Receiving Defense Base Act Death Benefits Due to the Loss of a Loved One
Nothing is more heartbreaking than the loss of a beloved member of your family. Unfortunately, civilians employed by defense contractors sometimes work in dangerous environments where lives are tragically cut short. Individuals who have lost a spouse overseas are generally entitled to death benefits under the Defense Base Act (DBA), even when the death occurred outside of work hours.
Defense Base Act Death Benefit Amounts
These rules establish the death benefits provided under the DBA:
- If the employee is survived by a spouse and no more than one child, benefits provide one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings.
- If the employee is survived by a spouse and multiple children, benefits are increased to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings.
- If a child is the sole survivor, benefits provide one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings. When multiple children are entitled to benefits, payments are increased to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, and shared equally among the children.
The DBA also covers funeral expenses up to $3,000.
Defense Base Act Death Benefit Limits
These limitations apply to the death benefits provided under the DBA:
- Benefits are capped at a maximum weekly rate of $1,346.68.
- The surviving spouse receives death benefits for life, but payments will cease if the spouse remarries. Upon remarriage, the surviving spouse receives a lump sum payment equal to two years of benefits.
- Children may collect benefits until they reach 18 years of age (age 23 if the child is a college student). Payments may continue indefinitely if a child is incapable of supporting himself due to mental or physical disabilities.
- If the employee is unmarried with no children, benefits will go to the deceased’s next of kin.
You Need an Attorney
Rules and regulations applicable to the DBA are complex, and securing the benefits your family is entitled to can prove to be a challenge. You need an experienced attorney to help you secure your rights. Contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.