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SGLI Expands to Include Spouses, Children

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2001 – The Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance plan will also cover troops' spouses and eligible children beginning Nov. 1.

The Veterans' Opportunities Act of 2001, signed by President Bush last spring, allows for up to $100,000 coverage for military spouses and $10,000 coverage for each child.

If the service member has SGLI coverage of $100,000 or more, maximum coverage for the spouse will be automatic, and premiums will be deducted along with the member's premium from each month's pay. If the service member carries less than $100,000 coverage, however, the spouse's coverage can be no higher than the member's, Navy Capt. Chris Kopang explained.

"For instance, if the member only had $50,000 in coverage on himself, he can only get $50,000 for his spouse," said Kopang, DoD director of compensation.

He added that spouse coverage must be elected in $10,000 increments. Premiums will be based on amount of coverage elected and the spouse's age.

Spouse's age  Rate per $1,000 Maximum Monthly Premium
Under 35 $.09 $9
35-44 $.13 $13
45-49 $.20 $20
50-54 $.32 $32
55+ $.55 $55
Coverage for children up to age 18, or 23 if a fulltime student, is free and automatic, so long as the member is participating in SGLI, Kopang said. Eligible Reserve component members will receive the same family-member coverage with premiums being deducted from their drill pay, he said.

Service members will be able to decline or reduce spousal coverage, but officials are still working out the details. "Opt out" procedures and updates will be posted to the SGLI Web site at www.insurance.va.gov/sglivgli/sglifam.htm.

Kopang cautioned service members to think carefully before opting out. "Members may sometimes feel they don't need life insurance for a spouse, especially if the spouse doesn't work outside the home," he said. "However, look at the cost of providing childcare, a nanny perhaps, or other things that contribute to maintaining the home. These are costs service members don't always realize they'll have."

Eligibility for spouse and children's coverage would end if the member terminates coverage, separates, retires, dies, or if the couple divorces. However, spouse coverage will extend 120 days past the date eligibility ends.

"That will give the spouse the opportunity to convert their policy to a commercial policy," Kopang said.

Spouse coverage can be converted to commercial policies when the service member separates from the military, but cannot be converted to the Veterans' Group Life Insurance plan.


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