The Defense Base Act

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War Hazards Compensation Act Claims

What is the WHCA?

The War Hazards Compensation Act (WHCA) supplements the Defense Base Act (DBA) by providing a form of reinsurance for contractor injuries and deaths which are directly related to military conflict. If an employee's injury or death is caused by a war hazard, the workers' compensation benefits are provided not by the insurer or employer but by the federal government. Under the provisions of the WHCA, an injury or death is considered to have been caused by a war hazard if it occurred during:

1. A war in which the United States is engaged

2. An armed conflict in which the United States is engaged, whether or not war has been formally declared

3. A war or armed conflict between military forces of any origin in a country in which a covered employee is working and the injury or death was caused by:

Defense ActTerrorist attacks are not specifically addressed by statute. Determining coverage under the WHCA for such attacks may be complicated, as it is not always possible to identify the person or group responsible for a terrorist act, or to determine the intended target of the action. Coverage may be extended to some victims of terrorist acts. Each case must be considered on an individual basis in conjunction with the definitions of "war-risk hazard" and "hostile force or individual."

Who is covered?

For the purposes of the WHCA, a covered employee includes:

Employees who reside at or near the place of employment and do not live there solely by virtue of the exigencies of the employment will be covered only while in the performance of duty.

The following individuals are not covered:

How is a claim made?

There are three types of claims available under the WHCA:

Employees or survivors should file Section 101 claims directly with the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation only after a Longshore District Director has determined that no compensation is payable under the Defense Base Act. The claims examiner will develop the factual and medical evidence as necessary, and recommend acceptance or denial of the claim. Section 101 claims receive the same appeal rights as regular FECA cases. The time limit for filing a claim is generally three years.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs

Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)

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Defense Base Act
The Frequently Asked Questions

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