Denied SGLI Claim Lawyer
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.
The Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a life insurance policy that is designed to help ease the burden on family members when the servicemember passes on. Both servicemembers and families rely on this crucial life insurance policy – valued up to $400,000 – to help pay for necessary expenses such as funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income, and other crucial bills, such as a mortgage, that a family shouldn’t have to worry about during a troubled time when they are focused on healing. However, these troubled times dealing with the loss of a loved one can get even worse when you have a denied SGLI life insurance claim. The first reaction is often shock and wondering what you might do. Ignoring it only makes the bills pile up and the emotional anguish heighten. Instead of worrying about impending bills and how you will fight that SGLI life insurance claim that was just denied and deal with people who work in insurance for a living, you should call our office today. Our experienced attorneys can help fight any denied SGLI life insurance claim. Below we’ll offer some information on what a SGLI life insurance claim is and how you can contest it if you feel you have been erroneously denied.
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.
What do I do if I have any questions about a Servicemembers Group Life Insurance claim being denied?
No matter what stay you are at in the process from servicemember enrolling in SGLI to a bereaved family member filing a claim, you should contact our office immediately to help guide you and help ensure that your claim is paid. Don’t take no on a denied SGLI life insurance claim for an answer. Speak to our experienced attorneys who can help you get the funds your loved one set aside for you.
SGLI is group life insurance for service members. SGLI coverage was established to provide low cost life insurance to active duty members of the military. The SGLI program is subsidized by the Federal Government to make the premiums affordable to service members and currently provides up to $400,000 in coverage, through payroll deductions.
If your SGLI claim has been denied, you need a top life insurance lawyer to get you the benefits to which you are entitled.
SGLI is similar to term life insurance coverage that civilians purchase from life insurance companies through insurance agents or with their employers. SGLI is different, however, from regular life insurance in that it does not have many exclusions. There are no questions in the application and the coverage is guaranteed instantly. Most private life insurance policies do not pay a claim if the insured is killed in a war zone. SGLI has no exclusion similar to the war clause. The government may deny an SGLI claim based on the status of the insured at the time of death. If your SGLI claim has been denied, call us now for a free consultation.
SGLI Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first question you should ask a potential SGLI lawyer?
You need to ask how many years they have been practicing. You need an SGLI lawyer with at least 20 years experience. Many young inexperienced lawyers are trying to handle these complex claims, and they are doing more harm than good. Their denied clients end up coming to us to fix the situation, and get them the money to which they are entitled.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can learn about denied FEGLI claims next.