For those who serve our country, the VA provides a life insurance program automatically. The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a low cost life insurance that all active duty military automatically receive. While they can choose to change what they pay for and receive, or to opt out of the program altogether, the SGLI program comes with more automatic perks in the form of the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) and the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI).
FSGLI is a program that provides term life insurance coverage to the spouses and dependent children of servicemembers insured under SGLI. The servicemember pays the premium for spousal coverage. Dependent children are insured at no cost to the servicemember. This is a automatic insurance, just like the SGLI program, and happens unless the veteran writes a letter to opt out of it.
There are still eligibility requirements for the spouses and dependent children of the servicemembers. The spouses and children must be those of an active duty servicemember covered by full-time SGLI, or those of a member of the National Guard or Ready Reserve of a uniformed service covered by full-time SGLI. Family coverage is available only to members insured under the SGLI program. This program is not available to those insured under the VGLI program. If the servicemember is covered under full-time SGLI, then they are eligible to insure their spouse, regardless of whether the spouse is on active duty, retired, or is a civilian.
Spouse coverage may or may not be automatic, depending on certain circumstances. If the spouse is not a member of the uniformed services, than the spouse is automatically covered for the maximum spouse coverage, unless the veteran reduces or cancels the coverage. If the spouse is a member of the uniformed services, and you married on or after January 2, 2013, then the servicemember and the spouse are not automatically covered under spouse coverage. The servicemember and his or her spouse must apply if they want spouse coverage.
FSGLI provides a maximum or $100,000 of insurance, or a minimum of $10,000, for coverage of the spouse. The coverage amount may not exceed that of the servicemember’s VGLI coverage amount. The cost of insurance for the spouse of the servicemember is dependent upon the age of the spouse, costing as little as $0.50 per $10,000 coverage when under age 35, to costing $5 per $10,000 coverage when above the age of 60. There is an automatic $10,000 max/min for dependent children. You may reduce, decline, or cancel your spouse coverage by completing the SGLV Form 8286A and submitting it to your uniformed service. The dependent child coverage is free, and cannot be reduced, declined or canceled.
Another program that is automatically set for the servicemember who has SGLI is the TSGLI. TSGLI provides automatic traumatic injury coverage to all servicemembers who are covered under the SGLI program. Its main purpose is to provide short-term financial assistance to severely injured servicemembers and veterans to assist them in their recovery from traumatic injuries. TSGLI provides insurance coverage for both combat injuries and injuries incurred on or off duty.
If the servicemember is automatically covered under full-time SGLI, then they are automatically covered by TSGLI. TSGLI coverage applies to active duty members, reservists, National Guard members, funeral honors duty and one-day muster duty. To be eligible to receive payment for the TSGLI, you must be insured by SGLI when you experience a traumatic injury, incur a scheduled loss that is a direct result of a traumatic injury, suffered the traumatic injury prior to midnight of the day that you separate from the uniformed services, suffer a scheduled loss within 2 years of the traumatic injury, and survive for a period of not less than seven full days from the date of the traumatic injury. The 7-day period begins on the date and time of the traumatic injury, as measured by Zulu time and ends 168 hours later.
This benefit is also provided retroactively for servicemembers who incurred severe losses as a result of traumatic injuries incurred between October 7, 2001, and November 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injury occurred, and regardless of whether coverage was in effect at the time of the injury.
The premium for TSGLI is a flat rate of $1 per month for most servicemembers, which is added onto the premium of the servicemember’s SGLI. To file a claim for TSGLI, or learn how to change anything on the FSGLI, visit the VA website at benefits.va.gov for more information.