Military

Servicemembers May be Entitled to a Tax-free Benefit of up to $100,000 for Injury (TSGLI) Claim

July 13, 2020

In 2005, Public Law 109-13 was signed into law that established traumatic injury insurance for all servicemembers who are covered by Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI). This law provides payment of up to $100,000 for servicemembers who have suffered a traumatic injury.

Main Street Law Firm has continually advocated for servicemembers. We are deeply indebted to their work on and off duty and strive to show that through our continued vigilance when it comes to opportunities that benefit military personnel. Once such opportunity is the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program, of course the ever-bureaucratic name has been shortened to TSGLI.

In 2005, Public Law 109-13 was signed into law that established traumatic injury insurance for all servicemembers who are covered by Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI). This law provides payment of up to $100,000 for servicemembers who have suffered a traumatic injury. It was implemented to help those with the losses incurred by service members and their families while recovering from traumatic injuries. Unlike many of the other benefits that servicemembers have, this provision covers traumatic injuries that were sustained on or off duty. Whether they sustained an injury inside a “theater of operations” or in a local Walmart, they may be eligible for a TSGLI claim.

*Note* It is also important to know that this is independent from any disability compensation that eligible servicemembers may receive. Receiving disability has no effect on one’s eligibility for a TSGLI claim.

US military helmet

General eligibility

Every servicemember who has SGLI coverage automatically has TSGLI coverage. This includes members of any branch of the military, including the Reserves or the National Guard. TSGLI covers qualifying traumatic injuries incurred since October 7, 2001 so long as the servicemember was “active duty” at the time of the injury. As specified on the Office of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) website, “[if] you are insured under full-time SGLI, you are automatically covered by TSGLI. TSGLI coverage applies to active duty members, reservists, National Guard members, funeral honors duty and one-day muster duty.”

In addition to the necessary coverage of SGLI, the VA lists the following requirements:

  • The injury must result in a loss that is specifically covered by the policy
  • You must have suffered the injury while you were in the service
  • The loss incurred from the injury must have been within 2 years (730 Days) of the traumatic injury
  • The injured servicemember must have survived for at least 7 full days after the date of the traumatic injury.

Covered injuries

Although the injury does not need to be service-related, the injury must be from a specific traumatic event such as a car accident or a fall or a blow to the head. An injury caused by the strain of normal work, such as injuring your back from lifting an object, would generally not qualify for TSGLI benefits.

There are many types of specific traumatic injuries that could entitle a Servicemember to TSGLI benefits (e.g. loss of sight, speech or hearing; severe burns, etc.) however, the most common are:

  1. Inability to perform two or more Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) for 30 days or more. The six ADLs are bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring (i.e. move into or out of a bed or chair). If the inability to perform two or more ADLs for 30 consecutive days is due to the traumatic injury, a servicemember may be entitled to a payment of $25,000. Additional $25,000 payments (up to a maximum of $100,000) may be awarded for each additional consecutive 30 day period the Servicemember is unable to perform such ADLs.
  2. Hospitalization of 15 consecutive days. A Servicemember hospitalized for 15 consecutive days due to a traumatic injury may be entitled to a payment of $25,000.

You can find the full list of losses and their correlating payment amount here on the VA site.

These injuries, and subsequent losses, could have happened while serving on a tour overseas or from an auto/motorcycle accident while off duty. Regardless of where or how these losses occurred, you may still be eligible for a TSGLI claim if you were insured by SGLI when the incident occurred.

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