Defense Base Act Articles
For Civilians Injured Overseas
Does the Defense Base Act (DBA) Cover COVID-19 for US Military Contractors?
With COVID-19 cases surging worldwide, defense contractors working abroad have many justifiable concerns about their safety from the virus – as well as some anxieties over whether their The Defense Base Act (DBA) workers’ compensation benefits will cover them should they contract the coronavirus.
In theory or “on paper” the DBA coverage should kick-in for ANY injury illness contracted while working as a US government contractor overseas. Still DBA attorneys and civilian workers alike have some valid concerns about whether insurers will promptly and correctly provide DBA benefits for covered contract personnel when many inevitably become infected by COVID-19.
Our experienced DBA attorneys are here to help you if you become ill while working as a defense contractor overseas during the covid-19 pandemic. In this article we address some of our clients most frequently asked DBA questions.
What Happens if a US Contractor Gets COVID-19 Working Abroad?
The Defense Department is taking some limited preventive measures to protect US military personnel and civilian contractors, including requiring everyone on DOD property to wear face masks. But we all know that masks alone do not prevent COVID-19.
If you or someone with whom you have been in contact starts to show symptoms of COVID-19, it is essential to consult with the base medic immediately for testing. If you become ill while deployed, you ARE covered under your employer’s DBA insurance policy. And if you become seriously ill with COVID-19 your employer may or may not decide to send you home on a medical leave of absence (MLOA).
If you are considering or seeking leave options, it is important to reach out to an experienced Defense Base Act attorney who can give you specific advice on your leave and DBA benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Certain evacuations may currently be limited due to pandemic travel restrictions, but your local embassy may also be able to assist you with other flight repatriation options for foreign nationals.
Civilian Contractors in Iraq During COVID-19
Flights to and from Iraq continue to be intermittently suspended – with the possibility of being further extended. Currently all airports are open in Iraq but his may change.
If you are a US employee working abroad you will be subject to certain testing and quarantine requirements established by the CDC. See the CDC Travel Information for Iraq HERE.
If you are an American contractor in Iraq and your employer is not assisting you with your MLOA travel arrangements, contact the US Embassy so they can notify you of any flights being arranged.
Kurdistan Region: email the US Embassy at ErbilACS@state.gov
Elsewhere in Iraq: email the US embassy at BaghdadACS@state.gov
Civilian Contractors in Afghanistan During COVID-19
Starting in April, some government contractors infected with COVID-19 have been evacuated from Afghanistan using containment unit in a US Airforce Aircraft. According to ABC News, the infected civilian contractors were transported to Germany to receive medical treatment.
In the event your contractor employer or the military does not arrange for your Medical Leave of Absence travel, immediately contact your Embassy regarding the possibility of repatriation flights.
You can contact the US Embassy at KabulRepat@state.gov for more information on any future repatriation flights.
You will also be subject to certain specific COVID testing and quarantining procedures, found HERE.
Defense Base Act Attorneys for COVID-19 DBA Claims
Remember if you are a civilian defense contractor working abroad, you ARE covered by the Defense Base Act if you contract COVID-19 – and you are entitled to DBA Workers Compensation benefits for your illness.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been made ill or injured in any way during the pandemic while working abroad, it is important you talk to an experienced Defense Base Act attorney before making any decisions that could impact your DBA benefits.
Our DBA attorneys are here to help, and are happy to offer you a free consultation to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve during these difficult times.
Free Consultation with a Defense Base Act Attorney: 800-964-8047
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