SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE (SGLI) Beneficiary Designation
If you are a military member with SGLI, please take a moment to read this public service announcement.
Last week I spoke with an Air Force squadron commander about SOES (SGLI Online Enrollment System). Our conversation was on the heels of an Air Education and Training Command leadership conference and he was concerned about his Airmen having beneficiaries designated for their SGLI life insurance policy. Remember, the beneficiary is the person (or people or legal entity) who receives the life insurance payout.
The conversation basically boiled down to this: If you haven’t updated your beneficiaries in SOES, the designation – or your beneficiary’s legal right to your life insurance – is probably lost.
I found this extremely hard to believe. If your military service was anything like ours, SGLI was pretty straight forward. Every time you moved, you filled out a paper copy accepting or waiving SGLI and designated your beneficiaries. That document got uploaded into “the system” and you were good to go.
That process has changed. According to the squadron commander I spoke to, when the transition to SOES occurred, the transition from physical copies to digital information failed to include beneficiary information. Life insurance coverage is unaffected, but beneficiary information is missing. Still finding this hard to believe, I logged into SOES to check my beneficiary designations. I last did a paper copy SGLI form in the spring of 2018 and was confident I would see my beneficiaries listed. Much to my chagrin, the commander was right – everything pertaining to my SGLI beneficiaries was blank and SOES made that clear with big, red, bold, letters.
This probably isn’t the end of the world and the ramifications of not listing beneficiaries are beyond the scope of this article. But not having beneficiary designations (or correct designations) can result in quite a headache for your loved ones if you die.
Personally, I am shocked that this change wasn’t more public and SOES enrollment wasn’t mandatory. If you have SGLI, and especially if you have designated beneficiaries that aren’t your immediate next of kin, please log into SOES and update your information.
While you’re at it – take a look at your beneficiary designations for all of your accounts – especially IRAs, 401(k)s, any other retirement accounts, and life insurance. The nightmares that occur from having an ex-spouse, deceased parent, or other unintended beneficiaries can be easily avoided with a little due diligence.
You can access SOES through your military personnel system or learn more here:
If you need additional help or have financial planning questions please feel free to contact us.
|Brandon LaValley719-428-0560||Aaron Milledge720-443-1227|
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