SGLI offers servicemembers low-cost coverage

By Maj. Tabitha Stump: Air and Space Expeditionary Force Casualty Matters

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Having insurance is always good and not spending a lot on the coverage is even better. So, getting $100,000 in traumatic injury life insurance coverage for $1 is great.

The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection program rider provides for payment to service members who are severely injured, on or off duty, and suffer a loss as the result of a traumatic event.

When service members purchase SGLI, in any amount, $1 of the premium ensures their eligibility for $100,000 in TSGLI coverage. This coverage applies to active duty members, reservists and National Guard members. Funeral honors duty and one-day muster duty also are included.

Coverage became automatic Dec. 1, 2005, ensuring every member with SGLI also has TSGLI.

TSGLI payments are designed to help traumatically-injured service members and their families with financial burdens associated with recovering from a severe injury. Payments range from $25,000 to $100,000 based on the qualifying loss suffered.

For example, if a service member is hospitalized for 15 consecutive days after a traumatic injury and the service member has basic SGLI coverage, compensation is $25,000. If four fingers on the same hand are lost due to a traumatic injury, the service member can receive $50,000. If sight in both eyes or hearing in both ears is lost due to a traumatic injury, compensation is $100,000.

It is important to note that this benefit is not the same as VA compensation for service-connected disabilities. VA compensation for a traumatic injury doesn’t automatically qualify the service member to receive TSGLI compensation.

The TSGLI benefit also is provided retroactively for members who incurred severe losses as a result of a traumatic injury from Oct. 7, 2001, to Nov. 30, 2005, if the loss was the direct result of injuries incurred in support of operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom.

There are certain injuries and conditions that are excluded from coverage. By law, TSGLI does not cover mental or physical illnesses or diseases, such as post traumatic stress disorder.

For more information or to determine eligibility, service members should contact their installation casualty assistance representative or go to the VA website on TSGLI benefits, http://www.insurance.va.gov/sglisite/tsgli/tsgli.htm. Installation CARs can facilitate the claim submission process.