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WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 3, 2008) -
More troops may now qualify for benefits under Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance because of newly expanded coverage following a review by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The purpose of the review was to find whether additional injuries/losses should be covered, whether the program was operating effectively, and whether other improvements could be made that would allow more servicemembers to benefit from TSGLI, officials said.
Through the review's findings, the TSGLI Schedule of Losses was simplified, making it more usable for each branch of service and allowing for easier interpretation by the general public, according to officials at the Army's Human Resources Command.
Existing TSGLI qualifying loss definitions on the schedule, such as those for sight, burns and amputations were expanded and additional qualifying losses were added, including uniplegia, limb salvage, facial reconstruction, and a 15-day hospital stay.
"The TSGLI benefit expansion helps us further the mission and spirit of the program - help traumatically injured servicemembers at their greatest time of need," said Col. John F. Sackett, chief of the Army's TSGLI Branch at HRC. "As stated by our prior vice chief of staff, we need to 'do what is right for the Soldier'. With these changes we can offer assistance to even more men and women who have so bravely served our country."
Servicemembers that have already submitted a claim in the past do not need to resubmit, Sackett said. He said the VA and TSGLI offices for each service will conduct a reachback of previously denied claims to see if they qualify for payment under the new guidance. Notifications will be sent to the servicemmember if an additional award is due.
TSGLI is a Congressionally-mandated program that applies to members of all branches of service and all components - Active, Guard, and Reserve, who incur a traumatic, physical injury based on an external force of violence. TSGLI provides tax-free payments between $25,000 and $100,000 per traumatic event, which can be used to help with unseen expenses or provide a financial start on life after recovery.
The TSGLI program began on Dec. 1, 2005, as a non-option selection attached to Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, known as SGLI. All servicemembers from that point forward who elected SGLI benefits paid $1 toward this coverage each month. In addition, servicemembers who incurred a qualifying traumatic injury from Oct. 7, 2001 through Nov. 30, 2005 while on orders outside the United States in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, or serving in a Combat Zone Tax Exclusion area, were covered by TSGLI, regardless of whether they elected SGLI coverage or not.
For more information about TSGLI, including a complete list of the new schedule of losses, eligibility requirements, and claim submission instructions, servicemembers should contact their branch of service using the contact information below: