Important News Regarding SGLI
There is a new benefit that became effective February 1, 2006 referred to as the $150,000 Combat SGLI Allowance. This benefit is a result of a new provisions contained in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Tsunami relief 2005. It provides eligible service members to receive an additional $150,000 of SGLI coverage if they meet the following criteria:
- Entitled to income tax exclusion for duty in Operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom theaters
- Service outside the United States on orders in support of Operations Enduring Freedom for Iraqi Freedom
This coverage can be in the form of a one-time entitlement for a single month only, or as a continuous entitlement for the duration of the deployment. The cost for this coverage is equal to the monthly cost of $150,000 SGLI coverage plus the cost of Traumatic coverage.
Servicemembers eligible for the Combat SGLI Allowance who had previously elected to have $0 to $100,000 of coverage under the SGLI policy will automatically have it increased to $150,000 during the period of eligibility for the Combat SGLI Allowance. This SGLI election choice that was in effect prior to eligibility for the Combat SGLI allowance will be put back into effect and resume its regular chosen coverage on the first day of the month after the end of the servicemember’s entitlement of the allowance. However, if during the entitlement period for the Combat SGLI allowance, the servicemember submits a new revised SGLI election, that election will override the one made prior to the allowance entitlement.
SGLI for Reservists
You will have full-time SGLI coverage as long as you are eligible for coverage and are paying the premiums. This provides you with SGLI coverage at all times.
Full-time SGLI coverage is available to the following uniformed service members while performing full-time active duty or active duty for training, under calls or orders that do not specify periods of less than 31 days:
- Members of the Ready Reserve or National Guard of a uniformed service assigned to a unit or position in which they may be required to perform active duty or active duty training and each year are scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive duty training that is creditable for retirement purposes under title 10, United States Code.
- Members of the Individual Ready Reserve who volunteer for assignment to a “mobilization” category under section 12304(i)(1) of title 10, United States Code.
- Commissioned, warrant and enlisted members of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and commissioned members of the NOAA and PHS.
Servicemembers having only part-time SGLI coverage means the insurance is only applicable in certain circumstances. This coverage is provided for the Reserve members who do not qualify for full-time SGLI coverage while performing active duty or active duty training under calls or orders specifying periods of less than 31 days:
- Members of the Individual Ready Reserve during one-day call-ups
- Reserve Corps of the PHS
- Army National Guard and Air National Guard while performing duty under 32 U.S.C. 316, 502, 503, 504, 505; and (5) Members, cadets and midshipmen of the ROTC, while attending field training or practice cruises.
Traumatic injury protection is provided automatically to those servicemembers who carry an SGLI policy in any amount for only $1 per month. This provides disability compensation for loss of limbs or serious injury in amounts up to $100,000.
The cost of SGLI to the servicemember is $26 per month for a $400,000 policy or $3.50 per $50,000 if a smaller coverage amount is desired. This premium is deducted directly from the servicemembers pay. Premiums for members of the Individual Ready Reserve are slightly different. They are charged a premium of $1.25 for $400,000 worth of insurance for one-day call-ups.
After you time in service is up and you are about to separate from the military, one decision you must make is whether or not to convert your SGLI policy to a VGLI policy. Here are some considerations you should be aware of when making this decision:
- If there is a possibility of denial by other insurance carriers because of health related issues, you will definitely want to consider converting to a VGLI policy because they do not require proof of medical insurability.
- Make sure you have an adequate amount of insurance after leaving the military. The VGLI is only able to carry as much as you had carried for the SGLI policy when released from active duty. Keep in mind that your survivor’s benefits package will terminate upon separation and the VGLI is usually not enough to compensate for this benefit package. Determine if you will need to purchase a supplemental policy elsewhere or possibly choose to go with another insurance provider altogether that can better accommodate your needs.