Posted on Nov 14, 2023
LaShannon Sanders
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I am a survivor spouse of a retired service member. I would like to know is there any military life insurance available for the survivors spouse?
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Responses: 3
COL Randall C.
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Edited 8 mo ago
Do benefit programs exist for surviving spouse? Yes. However, there are a number of factors that could modify what I say below (for example, you weren't married when they retired, etc.).

The items I describe below SHOULD have kicked in automatically when the government was notified of your spouse's passing. If this didn't happen by the funeral director (99% of the time, they take care of it) or someone else, then it is imperative that you do the notification to DFAS* as the retired pay eligibility stops with the passing of the retiree and you may be left in a long financial void after the government recoups any payments that continued.

The main program for retired veterans is the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) which will continue a portion (up to 55%) of a deceased retired service member's retirement pay as a monthly benefit to the designated beneficiary. The election is automatic for the SM's spouse and children unless changed at retirement, and he couldn't have reduced it for you unless you gave your written consent.

When a service member is discharged they also have the option to convert the SGLI coverage they had when they were actively serving. Some do, some don't - it's a personal choice. Again, upon notification, this should have been an automatic payment.

Finally, you never mentioned "disabled", so I'm making an assumption that they were not a retired disabled veteran. If your spouse did have a service-connected disability, then there MAY be programs you're eligible for depending on a number of factors, but that's a different discussion and will greatly vary based on your personal situation as well as that of your spouse.
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* Report a Retiree's Death - https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/survivors/retiree-death/
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COL Randall C.
COL Randall C.
8 mo
LaShannon Sanders, depending on your husband's rating and the cause of his passing, you might be eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

First to the cause of his passing. You might be eligible for DIC if -
● The cause of his passing was from a service-connected illness or injury; or
● If he had a rating of 100% for the last 10 years; or
● If he was rated at 100% since his discharge and for at least 5 years before his passing.

Second, if DIC eligibility is possible based on the cause of his passing, then you must have lived with your husband without a break until their death and one of these must be true:
● You were married to the Veteran or service member for at least 1 year
● You had a child with the Veteran or service member
● You married the Veteran or service member within 15 years of their discharge from the period of military service during which the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse,

Additionally, there are other benefits that you might be eligible as the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran beyond DIC, but they each have their own eligibility determinations.

I suggest you contact your state's Veterans Affairs Office (it could be called something different) or one of the Veteran Service Organizations (DAV, American Legion, etc) and talk to one of the representatives about helping you to file a claim.

I would suggest starting with your State's Veteran Affairs Office. Type your state name followed by veterans affairs office (i.e., "Texas veterans affairs office") and it will probably turn up as the first or second result (in this case, it is the Texas Veterans Commission).

Why start with them? They would be the one's most likely to be able to direct you towards other resources that aren't federal benefits, but are offer by the state (and they can help with the federal ones as well).
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* https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/
* https://www.va.gov/family-member-benefits/
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LaShannon Sanders
LaShannon Sanders
8 mo
The information you provided was very helpful. I have contacted DFAS. Thank you again, your greatly appreciated.
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Sgt Field Radio Operator
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Edited 8 mo ago
LaShannon Sanders I am sorry for your loss. I recommend that you contact a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to find out what benefits that you are entitled to (link below). I have also attached a link to Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, Survivors, and Caregivers. At the front of this guide is a list of phone numbers which includes phone numbers for Life Insurance.

https://www.va.gov/disability/get-help-filing-claim/

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/2023_Federal_Benefits_for_Veterans_Dependents_and_Survivors.pdf
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LaShannon Sanders
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Thank you for your comments. Just a little back ground.
He was a disabled retired vet, we were married after he retired. I already receive the survivors benefits and have been put into DFAS system. His SGLI went to his ex wife and children, as it was not changed when we married or before he passed. I was just wondering was there any military life insurance programs out there available for me to enroll into. Again Thanks.
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CPT Stephen Feldman
CPT Stephen Feldman
7 mo
Like most life insurance whole life insurance programs available today and especially those from the VA they aren't worth the money you pay in. To give you an example: I am 100% disabled and have been for over 40 years. I have $10,000 of whole life that the VA pays for while I dropped the $20,000 policy and got the cash back that accumulated. The $10,000 policy that the VA pays for was paid for after 16 years from the date it was issued. The VA has now paid over $25,000 and continues to pay $52 every month for my wife to get $10,000 when I die! The new VA life insurance that started in January of 2023 would have cost me $490 a month because I am 80. If I died during the first two years of its issue my wife wouldhave gotten only the premiums back, however,if I continued to pay the premiums I would have paid more than the face amount in less than 6 years 7 months and my wife still would get only $40,000 no matter how long I live. If I lived to 100 the VA would give me back $40,000 even though I would have paid in $117,600. Just remember, the VA has a better idea when it comes to taking care of veterans the problem is they don't share with veterans and leave it to people like me to spread the word.
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