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Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Conversion to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
If there is one benefit that is overlooked and unappreciated in the transition from military to civilian life is the servicemember’s Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and the conversion to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI).

 

Our discussion will be product neutral and conflict free. Our discussion is limited to a Financial Planning viewpoint and how the cost impacts the 12-month post separation spending plan budget. Servicemembers seeking detail information and guidance should consult the Veteran Administration counselors and the VA website.


Insurance Is Topic You Should Not Avoid

  • Life Insurance is not for people who die. It is for the loved ones…the dependents they leave behind. No one really wants to think about life insurance. But if someone depends on you financially, it’s a topic you can’t avoid. In the event of a tragedy, life insurance proceeds can:

  • Pay for funeral costs

  • Help pay the bills and meet ongoing living expenses 

  • Pay off outstanding debt, including credit cards and mortgage 

  • Continue a family business

  • Finance future needs like your children’s education

  • Protect a spouse’s retirement plans

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) 
Very much like a fire extinguisher, you purchased your SGLI insurance and place it in a drawer corner and forgot about it. Let’s pull it out and look at it again…likely for the first time.

 

  • SGLI is a program that provides low-cost term life insurance coverage to eligible Servicemembers.

  • SGLI  coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000. Covered members receive 120 days of free coverage from their date of separation. Coverage can be extended for up to two years if the Servicemember is totally disabled at separation. Part-time coverage is also provided to Reserve members who do not qualify for full-time coverage. Servicemembers covered part-time do not receive 120 days of free coverage.

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
(VGLI provides you with a solid foundation of life insurance coverage. With VGLI, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be protected should the unexpected happen. 


Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)  is a program that allows you to continue life insurance coverage after you separate from service. VGLI provides lifetime coverage as long as you pay the premiums. You may convert a maximum amount of coverage that is equal to the amount of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage you had when you separated from service. Lesser amounts of coverage are also available in increments of $10,000.


Converting SGLI to VGLI
Servicemembers can convert SGLI to VGLI within one year and 120 days from discharge. If you have medical conditions that may make you uninsurable, you should protect yourself and apply within 240 days from separation because there is no health review during this period.  

 
Medical Conditions That May Make You Uninsurable*

  • Autoimmune Conditions (includes lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, chronic fatigue syndrome)

  • Blood disorders (includes aplastic and sickle cell anemia)

  • Cancers (active and often even in remission)**

  • Diabetes

  • Heart Conditions (includes uncontrolled sleep apnea, transplants, hypertension, bypass surgery, heart failure)

  • HIV/AIDS

  • Liver and Kidney Diseases

  • Mental Health Conditions (includes PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression)

  • Neurological Conditions (includes multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, TBI)

  • Respiratory Conditions (includes severe asthma/bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema)

  • Other Conditions (includes severe Lyme disease, thyroid conditions, and ulcers)

*This list is not intended to be all-inclusive and should only be used as a general guide.  Only a formal underwriting review by a private insurance carrier can determine your insurability.


Again…If SGLI is converted to VGLI within 240 days of discharge do not need to submit evidence of good health. This is extremely important to servicemember’s under Medical and Physical Evaluation Boards (MEB/PEB) and Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) reviews. 


The following is a chart of selected VGLI Rates.  

Selected VGLI Premium Rates:
Amount of Insurance: $400,000
•    Age 29 & Below: $32
•    Age 30-34: $40
•    Age 35-39: $52
•    Age 40-44: $68
•    Age 45-49: $88
•    Age 50-54: $144
•    Age 55-59: $268
•    Age 60-64: $432
•    Age 65-69: $600
•    Age 70-74: $920
•    Age 75 & Over: $1,840


Consider the following examples using the rates shown above:


Servicemember age 31 converted $400,000 to VGLI for $40 a month. The rate will change in five years. Two years from now, he gets married and buys a $390,000 house. He already has insurance to cover this increased liability. His health has declined. They saw the insurance rates the lender proposed and were not happy. The good news…The life insurance is already in place…at affordable rates.

 
Servicemember is retiring. He does not want to convert $400,000 at age 48. He has non-military life insurance for himself and the family. So, he converts $200,000 of his SGLI at $44 a month.

 

See Expanded Detailed VGLI Rate Charts


Additional Conversion Tips 
Once enrolled in VGLI, you will have the opportunity to increase your coverage by $25,000 every five years up to the legislated maximum of $400,000, until age 60. 


Converting SGLI to Commercial Policy – No Medical Questions/Exams needed to convert coverage to an individual policy of insurance within 120 days from date of separation from military. (DD214 required) If changes to SGLI Coverage before leaving: Submit the SGLI form SGLV 8286 to Personnel Support Office


Changes to SGLI Coverage POST- SEPARATION: Download and complete SGLV 8714, Application for Veterans' Group Life Insurance and mail it to the Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance


Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) 
Spouses can convert FSGLI/Spousal policy to commercial policy   at the authorized  insurance company’s standard premium rates or better within 120 days from the date of the Servicemember's separation from the military without having to provide proof of good health. The conversion policy must be a permanent policy, such as whole life insurance policy or universal life insurance. It cannot be term insurance. 


Authorized Insurance Companies

Important Note: Authorized Companies can and do change. 


How to Apply

  1. Apply through eBenefits

  2. Download and complete SGLV 8714, Application for Veterans' Group Life Insurance and mail it to the Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance

Terminally Ill Policyholders
There is a powerful feature can unlock cash and it is tucked away in your SGLI and VGLI policy. It is called the ‘Accelerated Benefit Option.’ It literally gives the terminally-ill servicemember access to the death benefits of their policies before they die. The member may receive a portion of the face value of the insurance in a lump sum payment. A servicemember is eligible to receive an Accelerated Benefit if he/she or a covered spouse has a valid written prognosis from a physician that states that the insured has 9 months or less to live. Only the insured member may apply for an Accelerated Benefit. No one else can apply on the member's behalf. In the case of a terminally ill spouse, only the member may apply for accelerated benefits. The servicemember becomes eligible to take up to 50% of the VGLI coverage. Example: Servicemember notifies the insurance company and process the proper paperwork. The servicemember gets a check or direct deposit for $200,000 as the total coverage was $400.000.


The remaining portion of the face value of insurance which is not paid in a lump sum as an accelerated benefit is payable to the member's designated beneficiary or beneficiaries upon his or her death. In the case of a terminally ill spouse, the remainder of the insurance is payable to the member upon the spouse's death.


7 Point Summary

  1. Lifetime Coverage: Once obtained, you can keep your coverage for your entire life regardless of changes to your health or job status, as long as premiums are paid.

  2. No Proof of Good Health Required: Apply within 240 days of your date of separation and no health questions are asked. If you apply after 240 days from your date of separation, you will need to answer health questions.

  3. Standard Premium Rates: Premium rates are based on age and coverage amount only. Rates are the same regardless of gender or tobacco use.

  4. Coverage Increase Option: You can increase your coverage by $25,000 every five years up to the legislated maximum of $400,000, until age 60. No proof of good health is required.

  5. Conversion Option: You have the option to convert your coverage to an individual insurance policy at any time.

  6. Accelerated Benefits Option: You can receive up to 50% of your VGLI benefit while still living, if you have a written prognosis from a doctor of nine months or less to live. You can use these funds for any reason including paying off debt, traveling, or setting up an education fund.

  7. Beneficiary Financial Counseling Service: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes financial planning available at no cost to your beneficiaries after they receive their benefit. This service can help them make the most of the funds they’ve received. They’ll also have access to an online will preparation service at no cost.