Veterans Association of America, Inc.
Sunday, October 20, 2019
Serving those who've served this Country

SGLI Benefits To Families Become Retroactive

Families Get $178M in SGLI Benefits
Air Force Print News

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Base-level casualty assistance representatives around the Air Force have been instrumental in identifying eligible families to receive more than $178 million in retroactive death benefits.

The payments, made by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, come from recent changes enacted by Congress within the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and death gratuity payment programs.

The retroactive SGLI and death gratuity payments to eligible beneficiaries of deceased servicemembers comes from legislation enacted since May 2005 that raised SGLI from $250,000 to $400,000 and gratuity from $12,000 to $100,000.

Additionally, the authorizations increased retroactive death benefits of up to $238,000 to an ever-expanding group of eligible beneficiaries going back to Oct. 7, 2001.

Regarding the retroactive provision, the May 2005 bill included only deaths in the Southwest Asia area of responsibility in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, while a January 2006 bill expanded eligibility to all deaths, regardless of where they occurred.

The most recent bill in June eliminated an inadvertent window of eligibility gap contained in the second bill. To date, DFAS has paid more than $178 million to 1,944 of the total 2,066 eligible beneficiaries, about 94 percent of those identified for retroactive pay.

Of the remaining 122 beneficiaries, all but 28 can be paid as soon as the required guardianship documentation is received from the beneficiary, according to Tom Perry, the chief of the AFPC Casualty Matters Division. "We have 28 remaining beneficiaries that, despite all our collective efforts, have yet to be found," said Col. John Kresek, the director of force operations at AFPC.

"The search continues; we are in contact with other federal agencies to see if their name or address databases can be used. We'll continue the search until we locate and make payment to the remaining beneficiaries."

"The Air Force has the right sight picture in its commitment to supporting our warfighters and their families," the colonel added.