SGLI Claim Denied

For the many who serve our nation, they are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice no matter the personal cost. No matter which branch of service a person is a part of, their duty, honor, and commitment to our country is laudable, should be venerated, and is indicative of their larger desire to defend freedom and democracy both at home and abroad. These American heroes have been our frontline defenders since the beginning of our nation and, one of the ways that our nation helps make sure that they can do their jobs defending us and not worry about their families is through life insurance.

Specifics about the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy:

  1. Coverage Eligibility: SGLI is available to active-duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as commissioned members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Public Health Service (PHS). Members of the Reserve and National Guard can also qualify for SGLI coverage.

  2. Coverage Amount: The maximum coverage amount available under SGLI is $400,000. However, servicemembers can choose coverage in increments of $50,000, up to the maximum. The coverage amount can be changed or declined at any time.

  3. Cost of Premiums: The cost of SGLI premiums is quite low compared to private life insurance policies. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the premium rate for SGLI was $0.07 per $1,000 of coverage. However, it's important to note that premium rates can change over time, so it's advisable to refer to the latest information from the VA.

  4. Coverage Duration: SGLI provides coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, worldwide, regardless of whether the servicemember is on or off duty. The coverage remains in effect during peacetime, in combat zones, and during training exercises.

  5. Additional Coverage Options: SGLI also offers some additional coverage options, such as Family SGLI (FSGLI), which provides coverage for the spouse and dependent children of eligible servicemembers, and Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI), which provides financial assistance for servicemembers who suffer severe injuries as a result of a traumatic event.

  6. Conversion Options: Upon separation from the military, servicemembers have the option to convert their SGLI coverage to a Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policy. VGLI is a renewable term life insurance program that allows individuals to continue their coverage beyond their military service.

  7. Beneficiary Designation: SGLI policyholders can designate beneficiaries who will receive the insurance proceeds in the event of their death. The policyholder can allocate the benefit amount among multiple beneficiaries as desired.

  8. Claims Process: In the event of a servicemember's death, the designated beneficiary or the servicemember's family should contact the VA to initiate the claims process. The VA will require necessary documentation, such as a death certificate, to process the claim and disburse the insurance benefit.

Its always advisable to consult the official VA website or contact the VA directly for the most current details regarding the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy, including coverage details, premium rates, and eligibility requirements.

Call us at 800-330-2274 for a free consultation

Who is eligible for a Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy?

Generally speaking, a person must be a member of the U.S. military to qualify for an SGLI policy. However, there are a wide variety of categories of people who might not immediately come to mind who are able to enroll and should to get the full benefits of this policy. The most obvious are active duty members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard who unquestionably qualify for this program. The next group are commissioned members of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in addition to a midshipman or cadet in the U.S. military academies. Further down the line we encounter ROTC members, cadets, engage in authorized training or practice cruises or a National Guard or Ready Reserve member who is assigned to a unit and also scheduled to perform at least 12 years of inactive training per year. Finally, of people currently supporting our armed forces, volunteers in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) also qualify. However, some individuals who are in non-pay status with the Ready Reserve and National Guard and are drilling for points instead of pay and are scheduled for 12 periods of inactive training for the year may also be able to qualify. Given these broad categories, almost anyone who is actively supporting the U.S. military should be able to obtain a Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy.

How much is a Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy worth, how long does the policy last, and how much does it cost?

While there is no defined amount – every servicemember makes his or her own election – some policies are worth up to $400,000 in $50,000 increments. This means if your loved one passes away while he or she has an active SGLI policy, you could receive up to $400,000 depending on the election.

Policies will initially last as long as the servicemember is a qualified person under the policy. For many, it is as long as they stay in their branch of service as an active duty member though others can qualify as well based on circumstances. Policies will often stay in effect for 120 days after one has left the military and for those who are totally disabled, there is an extension for two years of free coverage.

SGLI policies are based on a seven cent per dollar of coverage formula thus a $400,000 policy will end up costing $24 a month in premiums to a qualifying person. For a less robust policy of $50,000, a servicemember will pay $3 a month in premiums thus this policy is not only practical, but affordable as well.

Who can I list as my Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy beneficiary?

Anybody can be listed as a beneficiary for a SGLI life insurance claim. For many, they choose their spouse, children, parents, or even close friends for emotional reasons. Other times, some SGLI life insurance claims may be subject to attachment by a court as part of divorce decree or child custody decree by a judge. Our experienced attorneys can help sort out why an SGLI life insurance claim was denied based on who the beneficiary is and how to combat an unjust denial.

I’ve heard some rumors around why Servicemembers Group Life Insurance policy payouts are denied. Are they true?

The vast majority of rumors related to denial of SGLI life insurance claims are false even though they continue to make the rounds throughout the community. Some of these rumors include:

  • My SGLI life insurance claim will be denied if I had a privately purchased helmet or body armor
  • An SGLI life insurance claim is always denied if it is found the policy holder was not wearing a seat belt at the time of a motor vehicle or airplane accident
  • A good basis for denial of an SGLI life insurance claim is the policy holder was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident
  • If there is a terrorist attack, my SGLI life insurance claim is denied per se
  • There are war on terrorism, black list, or no-go areas that, should a policy holder die there, the SGLI life insurance claim is immediately denied

These rumors are just that: rumors and conjecture that discourage people from applying for their rightful SGLI life insurance claim benefits because they believe it will be denied or they may even face a fine or sanction. The facts are none of these are true and beneficiaries should apply for SGLI life insurance claims as soon as possible.

Given that there are so many rumors, are there any reasons my Servicemembers Group Life Insurance claim can be denied on legitimate grounds?

There are some serious, though very rare and unlikely reasons, for an SGLI life insurance claim to be denied and unappealable. These include being found guilty of treason, mutiny, spying, desertion, or being a conscientious objector. Additionally, your SGLI life insurance claim is likely to be denied if the policy holder died as the result of a judicial proceeding by the state such as being found guilty of murder. While these rules are often close to, if not ironclad, you should sit down with our experienced legal team if your SGLI life insurance claim is denied for these or any other reasons.

SGLI Frequently Asked Questions

Will a divorce decree be valid with an SGLI claim?

The beneficiary designation controls, as Federal law trumps state law. However, if there is alimony from a divorce decree, our lawyers can argue that there is a constructive trust to prevent unjust enrichment.

If there is no beneficiary designated in an SGLI policy, who gets the benefits?

The money will be paid out according to SGLIA which stands for the Servicemember's Group Life Insurance Act. Give us a call, and we can explain to you whether you have a claim to the SGLI money.

My SGLI claim is delayed due to a dispute among beneficiaries. Who can help me?

Nobody understands SGLI claims better than us. We will fight to get you the money to which you are entitled.

Do I automatically get the SGLI benefits if I am the surviving wife or husband?

You will get the money if you are the beneficiary, but give us a call, as there may a claim we can asset to get you the money.

If my husband or wife changed the beneficiary to my SGLI policy, is it required that I be notified?

You are required to be notified, and you should call us so we can pursue the money you are due.

My husband or wife died, and my SGLI claim was denied. My state revokes automatically a former husband or wife as the beneficiary due to a divorce. Do I get the money?

Our SGLI lawyers will investigate, and we have been successful both ways. Give us a call so we can explain it to you.

I live in a community property state, and my husband or wife changed the beneficiary. Can I get half the money?

We would need to investigate whether it would be possible to get you the money, and we have countless legal briefs on the subject.

My husband or wife changed the beneficiary despite a divorce decree to the contrary. Do I get the money?

Our SGLI attorneys would need to investigate the specifics.

Can a SGLI policy be cancelled?

If there was a conviction, it is possible, but we can investigate fighting it.

Can I get SGLI benefits if there was negligence or contributory negligence on my husband or wife's part, such as in an auto crash?

We can get you your SGLI benefits despite negligence or contributory negligence.

If my spouse was killed wearing unapproved body armor or helmet, can I still get the money?

Unapproved body armor won't void your policy.

Can my SGLI claim be denied because my husband or wife was AWOL?

We can dispute whether he or she was truly AWOL.

My SGLI claim was denied because they said there was no coverage at the time of death, can I get my money?

We have been successful arguing that the policy was in full force at the time of death. This is a tricky area, but we have been successful 100% of the time with our arguments.

SGLV form 8286 is the form which elects amount of coverage on an SGLI policy, as well as designating the beneficiaries, but my SGLI claim was denied because they said the change of beneficiary was not accepted by my husband or wife's unit, so what can I do?

No law firm is better at resolving SGLI beneficiary disputes, and we have years of experience in handling these interpleader cases.

My SGLI claim was delayed, and I am wondering if I can get help?

Our SGLI lawyers handle delayed SGLI claims every week. We know the people, and we can get these claims paid out with lightning speed.

We have handled many denied SGLI claims based on the insured's status at the time of death. Disputes also occasionally arise regarding the proper beneficiary of an SGLI policy. Our law firm has recovered SGLI benefits 100% of the time. We have always recovered the full policy amount.

Denied SGLI Claims

Joining the United States Armed Forces is one of the bravest and prideful decisions of any American’s life. Along with that pride of serving and defending our country, our service members also receive numerous other benefits for their service. One such benefit is access to the ServiceMembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.

What is SGLI life insurance?

SGLI is a group life insurance program designed for the active, reserve, and National Guard members of the United States Armed Forces. For veterans of the Armed Forces, Veteran’s Group Life Insurance is similarly available.

SGLI provides low-cost life insurance plans that provide coverage up to $400,000 in $50,000 increments. Every $1,000 in coverage costs members only $0.06 per month. So a $400,000 life insurance policy would cost only $24 per month.

You are eligible for SGLI coverage if:

  • You are an active duty member of the Armed Forces - Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard

  • You are a commissioned member of the U.S. Public Health Service

  • You are a commissioned member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • You are a cadet or midshipman in the U.S. military academy

  • You are a member of the reserves

  • You are a member of the National Guard

  • You are a volunteer in the Individual Ready Reserve

Those eligible are automatically enrolled. Members to the SGLI also provide coverage for any serious injuries that occur during the terms of the policy. These may include:

  • Loss of vision, speech, hearing

  • Loss of a fingers, hand, foot, arm, or leg

  • Quadriplegia or paraplegia

  • Severe burns, especially those that cover more than 30% of the body

  • Coma

Family members who are not also eligible for SGLI coverage can receive coverage from the Family ServiceMembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) program. This works similarly but only provides coverage up to $100,000.

Upon leaving active duty service, members are eligible for up to two years of extended enrollment in SGLI (upon request). Afterwards, they can transition to private life insurance or VGLI plans.

SGLI life insurance claims

Although life insurance is an important purchase for responsible adults, the hope is that you never have to use it. But, when you do, the hope is that the process is seamless and you receive the proper treatment or death benefits you are due.

However, as with many forms of life insurance, there are often problems that present themselves. A denied SGLI life insurance claim can come at the exact wrong time. Whether dealing with the loss of a loved one or a traumatic injury, a denied SGLI life insurance claim is only going to add to the frustration.

Reasons for a denied SGLI life insurance claim

Whether you are a member of a group life insurance policy such as SGLI or you purchase an individual plan, every life insurance policy includes a variety of reasons a claim may be denied. The most common reasons regardless of provider typically include:

  • Death or injury from alcohol or drug use

  • Death or injury from a suicide attempt

  • Death or injury from at-risk accidents

  • Death or injury from a physical or mental disability

Other common reasons include:

  • Beneficiary disputes

  • Invalid beneficiary or lack of beneficiary

  • Lapsed or missing premium payment

  • Improper claim filing - either incomplete or falsification of information

When it comes to SGLI life insurance claims, there are a variety of other issues that commonly arise. Because SGLI is a group life insurance plan, there are specific eligibility and term rules that cause the vast majority of these problems.

Remember, SGLI is only provided for active duty or reserve members of the Armed Forces. Coverage does extend (upon request) between 120 days and 2 years following the last date of service, but there are a variety of issues that may still come up.

Ineligibility issues include problems with those who leave service without permission. Those who are labelled as AWOL will likely have any of their claims denied even if the death or injury occurs within that 2 year limit following the end of service. SGLI will view abandonment of position as a negation of the original contract.

Other ineligibility issues surround those not technically listed as ‘Active Duty.’ This may simply be a mistake in designation. However, if you are no longer active duty and are past the extension of their coverage, SGLI will deny claims.

If you have made the transition to VGLI or to another private life insurance provider, you may have to file a claim with them instead. However, failure to convert to VGLI can result in a denied claim by both SGLI and VGLI as well.

It is important to make this transition prior to the end of your coverage period under SGLI to avoid any such problems. The SGLI to VGLI transition is a fairly straightforward one and can easily be completed well in advance. Those to other providers should be similarly straightforward.

How to handle a denied SGLI life insurance claim

If your SGLI life insurance claim has been denied, the first thing you need to do is determine whether it was done in bad faith or not. If there is reason to believe that the claim was wrongfully denied, you can proceed with an appeal.

Even though there are a variety of eligibility criteria that need to be met, there is some leniency in SGLI regulations such as the 120 to 2 year extension period (upon request). An SGLI life insurance lawyer can help you handle any eligibility issues in addition to the other common problems that life insurance claims may throw your way. An experienced SGLI life insurance lawyer can track down all the necessary paperwork, data, facts surrounding the case, and expert testimony to get your case straightened out.

Navigating life insurance law, in particular SGLI life insurance law, can be a tricky one. Having the right legal team on your side will make a major different in your case. Contact our denied SGLI claim lawyers to get your SGLI life insurance questions answered.

SGLI Claim

Beneficiaries of Servicemen and women deserve the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) benefit that they are entitled to as a result of their loved one's sacrifice as a member of the active military. Unfortunately, as is the case with many other life insurance benefits, the companies that underwrite these policies will often look for ways to deny coverage even when there are significant material disputes as to the basis which they rely on issuing their denial.

Do not take a denial letter of an SGLI claim as law, as in many cases, these denials can be challenged, resulting in the payout and peace of mind you deserve.

What Are The Common Reasons For A Denied SGLI Claim?

Some of the most common reasons given for denial of SGLI benefits are:

  • A determination that the SGLI claim is not covered under the existing SGLI policy;
  • There is a dispute as to who is the legal beneficiary of the policy;
  • There is an active legal challenge to who is the rightful beneficiary;
  • No beneficiary has been named in the policy;
  • The service member is considered disqualified due to inactive duty at time of death;
  • The servicemember had deserted the service prior to death;
  • SGLI claim is denied due to a dispute as to coverage limits;
  • The beneficiary has not been correctly changed before death;
  • Claim denied due to failure to stay current on insurance premiums; and
  • Claim denied due to servicemember being convicted of felony or act of treason before death.

Although the above list gives you some indication of the many different criteria the insurer can rely on in denying the claim, this list is in no way exhaustive.

How Do You Contest A Denied SGLI Claim?

One of the most common reasons an SGLI claim is denied is because of confusion on who the beneficiary is. Although this discrepancy can appear straightforward in resolving, the process to convince the insurer to reconsider their denial can be far more complex.

Securing the Complete File

The first step in heading off a beneficiary dispute is to ensure that each beneficiary has a complete file from the insurer. As a bonafide beneficiary, you have a right to understand the policies which govern the SGLI plan your loved one held as part of their service to their country.

Reading over the policy language and the beneficiary designations forms, often referred to as SGLV 8286, is an excellent place to understand your benefits. It is often assumed that since a form has been filled out, identifying beneficiaries that the dispute should end there. However, for the form to be legally binding on the insurer, it must first be accepted.

Sometimes, a form will be found that has not been processed and formally approved. This discrepancy can become a significant issue if another SGLV 8286 form exists that identifies other beneficiaries.

By securing a copy of the file, you will have a thorough understanding of what information the insurer has and what evidentiary gaps you may need to fill to successfully contest their denial.

Organizing Conflicting Evidence

There are times when the insurance file does not tell the whole story. Perhaps there was a conversation, written or otherwise, on who would be the beneficiary of the SGLI policy. Maybe the insured had crafted a will naming their beneficiaries, which may conflict with a representation located within the insurer's file.

Whatever the conflict may be, ensuring that you have your evidence organized is a great way to plead your case that denial was unjust. This evidence will allow you to look beyond the four corners of the insured's file to other evidence that clearly shows the servicemember's intent regarding their SGLI policy.

Never Assume A Spouse Is Entitled To The SGLI Benefit

It is often assumed that since a servicemember was married at the time of their passing, the SGLI benefit will automatically pass to the surviving spouse. It is essential to understand that the servicemember's marital status does not govern the beneficiary of the SGLI policy, the beneficiary designation found in the SGLV form 8286 does.

If the SGLV form 8286 designates someone other than the surviving spouse, the policy must pay the benefit to that named individual unless there is conflicting evidence that must be resolved through litigation.

How Does A Divorce Affect An SGLI Claim?

One of the most common errors when considering a surviving spouse's claim is whether or not a divorce proceeding was pending or was about to be filed at the time of death. Family law attorneys struggle to fully comprehend what effect a divorce may have on an SGLI claim. It is essential to ensure that the correct beneficiary is named, especially if the marriage is about to be dissolved. This clarification will eliminate the potential for litigation if it can be shown that another person's claim defeats the surviving spouse's default position receiving the SGLI benefit.

An SGLI Policy Is A Contract-Assert Your Rights If It Is Breached

In the simplest terms, an SGLI policy serves as a contract between the insurance company and a service member. As a result, basic contract principles of law apply to each party in performing their agreed-upon obligations. If one side breaches, the other side can use this breach to claim that they are no longer obligated to perform under the contract.

The difficulty in analyzing such a claim is when there is a significant gray area regarding the alleged breach and whether or not this alleged conduct forms a basis for a denial of an SGLI claim. In these instances, it is vital to have the right legal team in your corner, who will go through the SGLI process piece by piece to analyze and counsel you on ensuring your rights are protected. Only through this process will you fully understand whether or not you have been unjustly denied a benefit that your loved one rightfully bequeathed to you.

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance, SGLI, is life insurance provided at a reduced amount to eligibile servicemembers deducted through payroll, and $400,000 is the typical amount, but SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to $400,000. The insured servicemember can pick anyone he or she wants to be the beneficiary. If eligible, you can be automatically enrolled.

Servicemembers typically include: Marines; Navy; Army; Air Force; and Coast Guard. In addition, commissioned members of NOAA and USPHS are included. Cadets, midshipman of US military academies, as well as members, cadets, midshipman of ROTC are included. Lastly, members of Ready Reserve, National Guard and IRR are included. Beneficiaries should not download the 8283 SGLI claim form, but should retain an SGLI attorney, as there are pitfalls to not having an attorney.

Our denied SGLI claim lawyers handle hundreds of denied SGLI claims each year, and we have a hundred percent success rate. Picking the right SGLI lawyer is critical to your success in recovering your SGLI benefits. Our SGLI attorneys have years of experience resolving these claims. We also handle VGLI claims, TSGLI claims, VA life insurance claims, and all life insurance claims which have been delayed or denied.

SGLI claims can be extremely complex, and there is a plethora of caselaw on the books. We have hundreds of legal briefs in our arsenal, and we can get these cases resolved very quickly.

  1. SGLI Beneficiary Dispute

We deal with SGLI beneficiary disputes every week. Beneficiaries of SGLI polices are designated on SGLV form 8286. The beneficiary designation is required to be accepted before it becomes effective, yet there are many situations when there has been a beneficiary change, and our lawyers have to investigate who received the change form, and when. We have handled a myriad of issues with respect to a servicemember dying before the form was officially accepted, and we have recovered the full amount of SGLI benefits for our clients every single time, as we know how to handle these claims. Often beneficiary changes are not considered effective. We get over this obstacle. Frequently, there are competing beneficiaries, and claims are filed for the same SGLI money. We know how to win. We have seen forms that specific the total beneficiary percentages totaling more than 100%, and we know how to resolve these errors. Primary beneficiaries are sometimes deceased when the servicemember dies. Secondary beneficiaries are often deceased as well. Issues such as whether the spouse, parents, children, executor or next of kin often arise, and we can sort these out.

  1. SGLI Claim and Spouse

You need to know that a surviving spouse is not automatically entitled to the SGLI money. The benefits go to the named beneficiary.

  1. SGLI Claim and Divorce

Most divorce attorneys don’t know the first thing about SGLI claims when divorce is involved. They know the mechanics with respect to getting divorced, but they don’t understand complexities with respect to divorce and SGLI claims. There are issues regarding divorce decrees which we handle on a weekly basis. Also, there are issues with respect to maintaining life insurance in child support orders. Many lawyers believe that Federal law always trumps state law, but this is not always the case. We get calls from spouses who live in Community Property States who don’t understand why their claims were denied. Whenever there are issues arising from divorce, our denied SGLI claim attorneys should be consulted.

  1. Forfeiture of SGLI Claims

If a servicemember is convicted of a crime such as desertion, espionage, treason or mutiny, SGLI claims are frequently forfeited. However, there are ways to get your SGLI benefits nonetheless.

  1. Delayed SGLI Claims

We handle delayed SGLI claims as well as denied SGLI claims. Without our lawyers getting involved, these claims could persist for months on end. It is better that we are retained for a delayed SGLI claim before your claim gets denied, so you can get the money you need as soon as possible.

  1. Recent SGLI Cases

A Marine Corps sergeant divorced his second wife, and was ordered by the court to maintain life insurance policies for his four children. The sergeant married his third wife, and changed the beneficiary to the third wife. The sergeant died six months later. The first, second and third wife all filed claims for his $400,000 SGLI policy. The third wife retained us, and we got her the full $400,000.

An Air Force captain was murdered by his wife, the primary beneficiary of the SGLI insurance policy. The captain’s son and daughter were the contingency beneficiaries of his SGLI policy. We had to submit a legal brief addressing the “murdering heir” rule, and we were able to get our clients, the children, the full policy amount.

An Army corporal was in Afghanistan, and disappeared before turning up dead two months later. His status was changed from “present for duty” to “absent without leave” also known as AWOL. The SGLI claim was denied because his status was absent without leave for 31 consecutive days. We were able to get his wife the full policy benefits.

A Navy Ensign had an SGLI policy. After he left the Navy, he converted the policy to a Veteran’s Group Life Insurance policy, a VGLI policy. The beneficiary was changed on the VGLI application. The issue was whether the signature on the new policy was valid or not. We were able to get the full policy amount for our client.

A Marine captain changed the beneficiary on his SGLI policy. Although the change in beneficiary was accepted, it was not properly documented and recorded. Our lawyers had to do an intensive investigation into the handling of the document, but in the end, we were able to get our client the full $400,000 to which she was entitled.

An Army Master Sergeant died, and there was a dispute between beneficiaries. The first wife, as well as the second wife applied for SGLI benefits. This was a case involving a constructive trust, and we got our client the full policy amount.

SGLI claims, as well as VGLI claims, are unlike regular private life insurance claims, and there are many complexities to these cases. We have over fifteen years experience handling these claims, and we have been successful in every case. Don't try to play lawyer, retain one.

Why Are There Denied SGLI Claims?

Whenever a person has to put in a life insurance claim it is at a most distressing time of their life. For service members they have the opportunity to take out SGLI Life Insurance. This is the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance. It is a form of life insurance that is available to those who serve in many different capacities.

Those that take out this life insurance do so with a positive attitude. They perceive it as a way of protecting their loved ones financially. Most do not give any thought as to the possibility of denied SGLI Claims.

The Disappointment of Denied SGLI Claims

When a beneficiary goes about putting in a claim for the SGLI insurance they assume that this is going to be a relatively simple manner. They realize that they have to support their claim. There will be a process that they have to go through when submitting their claim. It is unlikely at this point in time that they are thinking that they may have to deal with a denied SGLI claims problem.

For the individual that this happens to they may feel that this is an isolated case. That it is only something that is happening to them. Unfortunately the statistics show that denied SGLI claims are quite common. There are many reasons for this. One is the fact that that it is a complex type of insurance and so is the claims process.

The Right Beneficiary

One of the common reasons for denied SGLI claims comes down to the right beneficiary. There can be some confusion between the spouse of the insured and the beneficiary named on the policy. In general spouses sometimes assume that the insurance policy payout will actually go to them. Therefore based on that this they will put a claim in to the insurance company.

At the same time the beneficiary knowing that they are named as such will also put in a claim. This now automatically creates denied SGL I claims. The insurance company has to know for a fact who is the actual individual entitled to the claims money. This now may become a matter for the courts to settle. It may involve a interpleader action. This is where the insurance company will turn the case over to the courts to determine the actual entitled beneficiary.

Denied SGLI Claims Regarding Divorce

Another common reason for denied SGLI claims is because of a divorce situation. This is where the claim situation can get really complex. There could be court orders involved where the insured was compelled to take out this insurance. In order to cover child and perhaps spousal support. The insured may have re-married. Now there is conflict as to who the claim is to be paid out to. Is it as a result of the previous marriage and court order. Or is it the current spouse entitled to the claim? How does this affected the beneficiary on the policy? These are all things that now become legal issues when it comes to denied SGLI claims.

Forfeiture of SGLI claims

There are a lot of stipulations that are written into life insurance policies. All too often the insured neglects to read the policy through in its entirety. They are not aware of some of the circumstances that could cause a forfeiture of claims. There are certain situations where a servicemember can create the cancellation of a claim. For example, if they have been charged with one of the different named offenses as outlined in the insurance policy.

Preventing Denied SGLI Claims

One of the most significant ways to prevent denied SGLI claims is how the insured handles the purchase of the insurance. By making sure that all of the information provided is accurate and nothing has been omitted. If the insured does their part then it can help to reduce the possibility of denied SGLI claims. But, it doesn't totally mitigate this. There are many other reasons that the insurance company can come up with reasons to try and deny the claim. If a beneficiary feels that they are entitled to the claim they should get an experience life insurance law firm to help to assist them in fighting the denied SGLI claims. SGLI laws are very complex, and most lawyers purporting to handle these can’t…our lawyers can.

Contact us today



Ron enlisted in the United States Army in 2006. Shortly thereafter Ron married his wife, Lorrene. Following Ron’s deployment in 2010, their marriage changed forever.

Ron returned suffering from PTSD. After his treatment at Kenner Army Health Ron was discharged.

Ron’s PTSD was neither treated nor cured

For a several months, Ron struggled at work and at home. His outbursts and anxiety made it impossible for him to maintain employment and he quit his last two jobs.

On November 21, 2011, eleven months after his separation, Ron drove to his favorite hiking and took his own life. Lorrene was pregnant with their second child.

Lorrene filed her claim for with Prudential.

In 2013, Prudential denied her claim, stating “although [Ron] may have had medical conditions resulting from his service, those conditions did not prevent substantially gainful occupation as evidenced by [Ron’s] 6–month employment and therefore, he did not qualify for total disability extended coverage.” [Additionally] Mr. Ron did not convert his SGLI coverage into VGLI coverage.*

This isn’t uncommon. Prudential has denied HUNDREDS of claims for incorrect beneficiary changes; failure to elect a beneficiary; former soldier being on inactive duty at the time of death; AWOL status beneficiary disputes; beneficiary contests; incorrect SGLI form submission; failure to convert to VGLI coverage; failure to convert to a commercial policy upon release; and for non-payment of SGLI premiums.

In fighting the insurance company, Lorrene’s legal team acknowledged that 120 days had passed since Ron's separation, but contended that he was totally disabled and thus coverage should be granted.

Lorrene’s attorneys knew that if a service member was totally disabled, at the time of release, the SGLI coverage would terminate either the day which he ceased to be totally disabled (or two years after his separation).

Before the court could reach a decision, the insurance company reached a settlement with Lorrene’s family 2014.


Manny was a 26 year old soldier whose passions included BMX and motorcycle racing. He was even an amateur racer and active member of the Sports Car Club of America.

Manny like many young soldiers was vibrant and full of life. Internally Manny struggled with his own personal demons.

Manny as a member of the military was entitled to SGLI life insurance. In 2007, Manny designated his life insurance beneficiary as August Parker, his casual lover.

This was a change from his previous designee of Kimberly his estranged wife.

On December 4th, 2008, Manny’s demons caught up to him and he took his own life. Before passing, Manny left a handwritten note splitting his SGLI benefits between his parents.

Several weeks after Manny’s death, August received a letter advising her that she was designated as the beneficiary to his $400,000 life insurance policy. August diligently submitted her claim.

Shortly thereafter filing, Kimberly and Manny’s parents contested August’s designation as the beneficiary.


The Court in sorting this mess relied on the “designation-of-beneficiary” requirements. These requirements state that a beneficiary designation must be signed, witnessed, and received by the Armed Forces to be effective.

Judge Posner stated “[t]here is little doubt that [Manny] wanted to designate his father [and mother] as beneficiary,” but “it is not possible on this record to determine whether [Manny] ever submitted the designation-of-beneficiary form to the Navy and therefore whether the Navy ever received it, as [the law] requires for the designation to be valid.”

Manny’s tragic death led to a legal fight between his entire family.

If you have any questions or doubts . . . It’s better safe than sorry.