What is Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)?
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is available for former Armed Forces members who wish to continue their group life insurance while serving on active duty. The insurance is a renewable term policy that pays cash to the beneficiary upon the death of the veteran.
- Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a term policy for former military personnel to continue their group coverage while on active duty.
- Veterans have one year and 120 days from the date of separation to exercise this option.
- VGLI provides life insurance benefits of $10,000 to $400,000, depending on the amount insured when the veteran leaves the military.
- Other benefits of VGLI include low premiums and not requiring a qualifying health check (if coverage is selected within a certain time frame).
Understanding Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
By opting for Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI), veterans can technically inherit their Veterans Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy, which is a term life insurance provided to military members while on active duty. They have one year and 120 days from the date of becoming a veteran to exercise this option.
Veterans group life insurance offers many benefits not available in the private life insurance market. Premium rates are based solely on age and do not take into account gender, tobacco use, work or recreational activity – all factors that can increase private insurance premiums. Also, the policy does not end at a specific age (like 65); it remains in effect as long as the policyholder pays the premium.
VGLI provides life insurance benefits ranging from $10,000 to $400,000, depending on the amount of SGLI coverage when the veteran leaves the military. Veterans may initially be eligible for the same maximum coverage that they would have under military group life insurance.
Veterans may opt for a lower level of coverage, reduced in $10,000 increments. After enrollment, coverage can also increase by $25,000 every five years. However, until the veteran reaches age 60, the maximum benefit is capped at $400,000.
Eligibility for Veterans Group Life Insurance
Veterans who want to apply to the VGLI have certain eligibility requirements. In addition to holding an SGLI policy, applicants must, within one year and 120 days:
- Release from active duty, training, or order in 31 days or less
- Separation from Reserve or National Guard duty due to retirement or release
- Allocate Individual Reserve Funds (IRR) or Inactive Duty National Guard (ING) (Members of the U.S. Public Health Service Inactive Duty Reserve (IRC) are also included in this section.)
- Be on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)
Veterans can also apply for VGLI coverage even if they have part-time military group life insurance (as a member of the National Guard or Reserve) and they are injured or disabled while on duty – including direct travel to and from duty – which makes them forfeit their standard premium coverage Eligibility for rates.
Health Requirements for VGLI
Veterans who apply to convert their SGLI to VGLI within the first 240 days of service are not required to undergo any form of health screening or examination. In other words, approval of the policy does not depend on good physical or mental health. If they register after the initial 240-day period, they will need to submit evidence that they are in good health.
To help veterans who may need more time to apply after retirement, the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) has extended the deadline to apply for the VGLI.
Until December 11, 2021, you can:
- Apply without a health review to provide proof of physical health up to 330 days after you leave your job. The VA increased this number of days by 90 days from the standard 240 days.
- A health review on your application to provide up to one year and 210 days after you leave your employment. The VA increased this number of days by 90 days from the standard term of one year and 120 days.
special attention items
VGLI offers numerous benefits, chief among which is its relatively low premium rates (further reduced from 1 April 2021). Still, as with most types of life insurance, every veteran must compare potential plans to determine the best life insurance policy for their unique situation.
Within 120 days of leaving your job, you can choose to convert your current SGLI policy to a civilian policy. Some commercial insurers have special policies for former members of the armed forces.
You can also convert a VGLI policy to a commercial personal policy. However, the switching policy must be a permanent policy, such as a whole life policy, and offered by a select group of carriers.