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Defense Base Act Law

There are four basic laws that define or influence the coverage required under the Defense Base Act. Below are descriptions of the laws, which we hope will adequately explain their relevance. The links will take you to the laws themselves. All information comes from the Legal Information Institute from Cornell University. This site has been an invaluable tool in our research.

Defense Base Act

The law referred to as the Defense Base Act consists of only five sections, a mere five pages long. Most rules covering the administration of the act come from the Code of Federal Regulations, written regarding the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

Passed in 1927, the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) was created to force the uniformity of benefits and remedies available to longshoremen & harbor workers throughout the country. The LHWCA came along with an addition to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that laid out an infrastructure for administering the law. The ruels of the LHWCA apply to the Defense Base Act in regard to:

  • Compensation Rates
  • Filing Times
  • Forms
  • Appeals
  • Rules of Evidence and Submission
  • Medical Benefits
  • Schedule for Permanent Loss
Status and situs, which determine entitlement to benefits, are specifically outlined in the Defense Base Act.

The Department of Labor has released a four page document that does an excellent job of explaining the benefits mandated by the LHWCA that apply to the Defense Base Act. Click Here to View the Defense Base Act Benefits.

Mutual Security Act of 1954

The Mutual Security Act of 1954 is a web of laws, treaties, executive orders, and directives. Its major influence on DBA Coverage is that it adds military or public works contracts with foreign governments which are deemed necessary to our national security or defense obligations to the list of situations requiring Defense Base Act insurance.

Dayton Peace Accords

Only really relevant to work in the Balkans, the Dayton Peace Accords mandate that work for foreign governments under these agreements requires Defense Base Act coverage.

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