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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What Veterans Need to Know About the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) Program

The Veterans Administration (VA) offers several benefits for disabled veterans. One of these programs is Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). Unlike standard life insurance, which prefers to cover people who are in perfect health, the S-DVI program is only for people with disabilities. Veterans who might have a hard time obtaining conventional life insurance can get a small amount of coverage through this program. The requirements for these veteran’s benefits are strict, so here is what veterans need to know about the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) Program.

How Much Life Insurance Eligible Veterans Can Get

The basic S-DVI plan, also called “RH Insurance” because the policies start with that prefix, lets you buy up to $10,000 of coverage. If you meet additional requirements, you can apply for Supplemental S-DVI, with up to $30,000 of extra coverage.

Eligibility rules for S-DVI

  • You can apply for life insurance through S-DVI if you meet ALL of these terms:
  • You are no longer in the service, and
  • Your discharge from military service was not dishonorable, and
  • Your discharge was after April 24, 1951, and
  • You have a VA notification that you have a service-related disability, and
  • You have a VA disability rating (any percentage rating qualifies, even zero percent), and
  • Other than your service-related disability, you are healthy, and
  • You submit your application for S-DVI within 24 months of the VA notifying you of your service-related disability.

Additional Requirements for Supplemental S-DVI

Veterans who already have an S-DVI life insurance policy and for whom the VA has waived the premiums because they have a total disability rating can apply for Supplemental S-DVI to increase their coverage to a total of up to $40,000 including basic S-DVI. If you fall within this category and are under the age of 65, you must apply for the supplemental coverage within 12 months of the VA notifying you of your premiums waiver.

How to Get a Waiver of Premiums

The VA will only waive premiums for the basic S-DVI coverage, which provides up to $10,000 in coverage. They will not waive the premiums for the Supplemental policy. You might think that a 100 percent VA rating for your service-related disability would automatically qualify you for a premium waiver, but it does not. You must be unable to work because of your disability (totally disabled) before turning 65 and continue to be disabled for at least six months in a row.

The amount you have to pay for supplemental coverage premiums (and for basic S-DVI if you do not get a waiver) will vary. The factors that determine the amount of your premiums include your age, how much coverage you want, and whether you select term or permanent life insurance.

Posthumous S-DVI Benefits

The VA has the option to grant gratuitous (at no charge) S-DVI benefits after a veteran dies when the veteran met the program eligibility requirements but did not apply because of ongoing mental incompetence from a service-connected disability. The veteran must have died either before someone appointed a guardian for the former service member or within two years of a guardian’s appointment. The widow or widower, children, or parents can be eligible to receive the gratuitous S-DVI benefits, which will be $10,000 total when combined with any other U.S. Government or National Service life insurance proceeds.

As with any veteran’s benefits, the S-DVI program can be challenging to navigate. For competent and compassionate advice, talk to the professional veteran’s benefits attorneys at Horizonlaw today by requesting a consultation.


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