Attention Reservists and Guard members! Are you drilling for points, but not pay? Good news: You still have Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage. But whether you’re covered full-time or part-time depends on your status. For example, if you’re assigned to a unit and scheduled to drill at least 12 times per year, then you have 24/7 SGLI coverage. If you drill less often, then your branch can tell you when you are covered.
No matter when you have coverage, if you’re drilling for points and not pay, you’re responsible for paying SGLI premiums. SGLI premiums are usually deducted directly from your pay. But how do you make SGLI premium payments when you’re not receiving pay? The answer depends on your branch of service. Some branches allow you to pay for SGLI premiums in advance. Others have you accrue a debt and then collect the debt when you return to pay status or separate from service. Each branch of service collects payments differently. You’ll also find phone numbers to call with your specific questions.
Knowing how your branch collects SGLI premium payments helps you make smart financial decisions. If your branch allows you to pay in advance, then you can start now. If they have you accrue a debt, then you’ll know to set money aside to pay that debt when the time comes.
Owing SGLI premiums to your branch of service does not affect your ability to enroll in Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) after service. However, you’ll have to pay both VGLI premiums and your SGLI debt, which could be a strain on your budget. That’s why it’s best to plan ahead and make sure you have the funds to pay your SGLI premiums in advance or when your service bills you.
Remember, the first step in planning how to pay for SGLI coverage when you’re drilling for points and not receiving pay is to know your branch’s procedures.
Kristin Burns is an Army Veteran who served in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. She continued her service in the Ready Reserves and came to work for VA as an insurance specialist in June 2008.