United States Veterans of the armed forces deserve, at the very least, the security of government-backed benefits, such as health insurance, pension and life insurance. For those of you who have not researched your life insurance options, it might be a good idea to do a thorough review of the plans available to you. In the end, this type of insurance allows you to rest easy, knowing your family will receive the insurance proceeds after your pass.
There are multiple kinds of life insurance and which one you choose will depend on a number of factors. Many people in the Armed Serices are covered by Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), which is available to a number of different government personnel, including members of the ROTC and US military academies. People working for government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the Public Health Service may also obtain this form of life insurance. Of course, if you’re an active duty service member, you are most likely eligible for this type of coverage.
For all the aforementioned parties, SGLI kicks in automatically during active duty. As of October 1st, 2017, members of the Army, Navy and Air Force can manage their accounts remotely, using an online enrollment system instead of having to file form SGLV 8286. The same service will likely be available to Marine Corps members, Coast Guard and the NOAA in the next couple years. Under SGLI, beneficiaries are covered up to $400,000 the moment they enlist. Service members with family can enjoy the benefits of the Family SGLI program and traumatic injury protection (TSGLI).
If you’re with the National Guard or Ready reserve and you have SGLI; or if you’re a fulltime member of the service, you may elect the Family SGLI program in order to cover your children (at no cost) and your spouse (with a premium payment). Spouses may be covered up to $100,000, and coverage for children maxes out at $10,000.
You can also extend your SGLI to cover traumatic brain injuries incurred while serving in active duty. You must be covered by SGLI in order to be eligible for this coverage (known as TSGLI). If you have an SGLI, the TSGLI kicks in automatically. But if you receive the brain injury even one minute after midnight, on the day you leave the service, you will not be eligible for this type of coverage. To better understand the eligibility requirements visit the VA’s retroactive benefits page.
After you leave the service, the government may provide you with options for maintaining your life insurance policy. For instance, you may enroll in the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which is available to those who have exited the armed forces. Under this policy, you can opt to maintain the same coverage or you may choose to lower your coverage. Either way, you will have to pay a premium in order to keep the VGLI. You have to act fast if you want this plan, as it is no longer available after one year and 120 days following your discharge. If you apply within 240 days of your leaving the service, you can avoid having to answer any health-related questions. This means you can be covered regardless of your health status. To get a sense of the premium rates, check out the VA’s handy table.
If you were disabled in the line of duty, you may be entitled to receive the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). You can apply for a permanent plan or for term insurance. Either way, S-DVI can only cover a maximum of $10,000. In order to obtain this policy, you must satisfy at least four criteria: you must have been (honorably) discharged after April 25th, 1951; you must be rated by the VA as having a service-connected disability; you must submit an application within two years of being rated; and you must have good health, excepting of course your disability. Click here to begin the application process.
For a list of other options, visit the VA’s website. There you can find the information you need to determine your eligibility and the eligibility of your family.