The Defense Base Act 42 U.S.C. Section 1551 (DBA), extends
the provisions of the Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to certain
classes of employees. When the Defense Base Act was enacted in August, 1941 it
was intended to cover civilians employed at American military bases overseas.
The statute was adopted at the request of the Secretary of War in order to
enable the United States government and its defense contractors to avoid the
substantial costs of obtaining insurance coverage over these employees for
total liability in accidents.
Following World War II, the DBA's coverage was expanded to
civilians working on overseas construction projects for the United States or
its allies. The statute's scope was subsequently widened to cover employees
fulfilling service contracts tied to a construction project or to a national
Today, DBA coverage extends to so called public work
contracts, other overseas contracts that are financed by the United States
government and work that is performed on overseas American military bases and
overseas military–related installations.
Additionally, The Non-appropriated Funds Instrumentalities Act
provides workers' compensation coverage to civilians employees of
non-appropriated fund instrumentalities (such as post exchanges) of the armed
forces here and abroad.
As an injured worker overseas, you are entitled to compensation for
lost wages, payment of medical bills and payment of compensation for any
Learn what your rights are as an injured civilian contractor, or as a family
member whose spouse is injured or killed overseas by contacting us. Learn more
about the DBA and NFIA by visiting www.dol.gov.