What is VGLI? The acronym stands for Veterans Group Life Insurance and this is an option for those who wish to continue their life insurance policy started while serving in uniform. That policy is known as Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and is a kind of coverage that only applies while you serve. Once a military member retires or separates from the United States Military, VGLI is the life insurance option made available to replace SGLI.
How VGLI Works
VGLI is offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs as “lifetime coverage” which means you have life insurance for as long as you keep paying your insurance premium. Military members are permitted to enroll for a coverage plan that tops out at the amount equal to the SGLI coverage you had when you separated from the military.
There is also lower coverage available in increments of $10 thousand dollars.
What You Need to Know About The VGLI Enrollment Period
Service members have a limited application window lasting one year and 120 days from their official date of separation from military service. But there is a more important window of opportunity for those who apply no later than 240 days from their date of separation–those who do so are not required to answer health questions in order to be approved for VGLI.
VGLI Eligibility Rules
Service members are eligible to apply for VGLI if they carried SGLI while serving in uniform, and are within a year and 120 days of:
- Release from active duty
- Release from active duty for training under a call or order to duty that does not specify a period less than 31 days
- Separation, retirement, or release from assignment from the Ready Reserves/National Guard
- Being assigned to the Individual Ready Reserves
- Being assigned the Inactive National Guard including members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps
- Being placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List
You may be eligible to apply for VGLI if you had part-time SGLI and suffered an injury or disability that rendered you uninsurable at standard premium rates. This must have occurred on duty.
How VGLI Is Billed
Those signing up for VGLI are billed based on age, and rates may be subject to change due to legislation, program modifications, or other factors. Your VGLI premiums are calculated using your age and the amount of coverage you specify.
Medical Exams And VGLI Coverage
While you may encounter some insurance plans that require a medical screening, the VA official site states that no proof of good health is required for this life insurance program if the applicant follows a specific procedure (see below).
VGLI For Those With Medical Conditions That May Make Them Uninsurable
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site says “If you have medical conditions that may make you uninsurable, you should protect yourself and apply within 240 days from separation because there is no health review during this period.”
At the time of this writing, that is the official policy as stated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which also adds that certain conditions make it crucial to apply within the 240-day period. Those conditions include but are NOT limited to the following:
- Autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome
- Blood disorders (includes aplastic and sickle cell anemia)
- Cancers including active and may include some in remission
- Heart conditions
- Medical issues related to heart conditions such as uncontrolled sleep apnea, transplants, hypertension, bypass surgery, heart failure
- Liver and kidney diseases
- Mental health issues such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, TBI
- Respiratory conditions
An Opportunity To Increase Your VGLI Coverage
While it’s true that you are limited to the amount of initial coverage under VGLI (see above) you have the ability to increase that coverage at the one-year mark of your VGLI plan.
You may increase your coverage amount by $25 thousand at the one-year anniversary of your coverage and following that, you may increase coverage once every five years afterwards until you reach one of two limits:
- The policyholder’s 60th birthday OR
- $400,000 in coverage is reached
How To Apply For VGLI
Applying for VGLI can be done one of three ways:
- Apply online via the VA Official site
- Complete SGLV 8714, Application for Veterans Group Life Insurance and mail it to the Office of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
- Apply through the eBenefits portal
Filing A VGLI Claim
- Complete SGLV 8283
- Return SGLV 8283 (and include a death certificate) to the Office of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
- Call 800-419-1473 for further help
- Lifetime coverage
- No medical questions if you apply within 240 days of your date of separation. After 240 days, proof of good health is required
- No exclusions “for reasons related to mental health, PTSD, or TBI”
- VGLI does not exclude applicants based on occupation or other factors, recreational activities
- Standard premium rates regardless of gender, smoker status, etc.
- Five-year coverage increase option
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