Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a term life insurance policy option offered to those who were enrolled in Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) while serving in uniform. VGLI is offered to retiring and separating military members as replacement coverage.
You don’t have to transition into civilian life without life insurance coverage, and VGLI allows you to continue life insurance with no gaps in protection.
Basic VGLI Benefits
- Lifetime coverage as long as premiums continue to be paid by the veteran
- No medical questions if you apply within 240 days of your date of separation
- No exclusions “for reasons related to mental health, PTSD, or TBI” if you apply within 240 days of separation
- No exclusions based on occupation or other risk factors
- Standard premium rates regardless of gender, smoker status, etc.
- Ability to increase coverage every five years up to $400,000
- Ability to convert VGLI to a civilian policy if desired
Who Qualifies For VGLI
Those who meet at least one of the conditions described below may be eligible to apply for VGLI coverage:
- The veteran had SGLI while in the military and is within one year and 120 days of being released from an active-duty period of 31 or more days
- The servicemember carried part-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance as a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and suffered an injury or disability while on duty—including direct traveling to and from duty—that disqualifies the veteran for standard premium insurance rates
- The servicemember is within a year and 120 days of retiring or being released from the Ready Reserves or National Guard
- The servicemember is within a year and 120 days of assignment to the Individual Ready Reserves, or to the Inactive National Guard, or are members of the United States Public Health Service Inactive Reserve Corps
- The servicemember is within a year and 120 days of being put on the Temporary Disability Retirement List
VGLI does not feature an open-ended enrollment option–you have a limited time to sign up. Your “window of opportunity” to get this post-military life insurance coverage is one year and 120 days from your official date of separation from military service.
This sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t want to delay, and for one very good reason.
If you apply for VGLI no later than 240 days from your date of separation, you are not required to answer health questions to be approved for this life insurance.
Why is this important? The VA official site advises, “If you sign up within 240 days of leaving the military, you won’t need to prove you’re in good health. If you sign up after the 240-day period, you’ll need to submit evidence that you’re in good health.”
If you have health problems in any of the following areas, the Department of Veterans Affairs official site advises that it may be impossible to get private life insurance coverage at standard rates–another reason why signing up within the 240 day period is critical.
The list below is an incomplete collection of conditions that may make it difficult to obtain coverage outside the 240-day signup period for VGLI:
- Autoimmune conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, chronic fatigue syndrome
- Blood disorders including aplastic and sickle cell anemia
- Heart conditions
- Liver and kidney diseases
- Mental health conditions like PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, TBI
- Respiratory conditions such as severe asthma/bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema
- “Other conditions” including severe Lyme disease, thyroid conditions, and ulcers
This is NOT to be considered an exhaustive list.
How To Enroll In VGLI
- Apply for VGLI through the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI), via the Prudential website
- Apply online through the VA eBenefits portal
- Apply by mail or fax using the Application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (SGLV 8714)
- You can fax the form to 800-236-6142, or mail it to
PO Box 41618
Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913
VGLI Coverage Amounts
VGLI coverages are similar to the SGLI options servicemembers are offered when they sign up upon entry into military service. You can get coverage amounts from $10,000 to $400,000 in life insurance benefits. VGLI policies are based on the amount of SGLI coverage you had when you retired or separated.
When you sign up for VGLI you have the option to increase your coverage over time–you can increase coverage by $25,000 every five years until you reach the maximum of $400,000. You have this option until you reach age 60.
You also have the ability to increase VLGI coverage on a one-time basis at the one-year anniversary of your VGLI plan. At this time you can increase coverage by $25,000.
VGLI Coverage Dates And Payment Amounts
Your VGLI is a lifetime plan. You continue to be covered as long as you continue to make the payments on your life insurance premiums. Your VGLI payments are calculated based on age and the amount of coverage you receive.
Filing A VGLI Claim
- Complete SGLV 8283
- Return SGLV 8283 (and include a death certificate) to the Office of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance
- Call 800-419-1473 for further help
Converting VGLI To A Civilian Policy
The VA official site reminds veterans it’s possible to convert a VGLI policy into a commercial policy at any time. This conversion is done, according to the VA, “at standard premium rates, without having to provide proof that you’re in good health”.
You will need to select a new life insurance company–the VA provides a list of companies that work with the VA–and apply at the local sales office of the life insurance company you choose.
Before you go, you’ll need to get a VGLI conversion notice from the Department of Veterans Affairs OSGLI office–the civilian life insurance agent will require this notice. Call the VA for more information on obtaining this letter by calling 1-800-827-1000.