Defense Base Act Law and Legal Definition

The Defense Base Act (“Act”) of 1941 is applicable to persons employed in the U.S. defense. The object of the Act is to provide medical treatment and compensation to employees of defense contractors injured in the scope and course of employment. This Act works as an extension to the federal worker’s compensation program that covers longshoremen and harbor workers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA is a federal statute enacted in 1927. The LHWCA was created to force the uniformity of benefits and remedies available to longshoremen & harbor workers throughout the country. The rules of the LHWCA apply to the Defense Base Act in matters relating to:

1. Compensation Rates;

2. Filing Times;

3. Forms;

4. Appeals;

5. Rules of Evidence and Submission;

6. Medical Benefits; and

7. Schedule for Permanent Loss.

The Defense Base Act of 1941 covers employment activities like:

1. Work for private employers on the U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the U.S., including those in U.S. Territories and possessions;

2. Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the U.S.;

3. Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, which among other things provides for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the U.S.; and

4. Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the U.S. for the benefit of the Armed Services.