SGLI enrollment is automatic for those who join the United States military, but those who want to take advantage of options such as SGLI-DE must apply to enroll. SGLI-DE is not automatic.
The SGLI Disability Extension is offered to service members rated totally disabled at time of discharge. SGLI-DE allows the retiring or separating service member to keep their SGLI coverage for up to 24 months at no cost.
Qualifying For SGLI-DE
What does “totally disabled” mean? According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, “you must have a disability that prevents you from being gainfully employed” or have any of the following list of qualifying conditions regardless of your actual employment status:
- Permanent loss of use of both hands
- Permanent loss of use of both feet
- Permanent loss of use of both eyes
- Permanent loss of use of one hand and one foot
- Permanent loss of use of one foot and one eye
- Permanent loss of use of one hand and one eye
- Total loss of hearing in both ears
- Organic loss of speech, which is defined by the VA as a condition where the patient has lost the ability to express themselves “through normal organs for speech” regardless of mechanical or electronic assistance
Applying For SGLI-DE
As mentioned at the start of this article, SGLI-DE is not automatic and must be signed up for using a form called SGLV 8715, SGLI Disability Extension Application, Complete the form and submit it to the address listed on the application.
Those who are approved for this extension of SGLI coverage will be notified “20 months after your separation date” to inform you that the extended benefit ends soon and that the veteran has the option to convert to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).
Approximately two months before the end of your SGLI-DE, you will be sent a billing statement for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). If you choose to make the payments for VGLI, that coverage “will begin the day after your SGLI Disability Extension ends, according to VA.gov, assuming you send in the first payment.
Those who choose not to make the first payment are not enrolled in VGLI. If you want to enroll in VGLI but do not get a billing statement 60 days before your SGLI-DE ends, call 800-419-1473 as soon as possible.
Those who choose to pay for VGLI will continue being covered as long as the payments are made.
Making SGLI-DE Claims
There are multiple scenarios where next-of-kin/family members might need to submit a claim–there may be a need for an advance payment for a veteran who is terminally ill, for example.
Others may need short-term financial help for veterans recovering from an injury. And then there are the procedures for typical claims for death benefits under SGLI-DE. Which forms should beneficiaries complete and submit to begin such claims?
Claiming Death Benefits
To file a claim for death benefits, surviving family members must complete a Claim For Death Benefits using SGLV 8283. Those who need to complete this form are encouraged to also accept “free, independent, third party financial counseling offered through Beneficiary Financial Counseling Service” according to VA.gov.
The number for this free financial counseling is 1-888-243-7351 and this call may also be used to help you complete the claim form for Death Benefits.
When claiming SGLI Death Benefits, you will need to provide the following information:
- Full name of the deceased service member or veteran
- Social Security Number of deceased
- Date of death
- Branch of service
- Duty status on date of death
- Date of discharge or separation
- Next-of-kin’s full name, relationship to deceased, date of birth, and Social Security Number
Advance SGLI Payments For Terminally Ill Veterans
Those who need to request an advance payment in cases where a servicemember is terminally ill must fill out SGLV 8284, Claim for Accelerated Benefits.
At the time of this writing, accelerated benefits are available for the veteran “to receive up to 50% of your SGLI or VGLI benefit if you have been diagnosed by your physician as being terminally ill (as defined in Public Law 105-368) with nine (9) months or less to live.” However, next-of-kin should know that only the insured is permitted to apply for this accelerated benefit.
The amount of insurance proceeds payable to your beneficiaries when the veteran dies is reduced by the amount of the accelerated benefit paid prior to the veteran’s death and future SGLI premiums may be lowered to reflect the reduced amount of SGLI coverage according to the official site.
Claiming Short-Term Financial Support
TSGLI, Traumatic Injury Protection, was created to help service members and their families with financial burdens associated with recovering from a severe injury.
These benefit payments range from $25,000 to $100,000, paid according to a list of qualifying conditions and coverage levels. Those who need short-term financial help while recovering from qualifying injuries must complete SGLV 8600, Application for TSGLI Benefits.
Those filing SGLI claims should know that death benefits under the program must be paid out in order as follows:
- To the beneficiary named in writing by the insured
- If none, the insurance is payable to the widow or widower of the insured
- If none, it is payable to the child or children in equal shares with the share of any deceased child distributed among the descendants of that child
- If none, it is payable to parent(s) in equal shares
- If none, it is payable to a duly appointed executor or administrator of the insured’s estate
- If none, to other next of kin
Getting Assistance With SGLI-DE
Do you need help or have questions about SGLI or SGLI-DE? Call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) at 800-419-1473.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News