services funded by the U.S. government outside the realm of regular military issue or channels.

If any one of the above criteria is met, all employees engaged in such employment, regardless of nationality, are covered under the Defense Base Act and would need dba insurance. This includes any employees of any sub-contractors of the prime or letting contractor involved in a contract such as those above.

Work Classification for DBA Insurance:

For DBA insurance purposes, the work undertaken by contractors is generally classified in four tiers:

  • Service (“white collar”)
  • Construction (“blue collar”)
  •  Security (both armed and unarmed)
  • Aviation.


 DBA Insurance Benefits for Foreign Nationals

The Defense Base Act covers all eligible federal contractors, including non-U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Foreign nationals receive the same DBA insurance benefits as U.S. citizens or nationals with two exceptions.

First, benefits for the survivors of a foreign national who was not a resident of the United States or Canada are only available to the worker’s surviving spouse and children or, if there is no spouse or children, the worker’s surviving father or mother, provided that the worker supported the father or mother for at least one year before the worker’s death. The eligibility for survivors benefits for foreign nationals is more limited than that for American citizens and nationals. Survivors benefits in the case of the death of an American citizen or national can be paid to the worker’s spouse, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, or grandchildren.

Second, permanent disability benefits or survivors benefits payable for foreign nationals who are not residents of the United States or Canada may be commuted from installment payments to a single lump-sum payment equal to one-half of the present value of the future compensation. The decision to commute benefit payments for foreign nationals is made by the Secretary of Labor and can be requested by the insurance carrier responsible for paying benefits.

To learn about DBA Insurance coverage waivers click here.

To learn about DBA Insurance history click here.