A new, MOAA-backed law will increase insurance coverage available to servicemembers and veterans for the first time in 17 years, but other legislation designed to help survivors cope with financial burdens needs your support to move forward.
President Joe Biden signed S. 2794, the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act, into law Oct. 17. The legislation increases insurance coverage from $400,000 to $500,000 for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI). Neither coverage amount had been updated since 2005.
“The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act is long overdue and will authorize Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance to catch up with inflation,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA's president and CEO. “This legislation is ultimately about supporting the families of servicemembers.”
Increase Still Behind Inflation
The $400,000 SGLI figure from 2005 would be worth $622,565 in September 2022, adjusting for inflation using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator. Even a year ago, the figure would’ve inflated to $575,000. Although this legislation will fall short of a complete adjustment for inflation, getting lawmakers to approve this increase represents important progress and could lead to further legislation requiring automatic adjustments.
The bill was championed in the Senate by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and in the House by Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Mike Levin (D-Calif.), along with Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). All are members of their chambers’ respective veterans affairs committees.
With this incremental improvement, further advocacy is required to support our survivor community impacted by inflation.
Legislation such as the Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act and the Caring for Survivors Act need further support. The so-called “Comfort Act” would allow survivors to keep the full amount of the retirement check issued for the final month in which the member was alive, sparing them the shock of losing a large chunk of funds from Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) recoupment. The Caring for Survivors Act would increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments to align with other federal survivor benefits. Both pieces of legislation are long overdue and require grassroots advocacy.
Congress is on hold until midterm elections are complete, offering an excellent opportunity to reach out to your lawmakers and ask them to support these import pieces of legislation for survivors that have not yet grown enough co-sponsors.
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