Benefits for Survivors of Military Members

Military Transition

Survivor Benefits for Death on Active Duty:

  • Death Gratuity -- Lump sum payment of $100,000 (tax free). Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) -- Coverage of up to $400,000.
  • Pay -- Arrears in pay and payment for accumulated leave.
  • Medical/Dental Benefits -- Receive benefits as "Active Duty Dependents" for three years. After three years, transition to TRICARE, just like the families of military retirees. Dependant children of deceased servicemembers receive TRICARE Prime medical coverage at no cost, until age 21, or age 23 if they are full-time college students.
  • Final Move -- No cost shipment of household goods within 1 year, although extensions can be given on a case by case basis.
  • Burial Benefit -- Care and disposition of remains, including burial in a national cemetery with appropriate military honors or reimbursement of up to $7,700 for private arrangements.
  • Travel -- Transportation reimbursement for immediate family for travel to and from the funeral is available or the government will provide suitable transportation.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation -- Tax-exempt, COLA adjusted monthly payment to spouse and to children age 18, or 23 if enrolled in post-secondary education.
  • Survivors' and Dependants' Education Assistance (DEA) -- Tax-exempt, COLA adjusted benefit for spouse and children for continued education.

Survivors Benefits After Transition

  • VA Benefits terminate when you leave the service (unless death is service-connected)
  • Social Security -- Not available until age 60 unless children under age 16 are still at home.
  • SGLI goes away.
  • Government Benefits provide monthly income not a lump sum.

Bottom Line

  • $500,000 in lump-sum death benefits plus monthly income stops when service ends.
  • Providing for your family is now up to you.
  • You need an insurance plan that will stay with you regardless of where you are or what you do.

Decisions You Must Make Now

  1. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Participation: If you are retiring from military service you have the option of participating in the Survivor Benefit Plan - an annuity plan which guarantees that a portion of your retirement pay will continue to be paid to your survivors after your death. Get the details on eligibility, cost and key decision making points.
  2. Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Conversion to VGLI: Whether you are separating from military service or retiring, you will need to decide what to do with your SGLI coverage. SGLI stays with you for an additional 120 days after you leave the service, and then it stops for good. You need to decide to either take VGLI or get your own individual life insurance.

Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) Facts

VGLI is available to all service members leaving active duty. 

  1. Acceptance is guaranteed if coverage is elected within 120 days of leaving the service.
  2. No proof of insurability required within the first 120 days of leaving service.
    VGLI Costs.

Monthly Premiums for $400,000 Maximum Coverage Under VGLI:

  • Under 30 is $32 
  • 30+ is $40
  • 35+ is $52
  • 40+ is $68
  • 45+ is $88
  • 50+ is $144 
  • 55+ is $268
  • 60+  is $432
  • 65+  is $600
  • 70+ is $900 
  • 75+ is $1,800

VGLI can be an expensive option, especially as you get older. Compare the costs with Navy Mutual Aid Association insurance and see the difference.

Which Insurance is Right for You?

Term Life Insurance

  • Low cost protection for a fixed period of time 
  • Premiums guaranteed never to increase

Best Choice: for those looking for the highest amount of life insurance possible while keeping premiums very low.
Get more Information  

Permanent Life Insurance

  • Guaranteed lifetime protection 
  • Tax-deferred cash value growth

Best Choice: for you to protect both yourself and your family for your entire life while accumulating cash value.

Get more Information 

How We Can Help

Navy Mutual's life insurance stays with you as your career changes. You and your family are protected, no matter where life takes you.

  • Government Survivor Benefits Educators available to help you make an informed decision about your military benefits
  • Dedicated membership representative to help you determine exactly what your family needs now
  • Military benefits specialists that take into account any military benefits that might apply to you already
  • Counseling and military benefits claims assistance for your survivors
  • No sales fees, commissions and loads on any products or services keep your cost low

See how affordable quality life insurance can be.

Story Continues
Personal Finance