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


“I am going to tell you the brutal, frank, truth - no matter what - even if it isn’t what you want to hear.  But, you and your DBA case will be the better for it. If you want someone that will tell you what you want to hear, just so you will hire them - then you have the wrong Defense Base Act Lawyer. If you want honesty- all of the time -  - then check out our website.” 

Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley


You're not in Kansas anymore

If you're a seriously injured overseas civilian contractor, you didn't sign up for this. Meaning, a Defense Base Act case. It certainly wasn't in the brochure. Meaning, you're not in Kansas anymore.  

Instead, you are in a very different battle now. Now you are battling an insurance company for your money disability benefits and medical treatment.  What you are going to see is that things aren't what they may seem to be. It is a topsy-turvy legal, mumbo, jumbo world you're in now.  I try to answer a lot of your DBA questions on this website. But nothing is better than reading my 5 Star book on Amazon.com - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.

Best DBA book

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

You can order your free copy 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.


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. (Although if you are permanently and totally disabled you may still qualify for a lifetime weekly disability award).  A formula is used to determine the amount of the award. The formula relies on an AMA Impairment.


How do I calculate the money I'm owed from my AMA Impairment, under the Defense Base 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(Longshore At)  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 (read: upper extremity) is 312 weeks.

65% x 312 weeks = 202.8 weeks

Assuming an Average Weekly Wage (AWW) of $2,123.89 and a compensation rate of $1,415.92.

202.8 weeks x $1,415.92 = $287,149 in permanent disability.

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


Don't be fooled into thinking there isn't anything you can do

This may sound pretty straightforward. But it's really not. You are usually up against DBA insurance adjusters that may under calculate your average weekly wage (AWW) or send you to doctors that will give you a low AMA Guide permanent disability rating. Or the doctor could release you before you're ready or try to deduct unsubstantiated permanent disability advances.


It's crucial that you get an AMA impairment rating

It's important to get an AMA Rating 

In case you missed it before. If you have a scheduled injury, then you MUST get an AMA Impairment rating for your injury. I suggest that you check out this article on AMA impairment ratings and medical reports

Can I get more money that the schedule allows if I have a scheduled injury? 

The short answer is, Yes, you can get more money than the schedule allows if you have a scheduled injury under the Defense Base Act.  The long answer is a little more complicated. 

The long answer is a little more complicated.  I cover this question (and more) in this article.... on how to get more money for scheduled injuries under the DBA. 


They aren't your friends

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.

That doesn't give you license or a reason for you to be short, mean or rude to the adjuster. I suggest that you don't talk to the adjuster at all - that all of your communications go through your lawyer. But if you do talk to the adjuster. Be nice and polite. But don't be all gabby. 

So be prepared and get informed on the DBA 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 get your DBA benefits. 

Helpful Advice

When it comes to the ins and outs of filing a DBA claim, the first step you must take is always tell the truth.

Never tell a lie, and always tell the truth. Your credibility with the Defense Base Act insurance company and the Judge depend on it.

Before talk to the adjuster, sign any forms or even hire the wrong DBA lawyer - you need to do your research. Order my free book, Win Your Defense Base Act Case: The Ultimate Straight Talk Roadmap To The Medical Treatment and Money You and Your Family Deserve. It is full of helpful information that will only benefit you on your road to recovery with your Defense Base Act Claim.

Win Your Defense Base Act Case - Bill Turley

If you go over to Amazon.com, you can see all of the 5 Star Reviews for my book.

Need Help Right Now?

Call our office today at 619-304-1000. We are here to help. We are here to listen.


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
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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.”