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When Workers Can Collect Defense Base Act Payments for War-Risk Hazards

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What Kinds of War-Risk Hazards Are Compensable Through the DBA?

The WHCA was created as a way to compensate DBA employees when injury or death is the result of a “war-risk hazard.”

To get compensation under the WHCA, an employee must have endured a hazard arising during a war or armed conflict in which the U.S. is engaged, or during a conflict between military forces in any country where a covered employee is working.

These benefits are paid using public funds rather than from the employer’s insurance company, and are only available to workers who are not active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Types of war-risk hazards that may be covered under the WHCA include:


While the WHCA does not specifically address terrorist attacks, the Division of Federal Employees Compensation does consider the activities of terrorism to be war-risk hazards.

Attacks and Retaliation:

Injuries caused by the actions of a hostile force or person, such as rebellion or insurrection against the United States or its allies, or injuries sustained in responding to such attacks qualify for WHCA benefits.

Munitions Fire: 

Civilians can collect benefits for injuries due to the discharge or explosion of munitions, including missiles, bullets, liquids, gases, or other weapons used during wars or armed conflicts.

Transportation Injuries:

Military conflicts involve the operation and deployment of heavy machinery, vessels, and aircraft. Any injuries due to collisions of vessels engaged in war activities or as part of a convoy in a zone of hostilities are likely compensable.

Detention or Absence:

The WHCA provides direct compensation to DBA employees who are detained by hostile forces or are listed as missing due to suspected actions of hostile forces.


Contractors can collect payment if they are stranded overseas due to the inability of their employers to return workers to the U.S.

The WHCA provides many of the same benefits allowed under the DBA, including medical care, lost wages, and disability benefits. To find out what you may be owed for your injury, read through our free book, DBA Resource Guide.

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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