Veterans Affairs introduces new life insurance benefit
By Tammy Javenkoski
Oneida County Veterans Services Officer
On Jan. 1, 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs will open enrollment for Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife), the first new VA life insurance program for veterans in more than 50 years. VALife access will be expanded to millions of veterans.
VALife will provide up to $40,000 of whole life insurance for all veterans, age 80 or under, with service-connected disabilities rated from 0-100%. Acceptance in the program is guaranteed, and no medical underwriting is required.
Enrollment can be completed online and veterans will receive instant decisions. Veterans will also be able to perform self-service functions, including electronic payments and beneficiary updates.
VALife will increase veteran access to life insurance in the following ways:
• There is no time limit to apply. VA’s existing life insurance program for service-disabled veterans, called Service Disabled Veterans Insurance or SDVI, required most veterans to apply for insurance within two years of receiving their disability rating. VALife has no such time constraint for veterans aged 80 and under.
• There is no health requirement to apply. Under SDVI, veterans had to be in good health except for their service-connected conditions. VALife has no medical evaluation tied to it.
• Veterans are eligible for more coverage than before. Under SDVI, most veterans could only receive up to $10,000 of coverage. Under VALife, all veterans are eligible for up to $40,000 of coverage.
Premium rates for VALife are competitive with, or better than, similar coverage available in the private sector, and $40,000 of coverage is more coverage than other like-products offered. The policy will build cash value after the first two years of coverage when the face value goes into effect. If a veteran passes away during this two-year waiting period, the named beneficiary will receive all premiums paid plus interest. Unlike SDVI, veterans will not be able to get a waiver for their premiums.
Veterans currently enrolled in SDVI will have the option to keep their current coverage or switch to VALife. These veterans can apply for VALife at any time after Jan. 1; however, if they apply between Jan. 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2025, they can also retain coverage under SDVI during the two-year waiting period for the VALife death benefit to go into effect.
Veterans will no longer be able to apply for SDVI after VALife launches, however, eligible veterans still have the opportunity to apply for the program until Dec. 31, 2022.
Enrollment is currently not available yet but if you would like more information on the program or to see the monthly premium costs, go to benefits.va.gov/insurance/valife.asp.
Tammy Javenkoski, CVSO, and Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at 715-369-6127 or [email protected]. You can also contact us via Facebook at Facebook.com/oneidacvso or our website, co.oneida.wi.us/departments/vs/.