Exploring the options service members have for coverage.
Veterans and service members who will soon become veterans, have distinct lifestyles and unique needs. One thing they may consider as they re-acclimate to their life off-duty is getting life insurance. But due to the overwhelming amount of information, or lack thereof, they may be unaware of coverage that’s available to them and what the right amount of coverage is.
The situation isn’t hopeless, it’s just a matter of understanding what works best for each person and their family. So let’s look at the different options out there and find out what life insurance is available for veterans.
- What are the life insurance options for veterans?
- Information regarding post-traumatic stress disorder
- Other medical issues veterans may face
- Why it’s important for veterans to have life insurance
What are the life insurance options for veterans?
The U.S. government’s Department of Veteran Affairs has a subset specifically catering to benefits, called The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), that handles a variety of services offered to service members, veterans, and their families. This includes assistance for compensation, pension, education, and much more. Another one of the benefits offered is life insurance, that’s usually bucketed into three major categories.
Disabled Veterans Insurance Programs: These provide coverage and services to veterans who lose their ability to purchase commercial insurance at standard healthy rates because of their service-connected disabilities. These programs continue to issue coverage and include Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI), and Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI).
Uniformed Services and Post-Vietnam Veterans: These provide current and former active duty and reserve members of the uniformed services with insurance coverage and services that civilian employers commonly provide. These programs include Service-members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI), Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI), and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). All Service-members who have SGLI are automatically covered under TSGLI.
Closed Life Insurance Programs: While these programs are no longer available and no longer issue new coverage, active policies continue. These programs include National Service Life Insurance (NSLI), United States Government Life Insurance (USGLI), Veterans’ Special Life Insurance (VSLI), and Veterans’ Reopened Insurance (VRI).
To read and research more about the specific programs under each bucket, veterans and service members can visit the official website here.
Trigger warning for the information discussed below.
Information regarding post-traumatic stress disorder
When veterans are no longer on active duty, they may come home and have to deal with a number of issues that require support from loved ones, and our society at large.
One of the biggest issues is post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, active members of the military may have been exposed to terrible, life-threatening experiences that can affect the way those experiences are internalized, possibly leading to PTSD. The number of veterans with PTSD varies by service era:
- Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
- Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War veterans have PTSD in a given year.
- Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam veterans were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, by the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
In addition to the aforementioned, there is the possibility a veteran faced MST or military sexual trauma. This is any sexual harassment or sexual assault that happens while a service member is in the military. MST can happen to both men and women and can happen during times of peace, training, or war. Even though MST is more common in women, over half of all veterans with military sexual trauma are men.
- 23% of women reported sexual assault when in the military.
- 55% of women and 38% of men have experienced sexual harassment when in the military.
Other medical issues veterans may face
While PTSD is a major issue, other medical issues can also lead veterans to seek health care and also look for a life insurance policy. Some other medical ailments from their time on duty may include:
- Lost motor skills
- Lost limbs
- Brain injuries
- Substance abuse
When looking for life insurance coverage, you may be asked to answer medical questions, so it’s important to be as truthful and transparent as possible to get the best policy available.
Why it’s important for veterans to have life insurance
While veterans and service members do face a very specific type of life circumstances, on and off duty, it’s essential to have a plan in place to take care of your family should the worst happen. While the options may seem overwhelming, taking time to comb through the available choices is the best way to get the coverage you need. It’s also important to have clear communication with your family, so everyone is on the same page and understands the type of coverage you’re looking for. You defended us. Now it’s time to set up you and your family for success.