SGLI Disability Extension
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a low-cost life insurance program for military members. The federal government purchases group life insurance from a civilian company with coverage offered in $50 thousand increments with a maximum benefit of $400 thousand.
SGLI has multiple programs, including SGLI Traumatic Injury Protection, Veterans Group Life Insurance, and something known as the SGLI Disability Extension which is offered to qualifying service members who are separating from military service and need an extension of their SGLI coverage due to qualifying disabilities.
Read more: Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
How the SGLI Disability Extension Works
The government site Beneftis.gov describes the program as follows:
“The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Disability Extension is for service members who carried SGLI and were totally disabled at the time of discharge. The benefit allows members to retain their SGLI coverage for up to two years after discharge at no cost to them.”
What does “totally disabled” mean in this context? The official site says the disability must prevent the applicant from being employed. Some may qualify, regardless of employment, if they have one of the following conditions below.
Loss or loss of use of:
- Both hands
- One foot and one eye
- Both eyes
- One hand and one foot
- Both feet
- One hand and one eye
Organic loss of speech: the veteran has lost the ability to speak and whisper. Those who must speak with a prosthetic or appliance may also qualify.
Total loss of hearing in both ears: the criteria for “total loss” may or may not include provisions similar to the requirements for organic loss of speech (see above) when it comes to assistive technology. Those who use hearing aids or who have cochlear implants may need to discuss their condition with an SGLI rep to determine what is possible.
How To Apply for SGLI Disability Extension Coverage
You should apply for this coverage within 120 days of your date of discharge. Do not delay; you may be required to take additional steps to qualify for insurance coverage if you don’t apply during this timeframe (see below.)
To apply, gather the following documents before filling out any forms:
- Proof of SGLI coverage
- Proof of discharge such as a DD Form 214 or equivalent
- Your last Leave and Earnings statement (LES)
- A VA disability determination letter (where applicable)
- Any military medical review board disability decision
Once you have all these documents, complete form SGLV 8715 and submit it to:
P.O. Box 7208
Philadelphia PA 19101
What Happens After You Are Approved For SGLI Disability Extension Coverage
If you are approved for the SGLI Disability Extension, you will receive a letter showing proof of coverage, and you will receive SGLI coverage for two years from the date of discharge, “or until you are able to work, whichever comes first” according to the federal government.
What Happens If You Are Denied SGLI Disability Extension Coverage
In cases where an application for this program is denied, your application is “automatically” considered as an application for another program called Veterans’ Group Life Insurance or VGLI.
If you do not apply for SGLI Disability Extension coverage within 120 days of your military discharge date, you may be required to prove you are in “good health” to be considered for VGLI. If you DO apply within the 120-day window and are not approved for Disability Extension Coverage, you won’t be required to prove you are in good health if you must use VGLI instead.
After The SGLI Extension Ends
The SGLI Disability Extension is good for two years. After it expires, you may qualify for coverage under VGLI. The federal government converts your policy to, “an affordable term policy that is renewable for life. You will not have to apply separately, as this application will also be considered an application for VGLI” according to Benefits.gov.
Those who opt into VGLI after the extension ends will have a VGLI “effective date” starting the day after SGLI coverage stops.
Read more: Who Qualifies for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance?
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.