The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs have not kept up with inflation. The current coverage for both is $400,000 and has not been updated since 2005. With soaring inflation, it is time for SGLI and VGLI to catch up: The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act will increase this important coverage to $500,000.
If the round number increase causes you concern, as it does for most military planners and budget programmers, your instincts are correct. For perspective, this U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator indicates that $400,000 in January 2005, when accounting for inflation, would be worth approximately $575,000 in September 2021. Although this legislation will fall short of a complete adjustment for inflation, getting lawmakers to make this adjustment is important progress and could lead to further legislation requiring automatic adjustments.
“The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act is long overdue and will authorize Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) to catch up with inflation,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), president and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America. “This legislation is ultimately about supporting the families of servicemembers, and MOAA looks forward to growing bipartisan support for this important modernization of life insurance.”
Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.) introduced this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3793) in the House, along with Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). All are members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Veterans and active duty servicemembers across the country should rest assured that if anything happens to them, their families will be supported,” Roy said. “That is why as the representative for thousands of military and veterans families … I introduced the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act to update the decades-old life insurance policy and give families across the country peace of mind.”
Levin said the bill would provide “a long overdue increase in death benefits to ease financial hardships for our Gold Star Families and other military families. I am proud to introduce this bill with Rep. Roy to expand monetary relief for the loved ones of those who give their lives for our nation. We must honor their service and sacrifice by passing this bill as soon as possible.”
The Senate’s companion bill, S. 2794, was introduced in September by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
“Our military families support our warfighters in the dangers of battle and through the most difficult times,” Tuberville said. “We hope they never receive that horrible call, but when one of our servicemembers pays the ultimate sacrifice, their family should be taken care of. This legislation is one way to ease their financial worries and hopefully alleviate the peripheral stress that comes with mourning the loss of a loved one.”
Although both the House and Senate versions were introduced relatively late in the legislative session, this legislation will have time to grow co-sponsors throughout the remainder of the 117th session of Congress. These co-sponsors will carry over to the next half of the 117th Congress, and it remains important for legislators to hear from constituents.
With midterm elections on the minds of many lawmakers, a phone call in addition to a letter is an effective way to influence elected officials. Use MOAA’s Capital Hotline – 866-272-MOAA (6622) – a toll-free line to the U.S. Capitol switchboard, to connect with your legislators' offices. For more information on other advocacy initiatives, please visit MOAA’s Advocacy News page.
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