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Did Her Husband Give Her SGLI Away?

Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

Dear Q&B,

I was going over my husband's LES and under the "remarks" portion of the LES it states that there was a change on November 1, but doesn't give any more details.

My husband assures me that it states that only because he had to update it. But then he also stated a few days previously that he has to update it yearly. So it doesn't make much sense to me, and I feel his explanations are very vague -- there's too much gray area. I would like to just have a solid answer. Please help!

Covered or Not?

Dear Covered,

If there's one thing you want to be sure is in place, it's your husband's Service Member's Group Life Insurance policy, also known as SGLI. As you know, should he be killed while in the military, SGLI would pay out up to $400,000 to whomever he has designated as the recipient or recipients.

SGLI enrollment is automatic and, unless he makes a change, it automatically costs him $29 a month. The only time SGLI coverage changes is if the service member asks for the change. For example, he can select multiple beneficiaries for the benefit, or turn it down altogether. He can also elect to receive less than $400,000 in coverage.

If your husband's Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) notes that there is a change, there are only two ways to find out what that change is. He either has to give you more details, or you have to get them yourself from his finance office using a power of attorney.

But we can tell you this: there is no annual SGLI enrollment. If he updated it, it's because he changed the amount for which he is covered or he changed who would receive the payout.

We usually give benefits advice, not relationship advice here at Q&B. But this seems like a good time to bend that rule. You need to have a very frank conversation your husband about what he is up to, or seek some counseling -- or both.

Speaking of benefits, Military OneSource is a great place to start for free counseling. You can call them at (800) 342-9647.

Good luck. Let us know what happens.

Team Q&B

-- Do you have a question about your benefits? Email the Questions and Benefits team at

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