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How much is paid for Death Benefits under the Defense Base Act?

How much is paid for death benefits?

The weekly death benefit is capped at the TTD rate of the deceased person. The TTD rate is 66 2/3 % of the weekly gross pay of the deceased (capped at $1,510.76 for 2019). If there is a wife and children, an additional 16 2/3 % is divided equally to the dependent children in addition to the 50% to the wife.


If there is no wife but there is one dependent child, the child will receive 50% of the deceased’s weekly gross pay (let’s call that the average weekly wage or AWW for simplicity), 2 or more dependent children will receive the 66 2/3 % split equally until 1 child no longer qualifies by turning 18 or turning 24 attending full time classes in an educational institute.

Which children qualify for death benefits and for how long? The child must be either:

  1. Under the age of 18 or
  2. Aged 18 to 23 and engaged in full time education
  3. Or even older than 18 and incapable of self support by reason of    mental or physical disability/incapacity.

Non residents receiving death benefits should be aware that the Insurance carrier may ask the Secretary of Labor to commute or reduce the future payments to one half of the future death benefit installments per 42 USCS 1652(b), 33 USCS 909(g).

But death benefits are subject to inflationary increases each year in proportion to the National AWW 33 USCS 910(f).

Dependents can settle their weekly benefits by taking a lump sum of money, keeping in mind the insurance company’s right to commute (reduce) the future benefits to one-half. I will prepare a second blog about commutation and what it means.

Also Section 903(c) deals with employees who had PTSD and commit suicide. Those deaths are compensable if the suicide is the result of an “irresistible impulse” (Usually stemming from the PTSD diagnosis) The widow and prior treating psychiatrist(s) would be witnesses in such a case.

Death benefits can be paid if a person is detained by hostile forces, is missing due to the belligerent action or is marooned by failure to repatriate. 42 USCS 1701-1717 104 (a-c) provides these payments will be made by DFEC (Division of Federal Employees compensation) to workers of American Contractors. The claim for Detention benefits must be filed within 3 years after the detention. 5 USCS 8122 (2003). During detention, the employee is entitled to compensation at 100% of the AWW.

This firm will be in London the week of June 17, 2019 to meet existing clients and offer FREE consultations to new clients. We offer those family members our sincere sympathy for the loss of your loved one. I lost my partner Vance B. Moore in 2014 when he passed of a heart attack. I had vey little energy to continue his good works during that first year following his death. I lost weight and slept when I wasn’t working. Finally a friend asked me if I was well as I looked so thin. That woke me up. Since then, I have worked with a renewed energy and goal to help those who have suffered atrocities. Certainly there is no greater loss than the loss of a loved one and the first year is the most difficult time to have the energy to even think of retaining an attorney to file a claim, but you must. I hope this article wakes you up just as my friend did for me.

Let me explain why you must summons up the energy to hire an experienced DBA attorney. While you may think the insurance adjuster or defense attorney will voluntarily pay you what your case is worth, they can’t because their responsibility is to pay as little as possible. So having you call them for advice and money represents a conflict of interest for them. I have had them comment they are relieved when we are retained and file a claim as they know the family will get independent representation and proper help on their claim.

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