If you've logged into the new online Servicemember's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) portal, you may have noticed an alarming omission: The section identifying your beneficiary might be blank.
That discovery has left many active-duty troops in the Army, Air Force and Navy -- the services that have started using the system -- worried that, should they die, no one is selected to receive their SGLI payment.
SGLI gives troops life insurance coverage of up to $400,000 for $29 a month, as well as automatic coverage for spouses and children through the Family SGLI program (known as TSGLI) for $1 more. Troops can elect to be insured for lesser amounts, which carry a lower monthly cost, or can opt out altogether.
Related: Visit Military.com's pay calculator
The new system, rolled out for soldiers last October, airmen last August and sailors last spring, is meant to replace the previous paper-based operation and give troops complete control over their SGLI enrollment and information. That means no more pushing paperwork changes through multiple hands and, hopefully, less room for error.
But when the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) went live, it did not populate into the beneficiary fields the names of those troops had elected to receive their payouts, or the amounts, should they die.
That sent many troops into a minor panic, since it sure looks like if you don't go in there and re-enter your information, your SGLI may not be headed for the right person. (Federal rules set a hierarchy of automatic recipients should no one be specifically named, so there's no risk that the money won't be paid out at all.)
Not so, officials clarified in a recent news release. "Your SGLI coverage is still in place," said Ann Stewart, director of the Pay and Personnel Department at Navy Personnel Command. "Sailors who log into SOES for the first time will have to input their beneficiary information manually. That is why there is no information the first time you use the system. But rest assured, that that form you previously filled out to designate your SGLI beneficiaries remains valid, until you register with the SOES."
Want to update your beneficiary in SOES? Here's a how-to list from the Navy:
1. Visit the DMDC website.
2, Sign into milConnect on this page with your command access card (CAC). The green button is located in the upper right corner.
3. After signing in, you will be sent back to the milConnect front page. The menu bar will now display multiple options, one of which is "BENEFITS."
4. Click on the "BENEFITS" drop-down menu and click on "LIFE INSURANCE (SOES-SGLI Online Enrollment System)."
5. On the following page, scroll down to the blue continue button and click it (you may have to do so twice).
6. The following page provides you with your current Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) information that must be verified. When finished reviewing, click continue.
7. The following page is where you can make your beneficiary selections. If this is your first time logging in, you will not see any beneficiary information listed. This does not mean you are not covered. You remain covered if you have previously filled out and signed an SGLI paper form. Please input your beneficiary selections into SOES.
8. After making your selections, click on the "YOUR COVERAGE" tab and select the blue "CONFIRM AND CERTIFY" button in the bottom right.
9. The next screen will ask you to make some legal declarations. Review and check the appropriate boxes and click "CONTINUE."
10. You will be asked if you want to print a preview of the document. This is an uncertified copy for review. A certified copy is available at the end of the process. Click to continue.
11. Next, you will be asked for an electronic signature. Provide your full name and email address and click to continue.
12. The system will provide you an effective date for your SGLI election.
13. Print or email your certified document by navigating to the "Print/Save Certificate" tab.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.