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What is the Defense Base Act OWCP?

Defense Base Act OWCP - Office of Workers Compensation Programs

OWCP - Defense Base Act - what do I need to know?
“No B.S. straight forward answers with no legal mumbo-jumbo, lawyer talk.” 
Defense Base Act Lawyer Bill Turley

I’m a DIY person.... no problem 

If you’re like me, you have a garage full of tools and stuff (my wife calls it junk).  You need something done, no problem, you’re a DIY type person. 

Meaning “Do It Yourself.”  You probably have a “can-do” approach. That’s great in life. But maybe not so great with your DBA case. 

Over the years I’ve seen well-meaning folks try and DIY their Defense Base Act case. Usually they’re calling my office after things have gone to hell in a handbasket. Sometimes so bad that their case can’t be fixed. Sometimes we just can’t get humpty-dumpy back up on the wall, so to speak. Not always. Sometimes we can put their case back to together again. Again, not always. 

If you’re thinking about DIY’ing your own DBA case I strongly suggest you do two things. First, you IMMEDIATELY get my 5 Star book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case. You can buy it here on amazon.com or you can get a free copy here

Second, I suggest you check out this article on the Top 10 DBA Questions (see Questions 2, 3, 4, and 6....). 

Not to put damper your DIY spirit ...

What do I need to know about the Defense Base Act OWCP?

I'm all about being straight-up. So in this article, I give you some insider views of the Defense Base Act (DBA) and the Office of Workers Compensation Programs (OWCP).  
The DBA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA). There are a lot of acronyms here, but you should know the lingo, so to speak.
The DBA and the LHWCA are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) - Office of  Workers Compensation Programs. This is why some people refer to the Defense Base Act OWCP.
Once your case is filed, your case will be issued an OWCP Case Number.  The first two numbers of the OWCP case number refer to the compensation district where the DBA case was opened.

Practice pointer for your case and your OWCP number

Every document that you submit to the U.S. Department of Labor concerning your DBA case should have your OWCP No. on the documents. If you submit 4 documents, be sure to put your OWCP No. on each respective document. You should also make sure the OWCP No.is written legibly on your documents that you submit to the DOL. 

Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWCA)

The DLHWCA of the Department of Labor is part of the OWCP, that administers the LHWCA and DBA. 

What does the OWCP do in regards to Defense Base Act cases?

The OWCP has district offices. I cover these District offices and the makeup of the OWCP/ DLHWCA in this article
The OWCP/DLHWCA maintains records of injuries and deaths reported under the LHWCA and its extensions and reviews claims to determine whether appropriate benefits are paid promptly and accurately in compliance with the Act's provisions.
The OWCP Claims staff  assists the parties to resolve the disputes by conducting informal conferences and making written recommendations regarding benefit entitlement.
If the parties cannot resolve their differences and any party requests a formal hearing before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), the OWCP/DLHWCA refers the case for a trial. These are called  a "formal hearing" of a "Hearing." 

Telephonic Emergency Informal Conferences - moving your DBA case along

One step that you are going to need to accomplish in order to move your case toward settlement or trial is to get recommendations from the District Director. 
If your benefits are stopped or you’re not getting benefits - then you must request a Telephonic Emergency Informal Conference.

About the U.S. Department of Labor


What is the role of the  OWCP Claims Examiner with my Defense Base Act case?

The OWCP Claims Examiner’s job is not to help you win your case or help you get benefits.  They are supposed to stay neutral - not be on your side, not be on the DBA insurance company’s side.
In reality, some of the OWCP Claims Examiners seem more neutral, some seem to lean toward Claimants (that's what you are), and some seem to lean toward the DBA insurance company. 
The Claims Examiner is  going to issue Recommendations in your case. While the OWCP Claims Examiner can’t order or make the DBA insurance company do anything, you do want the recommendations in your favor.
You should be polite and nice to the OWCP claims examiner. I suggest you hire a lawyer and let your lawyer speak with the OWCP Claims Examiner about your Defense Base Act case.  

How long does it take to resolve a Defense Base Act claim?

The short answer is: Too long.

I answer this question more fully in this article about the time it takes to finish your DBA case.

The Defense Base Act insurance company and the OWCP

The OWCP calls the folks that participate in Defense Base Act claims “stakeholders.”  The DBA insurance companies are considered stakeholders.  Whatever you want to call them, you are in an adversarial situation with the DBA insurance company.
Meaning, you want the money benefits and medical benefits that you are entitled to under the DBA and they don’t want to pay you anything, because every dime they pay you, comes right out of their profits.
You would be well advised to consider yourself at war with the DBA insurance company. That being said, you still must be nice and polite to the DBA insurance company adjuster.  Here is how I suggest you deal with the DBA insurance company adjuster.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation services are provided to permanently disabled employees in appropriate Defense Base Act cases

The Special Fund

The OWCP/DLHWC also administers the "Special Fund" which pays disability compensation to injured employees or their survivors in certain circumstances. See this article for more information about the Special Fund.

Your goal is to get the DBA benefits you’re entitled to under the law

As my 11 year old daughter might say, "No kidding, Captain Obvious."
Hey, I know this is obvious, but it's always good to make sure you have your goals in mind. 
There are two benefits under the Defense Base Act: Medical benefits and weekly disability benefits - temporary total disability benefits and permanent disability benefits
The insurance company is trying to keep you from getting your benefits. They are looking for reasons to deny your claim. This may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.  My job is to tell you what you need to hear, not what you many want to hear.

What You REALLY Need To Know

I’ve been doing this a long time. My book Win Your Defense Base Act Case has dozens of 5 Star reviews on amazon.com. There’s a reason for that. It’s because in the book, I lay out all the ways the DBA insurance company is going to try and trick you and trap you so they don’t have to pay you the DBA benefits you’re entitled to under the law.

In the meantime, before you read the book - here are a few things you MUST know: 

1.  You always have to tell the truth

A DBA case is a court case. With any court case, the important thing is your credibility. Here the most important thing you need to understand regarding your DBA case. If the Judge doesn’t believe you - you’ll lose.
The DBA insurance company is hoping you will lie, fib, exaggerate, embellish, and/or  distort about things. Anything. Because when you do they will try and destroy your credibility. When that happens successfully - you lose.

2.   The DBA insurance companies deny legitimate claims - all the time

Just because you have a legitimate claim doesn’t mean the insurance company is going to provide you with weekly compensation benefits and medical treatment. Not hardly. 
They deny legitimate claims all the time. It’s usually not a matter of “if” they will deny your claim, but “when.” 

3.  Forewarned is forearmed 

You need to be prepared right now for the day when your claim is going to be denied and your are going to be cut off. Waiting until after it happens will cost you a lot of money. 
Start saving up for that rainy day today.  

4.  You going to need help or you'll get shellacked 

You aren’t going to beat the insurance company’s shark attorneys by yourself. They will, in all likelihood, eat you up and spit you out. You don’t have to hire my firm.
But you MUST find and hire the best honest DBA lawyer that will agree to take your case. 
You don't know the rules, the law, the system. It's what you don't know that you don't know that will REALLY hurt you

5.  The best thing you’re going to do in order to help you with your DBA case

Get a FREE copy of my book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case. It will walk you step by step through what you need to know and do to win your DBA case.
How to deal with the Defense Base Act OWCP - Bill Turley author of Win Your DBA Case

Check out all the 5 Star Reviews on amazon.com. 

You can order your free copy of the book on this website. I strongly suggest you read my book before you sign any forms, give a recorded or written statement, talk to the adjuster or even hire the WRONG lawyer.


Avoiding the DBA insurance company tricks and traps

My  book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case, will help you avoid all of the DBA insurance company tricks and traps that folks like you fall for every day that will tank your case.

I suggest you read the book BEFORE you talk to the DBA insurance adjuster, sign any documents, give a recorded statement or even hire the wrong lawyer. My book covers all of these topics in depth.


Need help right now?

Call us at 619-304-1000
Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new DBA case" in your text.
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This article isn't legal advice
These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why DBA cases are not won or folks don’t get the result they were hoping for.
Just because we have gotten great results in so many other DBA cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, case. Every case is different.
William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”