Members of the military are covered by life insurance under a program called the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, or SGLI. SGLI is available to those on active duty as well as in the reserves. This life insurance is purchased by the government from a private insurer, such as Metlife or Prudential, and is partially subsidized by the government. SGLI is administered by the VA’s Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI). Service members are automatically insured for up to $400,000. Part of the premium for SGLI is deducted from the insured’s paycheck. Usually, insurability is guaranteed to applicants when they are first given the opportunity to elect SGLI.

Who Is Eligible For SGLI?

SGLI covers the following groups:

  • Active duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard
  • Commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS);
  • Cadets or midshipmen of the U.S. military academies;
  • Members, cadets, or midshipmen of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) engaged in authorized training and practice cruises;
  • Members of the Ready Reserve or National Guard scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year;
  • Servicemembers who volunteers for a mobilization category in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

On November 1, 2001, SGLI coverage was extended and now includes insurable dependents, including spouses and all unmarried children under the age of 18, plus those over 18 but younger than 23 who attend an approved educational institution. A spouse is eligible for up to $100,000 of coverage or for the same level as the military member’s SGLI if coverage is less than $100,000. Every dependent child of the military member is eligible for $10,000 of coverage. SGLI coverage remains in effect for 120 days after the service member’s separation or release from duty. At the end of this period, veterans can elect to convert their policy to the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program.

Has Your SGLI Claim Been Denied?

The insurer may deny an SGLI claim for various reasons including:

  • Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) status at the time of death;
  • Confinement at the time of death;
  • Refusal to serve due to conscientious objector status at the time of death;
  • Conviction of serious crimes;
  • Error in beneficiary designation;
  • Error in marital status;
  • Clerical error.

A wrongful denial of an SGLI claim can be reversed on appeal. At Kadetskaya Law Firm, we offer free consultations on denied SGLI claims. If your claim has been denied or delayed, we can review your case and provide you with several solutions. Many denials are based on clerical mistakes that can be identified during an investigation. Others, however, may be more complex, especially if they involve an AWOL status, where the intent of the insured may be at issue. To avoid an unfair denial of SGLI benefits, please consult with one of our attorneys.

SGLI v. Private Life Insurance Policy

Private insurers often market their life insurance policies to service members.

While SGLI covers service members who die while on active duty, many individual life insurance policies exclude payments for “death from war or terrorism.” If a service member who purchased a private insurance policy is unaware of this exclusion, he may risk not being covered if he dies while on active duty. The death-from-war exclusion cannot be added to the contract after the coverage was purchased. If a claim has been denied, discuss your options with an experienced life insurance attorney who will review the contract that was issued to the insured at the time of the purchase to ensure no exclusions were added after the policy went into effect.

At Kadetskaya Law Firm, we help service members’ families recover life insurance proceeds to which they are entitled. Call us now for a free consultation.


Q:        Can SGLI coverage be forfeited?

A:         Yes. The SGLI coverage may be forfeited if an insured servicemember is convicted of such crimes as mutiny, treason, spying, and desertion. It may also be forfeited if an insured refuses to perform service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or refuses to wear the uniform of such force.  This includes refusal to perform service due to conscientious beliefs.

 Q:        Are SGLI benefits payable if an insured member dies in a no-go or a black-zoned area?

A:         Yes. Beneficiaries of an insured member who dies in a no-go or a black-zoned area will receive SGLI benefits provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

 Q:        Are there war exclusions that apply to SGLI policies?

 A:         No.  Unlike commercial life insurance policies that do not cover deaths resulting from war or terrorism, SGLI policies do not have such exclusions.

Q:        Is SGLI coverage available to Reservists/National Guard members?

 A:         Yes. SGLI is available to Reservists and National Guard members that have been assigned to a unit where they will perform a minimum of 12 periods of inactive duty.

 Q:        Some life insurance policies do not pay when an insured died in a motor vehicle accident and was not wearing a seatbelt. Will SGLI benefits be available in such cases?

 A:         Yes. SGLI is different from commercial life insurance policies in that it will still pay benefits to beneficiaries of an insured who passed away in a car accident and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of death.

Q:        If a servicemember was injured and received a TSGLI payment, will his/her SGLI benefits be reduced by the TSGLI amount?

A:         No. TSGLI, The Traumatic Injury Protection Under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (TSGLI) program, is a rider to SGLI that offers compensation to Servicemembers who have been seriously injured as the result of a traumatic event and suffered a qualified loss. Payment of TSGLI benefits will not affect the amount of SGLI coverage a servicemember has.

 Q:        Will SGLI benefits be available if an insured member dies wearing privately purchased body armor/helmet?

 A:         Yes. Wearing special protection armor is not a requirement for an SGLI claim to be paid.


No Legal Fees Unless We Win Your Case!

Our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. It means that we do not charge legal fees unless we collect the life insurance proceeds for you. Only then will we charge a reasonable legal fee. We take pride in offering competitive contingent fee structures and will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the fee.  If your claim has been denied or delayed, call our life insurance lawyers for help. We have the experience you can trust.