Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

In 2005, the maximum amount of the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) increased from $250,000 to $400,000. A service member is enrolled for the maximum amount unless the service member explicitly declines the insurance or purchases lower levels of coverage. There is an increased premium for the increased amount. The Department of Defense pays the premium cost of the maximum amount of SGLI while a service member is serving in a combat operation or combat zone.

SGLI will be paid to the individual designated on the service member SGLI election and certificate form. If no beneficiary is elected by the service member, the proceeds are by law paid first to the surviving spouse; if none, the child(ren) (natural, adopted or illegitimate) in equal shares; if none, to the parents (natural or adopted). P.L.109-163 expanded the payment of a "special death gratuity to survivors of all active duty deaths that occurred after October 7, 2001 and prior to the SGLI increase from $250,000 to $400,000. They will receive the additional $150,000 SGLI payment as well as the increased death gratuity. If the service member had not elected SGLI, the $150,000 will be paid in equal shares according to the precedence established in law.

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