Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance benefits expanded
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Stars and Stripes online edition, Thursday, December 4, 2008
Posted by Tom Tarantino on December 5
ARLINGTON, Va. â€“ Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance benefits have been expanded to include new injuries.
Under the insurance program, which began in late 2005, servicemembers are eligible for up to $100,000 in cash payouts for traumatic injuries, such as loss of a limb or sight, and severe burns.Now TSGLI benefits cover 15-day hospital visits; treating malignant bone tumors, known as â€œlimb salvage;â€ uniplegia, or total paralysis of a limb; and facial reconstruction, according to Army Human Resources Command.
Additionally, TSGLI benefits now cover second- as well as third-degree burns, new types of amputations and loss of sight for 120 days or more, said Col. John F. Sackett, chief of the Armyâ€™s TSGLI Branch.
In another change, servicemembers or veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury are eligible for TSGLI benefits if they need help in two or more of the following areas:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Eating Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bathing Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Dressing Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Going to the toilet Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Transferring, such as getting out of bed Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Continence
Previously, servicemembers and veterans suffering from TBI had to be completely dependent on a caregiver to qualify for TSGLI benefits, Sackett said.
â€œWe estimate about 1,640 people will now will be eligible for $52.6 million in TSGLI benefits,â€ said Stephen Wurtz, of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The changes, which are retroactive to Oct. 7, 2001, were prompted by a VA study into whether the TSGLI program had overlooked any injuries, said Wurtz, deputy assistant director for insurance at the VA.
The VA has already made payments to several dozen people since the changes became effective shortly before Thanksgiving, Wurtz said.
Each of the services are now reviewing TSGLI claims that were denied, or people who did not receive the full $100,000, to see if they now qualify for TSGLI benefits, he said.
The Army, which makes up 68 percent of TSGLI claims, is reviewing each of the 2,973 TSGLI claims that have been denied to see if the claimants now qualify for benefits, Sackett said.
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