Civilian employees working for businesses and private employers charged with providing support and other useful services to the United State military are provided no-fault workers’ compensation for injuries sustained while on the job under the Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (NFIA). The NFIA is an extension of the provisions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, which is federal law that provides civilian workers injured during the course of their work with compensation from nonappropriated funds belonging to Marine Corps exchanges, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Navy exchanges, and similar instrumentalities of the U.S. armed forces.
Types Of Civilian Workers That Are Covered Under the NFIA
Military bases are full of civilian workers providing the same types of services one would find in your typical United States suburb and there are a number of important jobs with the U.S. military that civilian employees predominantly fill. These civilians work for private businesses and companies that provide services and support to the military and are not required to be defense contractors. For example, there are on-base grocery stores, drug stores, community stores, convenience stores, day care centers, house cleaning service providers, warehouses to store the goods for these on-base shops, and many other types of stores, services and various sources of recreational activity and enjoyment.
Under the NFIA, any civilian worker or authorized volunteer of the National Armed Forces whose job function is to increase the “comfort, pleasure, contentment, and mental and physical improvement of personnel of the Armed Forces” that is injured, or contracts an occupational disease, while on the job may file a claim under the NFIA in order to receive financial compensation for the injury. The civilian workers or authorized volunteers must further be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, must be employed by the National Armed Forces in some capacity and must be working either on a U.S. military base within the continental United States or a U.S. military base overseas in order to be eligible for an injury claim under the NFIA.
Common examples of civilian workers found on overseas U.S. military bases can include, but are not limited to:
- Store clerks and managers
- Commissary workers
- Warehouse personnel
- Day care providers
- Administrative personnel
- Recreational services providers and staff (movie theater workers, snack bar workers, swimming facility workers, library employees, etc.)
- Civilian medical and dental service providers
- Civilian psychologists
- Civilian substance abuse counselors and other types of counselors
- Civilian social workers
- Civilian information technology workers and IT support
Benefits Under The NFIA
After being injured on the job, injured civilian workers deserve to be compensated for their medical expenses and lost wages. The NFIA provides injured civilian workers with a number of benefits if they are injured, disabled, or killed during the course of their employment. Benefits that are paid to injured civilian workers and their families under the NFIA are detailed in the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. These benefits can include:
- Medical coverage. Medical coverage is provided for injured civilian under the NFIA. This includes compensation for medical bills, surgical procedures and care, hospital care, services, testing, diagnostics, treatment, and any transportation costs associated with getting to and from medical treatments for the injury. Injured civilian workers are permitted to choose their own physician, so long as the physician is a qualified doctor, surgeon, dentist, psychologist optometrist or osteopathic practitioner and is not a holistic or religious healer.
- Disability benefits. When an on the job injury or occupational illness suffered by a civilian worker results in either temporary or permanent disability, the civilian worker is eligible for disability benefits under the NFIA. Disability compensation meant to provide workers wages for their lost work time and is paid in addition to medical coverage.
- Total disability. If the disability is total, meaning that the worker has lost complete use or functionality of a limb or extremity due to the injury, the worker will receive two-thirds of his or her weekly wage as compensation.
- Permanent, but partial, disability. If the disability is partial, but permanent, the worker will receive compensation for a scheduled number of weeks based on what part of the body is injured and disabled.
- Temporary, but partial, disability. If the disability is partial, and temporary, the worker will receive compensation at two-thirds of his or her weekly wages that were lost due to the disability.
- Death benefits. When a civilian worker is killed during the course of his or her employment, or if the worker suffers injuries or an occupational illness that leads to the death of the worker, the civilian worker’s surviving dependents will be eligible for death benefit compensation under the NFIA. Death benefits include:
- Widow compensation. A widow of a deceased civilian worker will receive half of the deceased’s weekly wage, either for the rest of his or her life, or until the widow remarries.
- Child compensation, with a surviving parent. Children of the deceased civilian worker will receive sixteen and two-thirds of the deceased parent’s weekly wage, until the children reach 18 years of age, or 23 years of age if a child becomes a student.
- Child compensation, without a surviving parent. Where children are the only surviving dependents of the deceased civilian worker, half of the deceased’s weekly wage will be paid to the children, until the children reach 18 years of age, or 23 years of age if a child becomes a student.
- Funeral costs. Reasonable funeral expenses, which may not exceed $3,000.