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SGLI FAQ

img img Serviceman's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Frequently Asked Questions
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General Questions

Q. Who Should You Contact With Questions?
A. If you are unable to obtain the information you need on this site, you should contact the Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (OSGLI). The OSGLI administers the SGLI and VGLI programs including the processing and payment of claims. Follow this link for SGLI contact information.

Q. What Does SGLI Provide?
A. SGLI provides group term life insurance. When you die, money will be paid to the person (persons) you designate to receive the insurance. The beneficiary can use this money to pay expenses related to your death or invest the money to help replace your salary. Since SGLI is term insurance, it does not have cash or loan values and it does not pay dividends.

Q. When Does Coverage Begin?
A. You are automatically covered for the maximum amount of insurance ($400,000) on your first day of active duty or active duty for training, unless you decline or reduce your coverage. If you are performing duty for a period of less than 31 days, part-time coverage begins on the first day of the period of duty, including travel. If you previously declined and later apply for SGLI, your coverage will be effective on the date the application form is received by your branch of service. (For detailed information regarding restoration of coverage, see the SGLI/VGLI Handbook; Chapter 4 )

Q. During What Periods Are You Covered?
A. SGLI insureds are covered during the following periods:

  • Full Time Coverage...Active Duty
    If you are a full-time member on active duty, you are covered 365 days of the year. Your coverage is in effect during the period of active duty or inactive duty training and for 120 days following separation of release from duty.
  • Full Time Coverage...Reserve Duty
    If you are a Reservist and have been assigned to a unit in which you are scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive duty that is creditable for retirement purposes, full-time coverage is in effect 365 days of the year. You are also covered for 120 days following separation or release from duty.
  • Part Time Coverage
    Part-time coverage is provided for Reservists who do not qualify for the full-time coverage described above. Part-time coverage generally applies to Reservists who drill only a few days in a year. A common example is members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who attend one-day call-ups, commonly referred to as "musters".

Q. How Much SGLI Can You Have?
A. The maximum amount of SGLI coverage you may have is $400,000. You may elect to be insured for lesser amounts in increments of $50,000. If you choose to decline or reduce your SGLI coverage, you must complete and file a form SGLV 8286, Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and Certificate, with your uniformed service. If you have the maximum amount of SGLI, you have the right to retain any other Government or private insurance. However, you may not have more than $400,000 of combined SGLI and VGLI coverage.

Q. How Do You Obtain or Increase SGLI Coverage?
A. If you declined or reduced your SGLI coverage and later want to obtain or increase the coverage, you must complete and sign a form SGLV 8285, Request for Insurance, in the presence of an authorized representative of your uniformed service. You must answer all medical questions. The representative will certify and file the application in your personnel file. Your coverage will become effective immediately, providing a review of your medical conditions is not required by OSGLI. Monthly premiums will be deducted from your pay.

Q. How Do You Reduce or Cancel Your SGLI Coverage?
A. To reduce or cancel your SGLI, you must complete and file a form SGLV 8286, Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Election and Certificate, with your uniformed service. If you reduce or cancel SGLI on the first day of duty, your election will be effective immediately. If you make an election after the first day of duty, it will be effective at the end of that month. If you are reducing or canceling part-time coverage, your election will be effective at the end of the last day of the period of duty you are serving. (For more detailed information, see the SGLI Handbook, 3.01 and 3.02.)

Q. How Much Life Insurance Do I Really Need?
A. Assessing your life insurance needs and options can difficult. We can help you assess your life insurance needs and options. Follow this link to use our helpful decision-making tools.


Eligibility

Q. Are You Eligible For SGLI?
A. Most members of the uniformed services and Ready Reserves are eligible for full-time coverage. You are eligible for full-time coverage if you are an active duty member of the uniformed service and performing duty under calls or orders that do not specify periods of less than 31 days. If you are a Ready Reservist and assigned to a unit in which you may be required to perform active duty or active duty for training and each year will be scheduled to perform at least twelve periods of inactive duty training, you are also eligible for full-time SGLI coverage.

If you are an eligible member of the Reserves and do not qualify for full-time coverage while performing active duty or active duty for training under calls specifying periods of less than 31 days, you may be eligible for part-time coverage.

Detailed information regarding eligibility can be found in the SGLI/VGLI Handbook Chapter 1, Section 1.03.


Q. How Do You Apply For SGLI?

A. SGLI coverage is automatic, so you don't have to apply for it. You should, however, complete and file a form SGLV 8286, Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and Certificate, to designate a beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive the proceeds. If you previously declined or reduced SGLI coverage and later decide you want coverage, you may request such coverage in writing through your uniformed service. You will need to complete and sign an application form SGLI 8285, Request for Insurance, in the presence of a representative from your uniformed service.


Cost and Premium Payment

Q. How Much Does SGLI Cost?
A. The monthly cost of SGLI is $26.00 for $400,000 of coverage. If you choose to be insured for less than the maximum $400,000, the cost is $3.25 per month per $50,000. This amount will be automatically deducted from your service pay. The premium for part-time coverage is $26.00 per year for $400,000 of coverage. Members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) will be charged $1.00 for $400,000 of coverage for 1-day call-ups.

Listed below are the monthly premiums for SGLI at different levels of coverage.

SGLI Premium Rates by Coverage Amount
Coverage amount
Monthly premium rate
50,000
$3.25
100,000
$6.50
150,000
$9.75
200,000
$13.00
250,000
$16.25
300,000
$19.50
350,000
$22.75
400,000
$26.00



Naming a Beneficiary and Settlement Option

Q. Who Can You Designate To Be The Beneficiary?
A. You may designate any person, firm, corporation or legal entity (including your own estate individually or as a trustee) as principal or contingent beneficiary. Þ Note: State divorce decrees, separation agreements or other state court or municipal court documents are not binding on the determination of a beneficiary. Your right to name and change the beneficiary is absolute.

Q. How Do You Name A Beneficiary?
A. You must complete a form SGLV 8286, Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Election and Certificate and submit it to your uniformed service. You may designate more than one principal beneficiary, but you need to indicate the shares each shall be paid. On this same form, you may designate a contingent beneficiary or beneficiaries to receive the proceeds in the event the principal beneficiary dies before you.

Q. How Do You Change Your Beneficiary Designation?
A. You may, at any time, change or cancel a previous designation. To change or cancel a designation, you simply complete, sign and file a new form SGLV 8286 with your uniformed service. It is effective on the date it is received by the uniformed service.

Q. What Happens If You Don't Name A Beneficiary?
A. To avoid confusion, we encourage you to designate a beneficiary and file it with your uniformed service. However, if you do not name a beneficiary, the insurance proceeds will be paid "By Law." The order of precedence is first to the surviving spouse, then to any children, then to the parents and finally to a duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate.

Q. Can You Specify How The Proceeds Will Be Paid?
A. SGLI proceeds may be paid in one lump sum or in 36 equal installments. You may specify one of these two options on the form SGLV 8286. OSGLI pays the proceeds according to the option you chose. If you do not specify how the proceeds are to be paid, they will be paid to the beneficiary in one lump sum.


Disability

Q. Can SGLI Coverage Be Extended If You Become Disabled?
A. If you are totally disabled at the time of separation from active duty, your full-time coverage will be extended for as long as the total disability continues, up to a maximum of one year. You are eligible to apply for VGLI during this extended period of SGLI coverage. If you incur a disability while under part-time coverage and you are not able to acquire commercial life insurance at a standard rate because of the disability, your SGLI coverage will be extended for 120 days following the period of duty in which the disability occurred. You may apply for VGLI during this 120-day extension. Important: An extension of SGLI due to total disability is not automatic. You must apply to the Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance for the extension.


Conversion of SGLI to VGLI or to an Individual Policy

Q. How Do You Convert SGLI To VGLI?
A. You may convert your SGLI coverage to VGLI upon separation from service. You have 120 days following separation to apply for VGLI. OSGLI will send you a computer printout application, usually within 45 to 60 days following your release. You may also submit an application for VGLI using the form SGLV 8714, Application for VGLI. If you use this form, you need to also furnish a copy of your DD 214 or other proof of service. The completed application and the first premium must be sent to OSGLI within 120 days after your separation from service. (If you file an application for VGLI after this 120-day period, you must provide proof of good health and the application must be submitted within one year after your SGLI terminates.) You are not eligible to apply for VGLI more than one year and 120 days after your separation from service.

Q. How Do You Convert SGLI To Other Life Insurance?
A. You may convert your SGLI to an individual policy of life insurance with a commercial company that participates in the program within 120 days following your release from active duty. You may convert up to the amount of SGLI coverage you hold. Follow this link to our Conversion Page to view information on how to convert to an individual policy with a list of participating companies. You will be issued an individual policy at the company's standard premium rate regardless of your health. No disability or other supplemental benefits will be provided on converted policies.


Death Claims

Q. How Does A Beneficiary File A Claim For The Proceeds?
A. If you die in service, the uniformed service will furnish to your beneficiary a form SGLV 8283, Claim For Death Benefits. The beneficiary should complete this form and submit it to OSGLI.

Q. How Do The Proceeds Get Paid?
A. Once OSGLI receives proof that an insured member has died, it will pay the proper beneficiary the amount for which the member was insured. If you did not designate a beneficiary, the proceeds will be paid in the order of precedence as provided by law. OSGLI will pay the proceeds to the beneficiary either in one lump sum or in 36 installments, according to the option you specified.

Q. What Are Alliance Accounts?
A. Alliance is a personal interest bearing checkbook account opened for SGLI and VGLI beneficiaries. Insurance proceeds are deposited in the beneficiary's name and the beneficiary can write checks from $250 up to the full amount of the proceeds. This gives the beneficiary time to make important financial decisions, while their funds are secure and earn continuous interest.

Q. What Is Beneficiary Financial Counseling Service?
A. Beneficiary Financial Counseling Services (BFCS) is an extra benefit offered to beneficiaries of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance policies. As a beneficiary, you can take advantage of free professional financial advice. Counseling services are provided by FinancialPoint®. For more information, please visit our Beneficiary Financial Counseling page. To take advantage of the free BFCS benefit, beneficiaries may contact FinancialPoint® toll free at (866) 476-5764 or by email at BFCS@FinancialPoint.com

Q. Can SGLI Benefits Be Assigned to Another Person?
A. Under the law, a beneficiary is not permitted to assign or transfer SGLI proceeds to any other person or entity. In addition, payments of SGLI benefits are not subject to claims of creditors of the insured or creditors of the beneficiary.


Accelerated Benefits for Terminally Ill Policyholders

Q. Can a Terminally Ill Policyholder Receive Part of the Proceeds While Still Living?
A. Effective February 9, 1999, the SGLI and VGLI programs began offering an accelerated benefits option to terminally ill insureds. An insured is considered to be terminally ill if he or she has a written medical prognosis of 9 months or less to live. All terminally ill insureds will be eligible to take up to 50% of their SGLI or VGLI coverage in a lump sum. Many commercial life insurance companies offer accelerated benefits in their policies. Accelerated benefits, paid prior to death, are, of course, not available for payment to survivors. An insured must submit "Servicemember/Veteran Accelerated Benefit Option Form", SGLI ABO 2/99 or VGLI ABO 2/99.


Taxability of Proceeds

Q. Are SGLI Proceeds Taxable?
A. In general, all VA benefits are exempt from taxation. SGLI proceeds that are payable at the death of the insured are excluded from gross income for tax purposes. (The value of the proceeds, however, may be included in determining the value of an estate and that estate may ultimately be subject to tax.) If SGLI proceeds are paid to your beneficiary in 36 equal installments, the interest portion included in these installments is also exempt from taxation. In addition, delayed settlement interest (interest accrued from the date of the insured's death to the date of settlement) is also exempt from taxation. You are not required to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) any installment interest or delayed settlement interest that you received in addition to the proceeds.

Visit the VA website for more information on this benefit.


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