Military SGLI Life Insurance Claims for Death Benefits: What Beneficiaries Must Know to About Denied or Delayed Cases

If there was SGLI coverage in place at the time of a loved one’s death, it may be used to cover the many financial obligations arising out of the untimely passing of the family member. However, not every SGLI claim is paid out smoothly. Some claims are delayed for weeks and months, while others are straight out denied. Either way, it’s important not to give up.

SGLI laws are complex and can confuse beneficiaries as to their rights, but a wrongful delay of an SGLI can be expedited or appealed, while a denied SGLI claim can be reversed on appeal. However, you need the advice of a life insurance attorney specializing in the field of SGLI laws.

If your claim has been denied or delayed, we can review your case and provide you with several solutions. Our SGLI lawyers are professionals in the field of life insurance law who work with SGLI beneficiaries and servicemembers’ families to recover the SGLI benefits to which they are entitled under the law. 

If you or someone you know has issues with a denied or delayed SGLI claim, call us at 888-510-2212 for a free consultation.

Below we will address some of the most frequent legal questions we get from beneficiaries who are in need of help with their denied or delayed SGLI claims:

SGLI Death Benefits Claims FAQ

Denied SGLI Claims

There are many reasons an SGLI claim may be denied. Every case is different and the circumstances surrounding each SGLI claim denial are unique. But a denied SGLI claim may be disputed and denied SGLI benefits may be recovered through litigation.

The most common reasons for a denied SGLI claim are:

  • Denial due to ineligibility for SGLI coverage;
  • Denial due to an SGLI beneficiary dispute;
  • Denial due to an SGLI beneficiary contest;
  • Denial due to no beneficiary designation on record;
  • Denial due to inactive duty of the insured at the time of death;
  • Denial due to the AWOL status of the insured at the time of death;
  • Denial due to a reduction in coverage;
  • A part of an SGLI claim has been denied due to incorrect beneficiary changes;
  • Denial due to incorrect SGLI form submission;
  • Denial due to failure to convert to VGLI coverage;
  • Denial due to the SGLI insured’s failure to convert to a commercial policy upon release;
  • Denial due to non-payment of SGLI premiums.
  • Denial due to Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) status at the time of death;
  • Denial due to confinement at the time of death;
  • Denial due to refusal to serve due to conscientious objector status at the time of death;
  • Denial due to conviction of serious crimes;
  • Denial due to error in marital status;
  • Denial due to clerical error.

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. We have extensive experience in appeals procedure and litigation of SGLI cases and have helped many people who have had their SGLI benefits denied for all the reasons listed above.

Call 888-510-2212 for a free consultation.

Delayed SGLI Claims

An SGLI claim is considered delayed if it is not paid after all claim forms and proof of death have been submitted to the insurance company. A delayed SGLI claim may be eventually paid or it may be denied. 

The most common reasons why and when SGLI life insurance claims are delayed are:

  • Delay due to beneficiary dispute;
  • Delay due to no beneficiary designation;
  • Delay due to incorrect form submission;
  • Delay in receiving information from the military; 

Generally, if a claim is delayed, it means that there are issues that need to be resolved before a payment can be made to the right individual. Your chances of recovering a delayed SGLI claim depend on the reasons behind the claim delay and the specifics of your case. 

To avoid an unfair delay of SGLI benefits, please consult with one of our attorneys. The SGLI lawyers at our firm can work with you to evaluate your case and help you expedite the payment on the delayed SGLI claim. They have successfully handled all the situations above for SGLI life insurance beneficiaries.

To speak to one of our SGLI attorneys, call 888-510-2212 to get a free evaluation of your case.

SGLI and Divorce

SGLI claims are ruled by federal laws with preempt any conflicting state law or regulations. Such laws state that SGLI benefits are paid only to the beneficiary named on the SGLI beneficiary designation form. For example, SGLI laws trump divorce decrees that would require the insured veteran to leave the SGLI benefits to the former spouse and/or their children.

Certainly, each case is different and you may still recover the benefits with the help of an SGLI lawyer. We have vast experience in handling disputes involving SGLI benefits in divorce and can help you understand if your legal rights over SGLI proceeds.

Read more about SGLI and divorce cases and an ex-spouse’s rights to SGLI death benefits.

Call 888-512-2212 to get a free consultation with one of our SGLI attorneys. 

What Is SGLI Coverage and How Does It Work?

SGLI coverage stands for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and it’s a VA program that provides low-cost group life insurance to military members. 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 Eligibility Requirements

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  that have been assigned to a unit where they will perform at least 12 periods of inactive training per year;
  • Servicemembers who volunteers for a mobilization category in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

Can SGLI Coverage Be Forfeited?

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.

Army SGLI Payout: How Much Are SGLI Death Benefits?

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.

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 After Retirement

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.

Servicemembers covered under SGLI are also covered under Servicemembers’ Traumatic Group Life Insurance (TSGLI).

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

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.

SGLI Beneficiary Designation Rules 

Servicemembers can choose their SGLI beneficiaries. In case there’s no individual listed as a beneficiary, the payout will go to the widow or widower of the deceased member, then to the children, parents, executor of the estate, and, finally, to other next of kin. 

Read more about who receives the death benefits when no beneficiary is designated and learn what you should do when your SGLI claim is delayed due to a beneficiary dispute.

SGLI spouse’s rights to claim SGLI life insurance benefits

If you’re a surviving spouse, you are not automatically entitled to SGLI proceeds unless you are designated as the primary beneficiary. You will be notified if you’re not.

Read more about a spouse’s rights to army SGLI benefits.

MIlitary SGLI Coverage Exclusions: What Does SGLI Cover?

SGLI life insurance is quite different than other policies, which is why many questions arise as to what SGLI covers. Here are the most common concerns people have in this matter:

Military SGLI v. Private life insurance policy

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

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?

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.

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

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.

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

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

Does SGLI cover off-duty death?

In some cases, part-time coverage is available to off-duty members. 

Consult With an SGLI Lawyer to If Your Claim Has Been Denied or Delayed. We Can Make Sure You Recover The Benefits You’re Entitled To!

SGLI is complex and handling a denied or delayed claim should not be a do-it-yourself project. With the help of an SGLI attorney, your chances of collecting a delayed or denied SGLI benefits are much higher. 

At Kadetskaya Law Firm, we offer free consultations. If your claim has been denied or delayed, we can review your case and provide you with several solutions. To avoid an unfair denial or delay of SGLI benefits, please consult with one of our attorneys.

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.

Call 888-512-2212 to get a free consultation with one of our SGLI lawyers.