Know Your Needs When Considering SGLI Coverage

Article excerpt

There may be military benefits you might not know you have. One of these benefits is Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, and related policies such as the Family Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and Traumatic Injury Protection Program.

Life insurance benefits are intended to replace an income stream, and how much life insurance you need depends on the income you need to replace, as well as additional benefits or assets that can supplement that income. The great thing about these Army benefits is that you, the Soldier, control exactly where the proceeds will go. The amount of money at stake is considerable, so it is worth planning ahead to determine how much you actually have, how much you need, and how to distribute it when the time comes.

All Soldiers are eligible for SGLI. Soldiers are automatically covered for $400,000, but can elect coverage in a lesser amount if they don't want or need the full amount. The SGLI benefit is paid to the beneficiaries if the Soldier dies while on active duty, regardless of whether the death occurs in a combat zone. A Soldier can designate anyone he or she chooses as a beneficiary, to include dividing the benefit among several beneficiaries. Selecting, and properly designating beneficiaries can be tricky, so seeking the advice of a legal assistance attorney is extremely important.

Note that SGLI is available only to active-duty and Reserve-component Soldiers, and for 120 days after leaving active duty.

Families of Soldiers who elect SGLI coverage can also benefit from FSGLI. FSGLI provides up to $100,000 of coverage for the Soldier's spouse and $10,000 of coverage for each dependent child enrolled in DEERS under the age of 18 (or up to the age of 23 if the child is a full-time student).

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Coverage for a spouse is purchased in increments of $10,000, for up to $100,000, but cannot exceed the amount for which the Soldier is covered. A spouse is automatically enrolled, unless the Soldier chooses to opt out. This includes dual-military couples, because for FSGLI purposes a spouse in the military has spousal coverage in addition to their own SGLI benefit. …