For complete details on government life insurance, visit the VA Internet site at www.insurance.va.gov or call VA’s Insurance Center toll-free at 1-800-669-8477. Specialists are available between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Eastern Time, to discuss premium payments, insurance dividends, address changes, policy loans, naming beneficiaries and reporting the death of the insured.
If the insurance policy number is not known, send whatever information is available, such as the veteran’s VA file number, date of birth, Social Security number, military serial number or military service branch and dates of service to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Regional Office and Insurance Center
Philadelphia, PA 19101
For information about Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, Veterans Group Life Insurance, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection, or Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Family Coverage, visit the Web site above or call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance directly at 1-800-419-1473.
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance
The following are automatically insured for $400,000 under Service members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI):
- Active-duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard
- Commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Public Health Service (PHS)
- Cadets or midshipmen of the U.S. military academies
- Members, cadets and midshipmen of the ROTC while engaged in authorized training and practice cruises
- Members of the Ready Reserves/National Guard who are scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year
- Members who volunteer for a mobilization category in the Individual Ready Reserve
Individuals may elect in writing to be covered for a lesser amount or not at all. Part-time coverage may be provided to reservists who do not qualify for full-time coverage. Premiums are automatically deducted from the service member’s pay. At the time of separation from service, SGLI can be converted to either Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) or a commercial plan through participating companies. SGLI coverage continues for 120 days after separation at no charge.
Coverage of $10,000 is also automatically provided for dependent children of members insured under SGLI with no premium required.
SGLI Traumatic Injury Protection
Members of the armed services serve our nation heroically during times of great need, but what happens when they experience great needs of their own because they have sustained a traumatic injury? Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) helps severely injured service members through their time of need with a one-time payment. The amount varies depending on the injury, but it could make a difference in the lives of service members by allowing their families to be with them during their recovery. TSGLI helps them with unforeseen expenses; or gives them a financial head start on life after recovery.
TSGLI is an insurance program that is bundled with Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). An additional $1.00 has been added to the service member’s SGLI premium to cover TSGLI. After Dec. 1, 2005, all service members who are covered by SGLI are automatically also covered by TSGLI, regardless of where their qualifying traumatic injury occurred. However, TSGLI claims require approval.
In addition, there is retroactive TSGLI coverage for service members who sustained a qualifying traumatic injury while in theater supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), or while on orders in a Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE) area from Oct. 7, 2001, through Nov. 30, 2005. TSGLI coverage is available for these service members regardless of whether SGLI coverage was in force. Beginning on October 1, 2011, TSGLI benefits can be paid for qualifying traumatic injuries incurred during this period, regardless of where the injury occurred. The member is not required to have served under OEF/OIF orders to be eligible for a TSGLI payment.
For more information, and branch of service contact information, visit the Web site at www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/TSGLI/TSGLI.htm, or call 1-800-237-1336 (Army); 1-800-368-3202 (Navy); 1-877-216-0825 (Marine Corps); 1-800-433-0048 (Active Duty Air Force); 1-800-525-0102 (Air Force Reserves); 1-703-607-5093 (Air National Guard); 1-202-493-1931 (U.S. Coast Guard); 1-301-594-2963 (PHS); or 1-301-713-3444 (NOAA).
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Family Coverage
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Family Coverage (FSGLI) provides up to $100,000 of life insurance coverage for spouses of service members with full-time SGLI coverage, not to exceed the amount of SGLI the member has in force. FSGLI is a service members’ benefit; the member pays the premium and is the only person allowed to be the beneficiary of the coverage. FSGLI spousal coverage ends when: 1) the service member elects in writing to terminate coverage on the spouse; 2) the service member elects to terminate his or her own SGLI coverage; 3) the service member dies; 4) the service member separates from service; or 5) the service member divorces the spouse. The insured spouse may convert his or her FSGLI coverage to a policy offered by participating private insurers within 120 days of the date of any of the termination events noted above.
Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
SGLI may be converted to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which provides renewable term coverage to:
- Veterans who had full-time SGLI coverage upon release from active duty or the reserves
- Members of the Ready Reserves/National Guard with part-time SGLI coverage who incur a disability or aggravate a pre-existing disability during a period of active duty or a period of inactive duty for less than 31 days that renders them uninsurable at standard premium rates
- Members of the Individual Ready Reserve and Inactive National Guard
SGLI can be converted to VGLI up to the amount of coverage the service member had when separated from service. Veterans who submit an application and the initial premium within 120 days of leaving the service will be covered regardless of their health. Veterans who don’t apply within this period can still convert to VGLI if they submit an application, pay the initial premium, and show evidence of insurability within one year after the end of the 120-day period.
Beginning on October 1, 2011, current VGLI policyholders who are under the age of 60 and are not insured by the maximum amount of VGLI as prescribed by law will have an opportunity to increase their VGLI coverage by $25,000, once every 5 years.
SGLI Disability Extension
Servicemembers who are totally disabled at the time of separation are eligible for free SGLI Disability Extension of up to two years. They must apply to the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) at 80 Livingston Ave., Roseland, New Jersey 07068-1733.
Those covered under the SGLI Disability Extension are automatically converted to VGLI at the end of their extension period. VGLI is convertible at any time to a permanent plan policy with any participating commercial insurance company.
Accelerated Death Benefits
SGLI, FSGLI and VGLI policyholders who are terminally ill (prognosis of nine months or less to live) have a one-time option of requesting up to 50 percent of their coverage amount (in increments of $5,000) paid in advance.
Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance
A Veteran who was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and who has a service-connected disability but is otherwise in good health may apply to VA for up to $10,000 in life insurance coverage under the Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) program. Applications must be submitted within two years from the date of being notified of the approval of a new service-connected disability by VA. This insurance is limited to Veterans who left service on or after April 25, 1951.
Veterans who are totally disabled may apply for a waiver of premiums and additional supplemental insurance coverage of up to $20,000. Effective October 1, 2011, the supplemental insurance coverage will be increased to $30,000. However, premiums cannot be waived on the additional supplemental insurance. To be eligible for this type of supplemental insurance, Veterans must meet all of the following three requirements:
- Be under age 65
- Be eligible for a waiver of premiums due to total disability
- Apply for additional insurance within one year from the date of notification of waiver approval on the S-DVI policy
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is mortgage protection insurance available to severely disabled veterans who have been approved by VA for a Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH). Maximum coverage is the amount of the existing mortgage up to $90,000, and is payable only to the mortgage company. Effective October 1, 2011, maximum coverage will be increased to $150,000. The maximum coverage amount will increase again on January 1, 2012, to $200,000. Protection is issued automatically following SAH approval, provided the Veteran submits information required to establish a premium and does not decline coverage. Coverage automatically terminates when the mortgage is paid off. If a mortgage is disposed of through sale of the property, VMLI may be obtained on the mortgage of another home.
Other Insurance Information
The following information applies to policies issued to World War I, World War II, Korean, and Vietnam-era veterans and any Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance policies. Policies in this group are prefixed by the letters K, V, RS, W, J, JR, JS, or RH.
Insurance Dividends Issued Annually: World War I, World War II, and Korean-era veterans with active policies beginning with the letters V, RS, W, J, JR, JS, or K are issued tax-free dividends annually on the policy anniversary date. (Policies prefixed by RH do not earn dividends.) Policyholders do not need to apply for dividends, but may select from among the following dividend options:
- Cash: The dividend is paid directly to the insured either by a mailed check or by direct deposit to a bank account
- Paid-Up Additional Insurance: The dividend is used to purchase additional insurance coverage
- Credit or Deposit: The dividend is held in an account for the policyholder with interest. Withdrawals from the account canbe made at any time. The interest rate may be adjusted.
- Net Premium Billing Options: These options use the dividend to pay the annual policy premium. If the dividend exceeds the premium, the policyholder has options to choose how the remainder is used. If the dividend is not enough to pay an annual premium, the policyholder is billed the balance.
- Other Dividend Options: Dividends can also be used to repay a loan or pay premiums in advance
Reinstating Lapsed Insurance: Lapsed term policies may be reinstated within five years from the date of lapse. A five-year term policy that is not lapsed at the end of the term is automatically renewed for an additional five years. Lapsed permanent plans may be reinstated within certain time limits and with certain health requirements. Reinstated permanent plan policies require repayment of all back premiums, plus interest.
Converting Term Policies: Term policies are renewed automatically every five years, with premiums increasing at each renewal. Premiums do not increase after age 70. Term policies may be converted to permanent plans, which have fixed premiums for life and earn cash and loan values.
Paid-up Insurance Available on Term Policies: Effective September 2000, VA provides paid-up insurance on term policies whose premiums have been capped. Veterans with National Service Life Insurance (NSLI) term insurance that has renewed at age 71 or older and who stop paying premiums on their policies will be given a termination dividend. This dividend will be used to purchase a reduced amount of paid-up insurance, which insures the Veteran for life with no premium payments required. The amount of insurance remains level. This does not apply to S-DVI (RH) policies.
Borrowing on Policies: Policyholders with permanent plan policies may borrow up to 94 percent of the cash surrender value of their insurance after the insurance is in force for one year or more. Interest is compounded annually. The loan interest rate is variable and may be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-669-8477.