What is Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)?

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What is SGLI?

As a servicemember, you might notice SGLI deducted from your paycheck, but what is it? It’s the military’s version of life insurance that bigger corporations offer their employees, however ours is better and cheaper. I know what you might be thinking, “why do I need life insurance?” This is a valid question and important to understand.

Life insurance helps to provide immediate cash at death to your family. If you’re the breadwinner of the family, or their sole income, life insurance proceeds are a source of cash to pay their debts, and your funeral expenses. Also, it’s a source of income for them to survive until they are done grieving and can find additional sources of income.

It would be devastating to think your family might struggle financially if you pass unexpectedly – SGLI provides that peace of mind and support.

SGLI Eligibility

You may be able to get full-time SGLI coverage if any of the descriptions below are true for you.

At least one of these must be true:

  • An active-duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, or
  • A commissioned member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), or
  • A cadet or midshipman of the U.S. military academies, or
  • A member, cadet, or midshipman of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) engaged in authorized training and practice cruises, or
  • A member of the Ready Reserve or National Guard, assigned to a unit, and scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year, or
  • A volunteer in an Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) mobilization category

If you’re in nonpay status with the Ready Reserve or National Guard

You may be able to get full-time SGLI coverage if you meet both of the requirements below.

  • Scheduled for 12 periods of inactive training for the year, and
  • Drilling for points rather than pay

Note: You must pay your premiums directly.

What does SGLI give you?

Besides peace of mind for you and your family, you can get:

  • Coverage up to the top limit of $400,000—in $50,000 increments
  • 120 days of free coverage from the date you left the military
  • Extension of free coverage for up to 2 years (if you’re totally disabled) when you leave the military.
    > See below for information on the SGLI-Disability Extension
  • Part-time coverage (if you’re a Reserve member who doesn’t qualify for full-time coverage)

Don’t want coverage or want very little? You can choose your level of coverage or even refuse coverage completely. You can also choose your beneficiaries (the people you pick to get the money from your life insurance policy if you die) and change them as needed.

To make changes or updates:

  1. Go to milConnect
  2. Sign in.
  3. Go to Benefits, Life Insurance SOES-SGLI Online Enrollment System.
  4. Check your coverage and beneficiary information and make any needed updates.

How much does SGLI cost?

If you have SGLI coverage, you’ll pay a monthly premium that’ll be automatically taken out of your base pay. The current basic SGLI premium rate is 7 cents per $1,000 of insurance coverage, which is lower than the national average.

The premium includes an additional $1 per month for Traumatic Injury Protection coverage (TSGLI). > Learn more about TSGLI

What about my family?

Family SGLI, also known as Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI), offers coverage for the spouse and dependent children of service members covered under full-time SGLI.

You may be able to get FSGLI if you’re the spouse or dependent child of a service member who meets one of the requirements listed below.

One of these must be true. The service member is:

  • On active duty and covered by full-time SGLI, or
  • A member of the National Guard or Ready Reserve covered by full-time SGLI

You may qualify to get FSGLI as the spouse of someone with SGLI coverage no matter if your own status is active duty, retired, or civilian.

Who’s covered?

  • Spouses of service members covered under SGLI
  • Dependent children of service members covered under SGLI

> Learn more about FSGLI

Applying for VGLI when you separate or retire

When you leave the military, you can apply for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) within 1 year and 120 days from your discharge for up to the amount of coverage you had through SGLI.
> Learn more about VGLI

You can also convert your SGLI policy into a civilian policy within 120 days from the date you left the military.
> Learn how to convert your SGLI coverage to an individual policy (PDF)

Can I get a free extension of my SGLI coverage if I’m disabled when I leave the military?

You may be able to keep your coverage for up to 2 years after the date you left the military if you’re within 2 years of your separation date and you meet either of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You’re totally disabled at the time of your discharge and unable to work, or
  • No matter your work status, you’ve had one of the following:
    • Total loss of hearing in both ears
    • Loss of speech that leaves you unable to talk—even in a whisper—without the help of an artificial device
    • Permanent (long-lasting) loss of use of both of your hands, feet, or eyes, or one hand and one foot, or one hand or foot and one eye

How do I apply for an SGLI Disability Extension?

You’ll need to apply for the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Disability Extension (SGLI-DE).

To apply, fill out the SGLI Disability Extension Application (SGLV 8715) and send it to the OSGLI address listed on the application.
> Download SGLV 8715 (PDF)

If you get approved, you’ll receive a notice 20 months after your separation date letting you know that your SGLI-DE will end and that you now have the option to pay a premium for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).

If you pay the premium, you’ll be able to keep your life insurance coverage for as long as you keep paying the premiums.
> Learn more about VGLI

What if I need help with my claim?

If you have questions about Servicemembers’ or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance, you can call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) at 800-419-1473, or email the Prudential Insurance Company.

Which forms would my family member need?

  • To request an advance insurance payment for a service member who’s terminally ill, a family member would file a Claim for Accelerated Benefits (SGLV 8284).
    > Download SGLV 8284 (PDF)
  • To receive an insurance payment in their time of need, a family member would file a Claim for Death Benefits (SGLV 8283).
    > Download SGLV 8283 (PDF) 
  • To help a service member get short-term financial support while recovering from a traumatic injury, a family member would work with the service member to file an Application for TSGLI Benefits (SGLV 8600).
    > Download SGLV 8600 (PDF)

Final thoughts

Servicemembers are automatically enrolled, along with their dependents – just make sure you verify through milConnect. Life insurance is important, whether you are single or in a relationship. In the event of your death, your loved ones will have to pay your funeral expenses and pay off any financial liabilities you have, such as your debts. If you were the sole provider to your family, life insurance provides them income until they can sort things out.

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