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How Do I Calculate My Scheduled Disability Under the Defense Base Act?

11th August 2010
By William Turley in Legal
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The Defense Base Act (DBA) provides workers' compensation benefits to civilian employees working outside the United States on US military bases or under a contract with the U.S. government for public works or for national defense. Many DBA workers abroad have suffered serious permanent injuries. There are two types of injuries under the Defense Base Act: Scheduled Injuries and Unscheduled Injuries.

This article concerns Scheduled Injuries under the Defense Base Act. Specifically, how to calculate a Scheduled Disability under the Defense Base Act.The Defense Base Act is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.


Under Section 908 of the Longshore Act; injuries to the following body parts are considered Scheduled Injuries:

(1) Arm lost, three hundred and twelve weeks' compensation.

(2) Leg lost, two hundred and eighty-eight weeks' compensation.

(3) Hand lost, two hundred and forty-four weeks' compensation.

(4) Foot lost, two hundred and five weeks' compensation.

(5) Eye lost, one hundred and sixty weeks' compensation.

(6) Thumb lost, seventy-five weeks' compensation.

(7) First finger lost, forty-six weeks' compensation.

(8) Great toe lost, thirty-eight weeks' compensation.

(9) Second finger lost, thirty weeks' compensation.

(10) Third finger lost, twenty-five weeks' compensation.

(11) Toe other than great toe lost, sixteen weeks' compensation.

(12) Fourth finger lost, fifteen weeks' compensation.

(13) Loss of hearing:

(A) Compensation for loss of hearing in one ear, fifty-two weeks.

(B) Compensation for loss of hearing in both ears, two-hundred weeks.

(33 U.S.C. Section 908).

Everything else is considered an Unscheduled Injury under the Defense Base Act.

Generally, you are entitled to a Scheduled Award if you have a compensable Scheduled Disability. A formula is used to determine the amount of the award. The formula relies on an AMA Impairment. For instance a loss of an arm is 312 weeks of compensation. See the Schedule (i.e. chart) above of Section 908 of the Longshore Act.


The number of weeks of impairment under the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment needs to be determined by a physician. Hopefully, your treating physician. This is a "must." You can not receive any monies for permanent disabilities for a scheduled injury under the LHWCA/ Defense Base Act without such an AMA Guide Impairment Rating.


Here, we will discuss a Defense Base worker in Iraq. The transport he was in took enemy fire. His left arm was seriously injured by shrapnel. He has a 65% AMA Impairment of his arm.

You first need to determine the number of weeks of compensation for an arm. As is shown above, an arm is 312 weeks.

65% x 312 weeks = 202.8 weeks

Assuming an Average Weekly Wage of $1,123.89 and a compensation rate of $749.25.

202.8 weeks x $749.25 = $151,947 permanent disability.


This may sound straightforward. However, it is not. You are usually up against wily DBA insurance adjusters Some examples of ways DBA insurance adjusters may use to lower your permanent disability award:

1. Under calculate your AWW.

2. Send you to company doctors that will assess a low AMA Impairment Rating.

3. The company doctor will release you too early.

4. Deduct unsubstantiated permanent disability advances.

One thing you need to realize is the insurance company's adjusters and attorneys all know the law, the nuances and the ways and means to keep you from getting the DBA benefits you are entitled to under the law.


Finally, always tell the truth. When you come into court asking for money, your credibility is always at issue. If you get caught in a lie, you will probable lose your case. So it's simple, always tell the truth.


This article is not legal advice. Any resemblance to real persons or situations is purely coincidental. I am simple in order to achieve clarity. You should consult with a Defense Base Act Attorney if you have a Defense Base Act Claim.


William Turley is a San Diego Defense Base Act Attorney / San Diego Defense Base Act Lawyer. Bill is a Past President of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. He is a leading San Diego DBA Attorney/ San Diego DBA Lawyer/ California Defense Base Act Attorney/ California Defense Base Act Lawyer. Click here for more free information about Defense Base Act Claims.
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