Understanding the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act:  Let Doolittle & Tucker, P.A., Be Your Guide

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“Longshore Act”) is a federal workers’ compensation law that has a number of other laws – or extensions – directly related to it.  Those include the Defense Base Act and the little-known “Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act.”  We at Doolittle & Tucker have specialized expertise as Longshore Act, Defense Base Act, and Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act attorneys.

Specifically, with regard to the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, the name of the law is not only a mouthful, but the law does not get as much attention as the other extensions of the Longshore Act.  Yet, if you are a civilian employee who is working for the military, and who is compensated from “non-appropriated” funds, then the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act is a very important law for you to know.

We at Doolittle & Tucker want to provide you with some important information so you understand the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act, including who it is meant for, and what types of workers’ compensation benefits are available.

Remember, if you are injured at work or if a loved one is killed as a result of a workplace accident, be sure to contact a Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act attorney who can help you understand whether the Act can provide you with compensation.  Our team of Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act attorneys at Doolittle & Tucker is just a phone call away.  Call us at 904.396.1734.

Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act:  The Basics

Congress enacted the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act in 1952.  The purpose of the Act was to provide workers’ compensation protection to employees who worked for non-appropriated fund instrumentalities within the United States Armed Forces.

Congress apparently found that, like the Defense Base Act, the Longshore Act provided a good foundation to provide coverage for employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities, as they were related to the Armed Forces.  Specifically, the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act is designed to provide compensation for:

  • Eligible employees who were injured at work;
  • Eligible employees who suffer from an occupational disease; and
  • Dependents of an eligible employee who suffered a fatal injury at work.

Consistent with the Longshore Act, the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act is administered by the United States of Department of Labor, in that Department’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

What Is a Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentality?

Probably the first question any person has when hearing the term Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act is:  What is a “non-appropriated fund instrumentality?”  It is not intuitive at all.

While the name sounds fairly technical and serious, it actually relates to something that brings levity, pleasure, and joy to our Armed Forces.  Specifically, the “instrumentalities” to which the law is referring include:

  • Army and Air Force Exchange Services,
  • Army and Air Force Motion Picture Services,
  • Navy Ship’s Stores Ashore,
  • Navy Exchanges,
  • Marine Corps Exchanges,
  • Coast Guard Exchanges, and
  • Other instrumentalities of the United States Armed Forces conducted for the comfort, pleasure, contentment, and mental and physical improvement of personnel of the Armed Forces.

That leads us to the next question:  What is an “exchange service?”  In terms of the Armed Forces, an exchange service is a retailer, i.e., a department store, for the military.

Taking the Army and Air Force Exchange Service as an example, that Exchange operates more than 2,700 facilities, including main stores, convenience stores, military clothing stores, and theaters, across the United States and in 33 countries.  The Army and Air Force Exchange also houses fast-food restaurants like Subway, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks, and employs nearly 35,000 civilian employees worldwide.

The reason why the exchanges (and other instrumentalities) are considered “non-appropriated fund instrumentalities” is because Congress does not allocate, or appropriate, public money to pay for them.  Rather, the instrumentalities, similar to private companies, operate on the revenue that they bring in from their own operations.

Who Is Considered an Employee of  “Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentality?”

As you would expect, employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities are civilians who work at base exchanges, and other retail and recreational activities, on United States Military Bases.

It is important to note, however, that the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act covers only certain employees.  Specifically, the Act covers:

  • Employees working within continental United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), and
  • Employees who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States (or a U.S. Territory) and who are working outside the continental United States.

Thus, the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act does not cover employees working outside of the continental U.S. who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the U.S.

What Types of Benefits Are Available Under the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act?

As an extension of the Longshore Act, the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act provides both employment-related injury benefits and death benefits.

  • Medical Benefits.  The Act provides for “all medical, surgical, and hospital treatment and other medical supplies and services,” in connection with an employee injury.  The medical benefits also cover the costs associated with travel and mileage in order to obtain medical treatment.  An employee’s physician needs to be approved by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.
  • Disability Benefits.  The Act also provides disability compensation based on whether the injured employee has suffered total disability (temporary or permanent), or partial disability (temporary or permanent).  Compensation will vary based on the category of disability in which an employee falls.
  • Death Benefits.  Finally, the Act covers monetary compensation and funeral expense if tragedy strikes and an employee is killed at work.  Surviving spouses will receive 50% of the deceased employee’s average weekly wage for the rest of his or her life, or until remarriage.  Also, additional compensation will be provided if the deceased employee had children.

Florida Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act Lawyers Are Here To Help

If you or a loved one was injured in a work accident, and you believe that the Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act applies, you should retain the services of an attorney who has experience with such cases.  Our team at Doolittle & Tucker has the expertise and resources to help you with a Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act claim.  Call us today at 904.396.1734.  Let us worry about getting you the compensation you deserve, so you can focus on healing.