A Deep Dive into Life Insurance Benefits

**All of this information has been taken from the VA transition guide. We have broken down the information into much easier pieces for you to navigate.**

Let’s take a more detailed look at Life Insurance Benefits you can obtain from your service to our country. Buckle up, this is very information heavy, but there is a wealth of important knowledge you should learn about.

Life Insurance Benefits 

Although it may seem far off, it’s important to think about how you will prepare for your family’s financial well-being after you’re gone. Financial concerns and logistics can be hard for your loved ones to handle while grieving. 

VA life insurance is one way to provide peace of mind for your family. 

Life insurance can offer financial security and support to you, your spouse and your dependents. The VA life insurance programs offer some advantages over traditional life insurance policies. For example: 

  • The VA has life insurance programs that don’t require you to prove good health. This is especially important if you have service-related conditions that might affect your eligibility for a private life insurance plan. 
  • You can take your VA life insurance with you wherever you work or live. You don’t lose coverage when you change jobs or move to a new state.
  • The VA even has life insurance programs for those who experienced traumatic injuries during their service. Veterans who suffer losses due to traumatic injuries incurred in service may qualify for traumatic injury benefits.  

If you have any questions, call: Call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance for questions about SGLI, Family SGLI, TSGLI or VGLI: 1-800-419-1473. For all other programs, call: 1-800-669-8477

The VA offers several types of life insurance benefits for your specific situation. Consider your options early—there are strict deadlines you don’t want to miss. You can find information about all types of VA life insurance programs using the interactive Overview of VA Insurance Benefits. 

You can also use the life insurance needs calculator. The calculator asks for information to determine your current assets, the income your survivors will need and your financial obligations. By subtracting your total assets from your total financial obligations and income needed, the calculator arrives at the amount of life insurance you need.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is the benefit that provided your life insurance while you were in the military. Some Service members may also have Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage for their spouses and dependents.

Coverage under both SGLI and FSGLI will end 120 days after you separate or retire from service. You can convert your SGLI and FSGLI to permanent plans without providing proof of good health; you can also convert your SGLI coverage to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). Spouses insured under FSGLI can convert to coverage with a participating commercial provider. 


Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) 

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is low-cost term life insurance coverage for members of the uniformed services.

You are eligible for SGLI coverage if you are:  

    • Serving on active duty.  
    • A member of the Ready Reserve or National Guard scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year.  
    • A commissioned member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the U.S. Public Health Service. 
    • A Cadet or Midshipman at one of the four service academies.  
    • A member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps engaged in authorized training and practice cruises (part‐time coverage). 
    • A Service member who volunteers for a mobilization category in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). 

 Service members with full‐time SGLI coverage are eligible for VGLI upon:

    • Separation from service.  
    • Assignment to the IRR of a branch of service or to the Inactive National Guard.  
    • This includes members of the U.S. Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps.  
    • Placement on the Temporary Disability Retirement List.  

Eligibility as it relates to members of the reserve components covers specific parameters, such as: 

    • Members of the reserve components who have been assigned to a unit and scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive duty that are creditable for retirement purposes are also covered 365 days of the year and for 120 days following separation or release from duty.  
    • Members of the reserve components who do not qualify for the full-time coverage described above may receive part-time coverage.  
    • Part-time coverage generally applies to members of the reserve components who drill only a few days a year. 
    • You are covered only while on active duty or on active duty for training or traveling to and from such duty. 
    • Members covered part-time do not receive 120 days of free coverage after separation unless they incur or aggravate a disability during a period of duty 

If you want to learn more… click HERE.


Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance 

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) is a program extended to the spouses and dependent children of Service members insured under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.

FSGLI is not available to those insured under Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).

Your spouse may be automatically covered, if eligible. If you are covered under SGLI, Family SGLI coverage is automatic for your spouse if your spouse is not also in the military and dependent children. If your spouse is not automatically covered due to being in the military, you may apply for spousal coverage.

FSGLI is available to spouses and dependent children of the following:  

    • Active-duty Service members covered by full-time SGLI  
    • Members of the National Guard or Ready Reserve of a uniformed service covered by full-time SGLI

If you are covered under SGLI, you are eligible to insure your spouse under FSGLI, regardless of whether your spouse is an active-duty Service member, a Veteran or a civilian.

FSGLI coverage ends 120 days after separation from service.  

    • Spouses may convert their coverage to an individual policy with a participating private insurer at standard premium rates within 120 days from the Service member’s date of separation without any health review. This is a valuable benefit if your spouse has health conditions that may make it difficult to obtain insurance. 
    • Spouses can also convert to an individual policy within 120 days of a divorce, death or termination of coverage.  
    • Dependent child coverage cannot be converted and is not available after the 120-day free period from separation. 

Refer to the list of participating insurance companies by clicking HERE

Eligibility as it relates to members of the reserve components:  

    • You must have full-time SGLI coverage. Coverage for dependent children is automatic with FSGLI. 

To learn more… click HERE.


Veterans’ Group Life Insurance 

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) allows a Service member who separated from service to convert SGLI coverage to renewable term life insurance protection.

You have 1 year and 120 days or 16 months from your date of separation to apply for VGLI.

If you apply for coverage within 240 days* of your date of separation and pay the first premium, you will not be required to prove good health.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible to apply for VGLI if you had SGLI at the time of separation and are within 1 year and 120 days of the following events: 

    • Release from active duty or active duty for training under a call or order to duty that does not specify a period of less than 31 days. 
    • Separation, retirement or release from assignment from the Ready Reserve or National Guard.  Assignment to the IRR of a branch of service or to the Inactive National Guard. 
    • This includes members of the U.S. Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps.  
    • Placement on the Temporary Disability Retirement List. 

You are also eligible to apply for VGLI if you had part-time SGLI and, while performing duty, suffered an injury or disability that rendered you uninsurable at standard premium rates. This includes travel directly to and from duty

To learn more… click HERE.


SGLI Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) 

SGLI Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) provides automatic traumatic injury coverage to all Service members covered under the SGLI program. It provides payments to Service members with severe injuries to help them in their recovery.

TSGLI is not only for combat injuries. It provides insurance coverage for injuries incurred on or off duty. TSGLI payments range from $25,000 to $100,000 based on the qualifying loss suffered.

If you are insured under full-time SGLI, you are automatically covered by TSGLI.

**You are also eligible if you are traumatically injured in service and loss occurs within 2 years of the traumatic event, even if loss occurs after separation from service.

To be eligible for payment of TSGLI, you must meet all the following requirements:  

    • Be insured by SGLI when you experience a traumatic injury (unless traumatic event occurred between Oct. 7, 2001 and Nov. 30, 2005). 
    • Incur a qualifying loss as a direct result of a traumatic injury.  
    • Have suffered the traumatic injury before midnight of the day that you separate from the uniformed services. 
    • Suffer a scheduled loss within 2 years (730 days) of the traumatic injury. 
    • Survive for a period of at least 7 full days from the date of the traumatic injury. 

To learn more… click HERE.


SGLI Disability Extension 

Service members who are disabled and unable to work after separation or have certain statutory disabilities can apply to extend SGLI coverage for up to 2 years after separation at no cost by paying the first VGLI premium. 

You can convert coverage to VGLI at the end of the disability extension period upon payment of premiums. 

To be eligible, you must be totally disabled (unable to maintain gainful employment) at the time of separation from service or have one of the following: 

 Permanent loss of use of:  

    • Both hands  
    • Both feet  
    • Both eyes  
    • One hand and one foot  
    • One foot and one eye  
    • One hand and one eye  
    • Hearing in both ears 
    • Loss of speech, defined as the ability to express yourself through voice or whisper (VA disregards artificial appliances in determining total disability)

To learn more about free extensions of your SGLI coverage… click HERE.


Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance 

Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have service-connected disabilities (even 0%) who are otherwise in good health. S-DVI is available in a variety of permanent plans and as term insurance. S-DVI policies are issued for a maximum amount of $10,000. Veterans covered by S-DVI are eligible to apply for a waiver of premium if they are totally disabled for 6 consecutive months before age 65 due to their service-connected disability or disabilities.

To apply for S-DVI, you must meet the following criteria: 

    • Be released from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions on or after April 25, 1951, AND  
    • Be rated for a service-connected disability (even if only 0%), AND  
    • Be in good health except for any service-connected conditions, AND  
    • Apply within 2 years from the date VA grants a new service-connected disability 

NOTE: An increase in an existing service-connected disability or the granting of Individual Unemployability of a previously rated condition does not make a Veteran eligible for this insurance.

To learn more… click HERE or call the VA Life Insurance Center: 1-800-669-8477


Supplemental S-DVI 

Under certain conditions, the basic S-DVI policy provides for a waiver of premiums in case of total disability. Policyholders who carry the basic S-DVI coverage and who become eligible for a waiver of premiums due to total disability can apply for and be granted Supplemental S-DVI of up to $30,000. Premiums may not be waived on this supplemental coverage. You must apply for Supplemental S-DVI coverage within 1 year from notice of the grant of waiver of premiums and be under the age of 65.  

S‐DVI policyholders are eligible for supplemental coverage if they:  

    • Are eligible for a waiver of premiums, AND  
    • Apply for coverage by December 31, 2022 or within 1 year from notice of grant of waiver, AND 
    • Are under age 65 


Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance 

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is mortgage protection insurance that can help families of severely disabled Service members or Veterans pay off their home mortgage in the event of the Service member’s or Veteran’s death.

VMLI is payable only to the mortgage lender, not to a beneficiary. Premiums for VMLI are based on age, amount of the mortgage and length of the mortgage.

To obtain a premium estimate, visit our VMLI premium calculator.

VMLI is available only to Service members and Veterans with severe service-connected disabilities who have: 

    • A Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) or a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to help build, remodel or purchase a home, AND 
    • The title to the home, AND  
    • A mortgage on the home 

**Veterans must apply for VMLI before their 70th birthday.

To learn more… click HERE.


If you have additional or specific questions about Life Insurance Benefits, it is best to contact a representative at:

 VA BENEFITS HOTLINE 1-800-827-1000


Call the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance for questions about SGLI, Family SGLI, TSGLI or VGLI: 



For all other programs, call: 


**All of this information has been taken from the VA Transition Guide . We have broken down the information into much easier pieces for you to navigate..**

Want to learn more useful tips for the return to civilian life? Read more HERE.

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