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How Do You Calculate Your DBA Benefits If You Have a Schedule Disability?



How Do I Calculate My Scheduled Disability 

Under the Defense Base Act?

The Defense Base Act 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. There are two basic types of injuries under The Defense Act: Scheduled Injuries and Unscheduled Injuries. 

Scheduled Disability: A scheduled disability refers to loss of function in one of the body parts listed below. If your injury fits into one of the categories on the list, you may receive DBA benefits for a set period of time based on the severity of your injury.

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:
    • Compensation for loss of hearing in one ear, fifty-two weeks.
    • Compensation for loss of hearing in both ears, two-hundred weeks.

Every other type of injury is considered an Unscheduled Injury under the Defense Base Act.

Generally, you are entitled to a Scheduled Award if you have a Scheduled Injury. A formula is used to determine the amount of the award. The formula relies on an AMA Impairment.


AMA Impairment

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 without such an AMA Guide Impairment Rating.

To make it easier here's example below with DBA employee currently working abroad in Iraq:

*Tom's 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 the arm:


An arm is 312 weeks.

65% x 312 weeks = 202.8 weeks


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

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

*All names are made up for this example and not purposefully correlated with any real DBA claim or case. 


This may sound pretty straightforward. But it's really not. You are usually up against DBA insurance adjusters that may under calculate your AWW or send you to doctors that will give you low permanent disability. Or the doctor could release you before you're ready or try to 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 to keep you from getting the DBA benefits you are entitled to under the law. They aren't your friends and they are not trying to help you out in this situation.

So be prepared and get informed on the DBA and its law sytem so that you know and understand what is going on with your DBA case and what you're going up against. Start with our FREE book, Win Your Defense Base Act, where we go over scheduled and unscheduled injuries and what you need to do to win back your DBA benefits. 


Disclaimer: 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
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”

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