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More Soldiers now eligible for TSGLI

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2008) -- More Soldiers who have been traumatically injured in combat, or even in a car accident stateside, may now be eligible for up to $100,000 to help adjust to life following their injury.

The Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance is a supplemental insurance program included in a Soldier's SGLI that provides a tax-free payment to Soldiers in the event they suffer traumatic injuries, such as severe burns or loss-of-limb. The types of injuries that qualify for TSGLI were recently expanded, resulting in more Soldiers being able to benefit under the program.

"The expansion came about as a result of a review conducted by the Veterans Administration of the TSGLI program," said Capt. Nathan Black, officer in charge of TSGLI. "They spoke with each branch of service, medical professionals, those awarded and denied TSGLI, and others in the wounded warrior lifecycle. From this process, they were able to determine expanded loss definitions and additional losses that would allow for more Soldiers to benefit from TSGLI."

For example, under the new guidelines, a Soldier may receive $50,000 for paralysis of one limb; previous rules required paralysis of two or more limbs. Additionally, the new rules state a Soldier who sustains 2nd-degree burns over 20 percent or more of his body or face is entitled to $100,000. Under the former requirements, Soldiers must have sustained 3rd-degree burns over 30 percent of their body or face.

The new guidelines also include limb salvage, and allow Soldiers $50,000 for loss of sight that has lasted 120 days for each eye rather than total and permanent loss in both. The complete schedule of losses under TSGLI can be found at www.tsgli.army.mil

Payments under TSGLI are per event, and Soldiers who have multiple injuries may receive more than one payment, but no more than the maximum $100,000 per event.

Additionally, Black said the changes to TSGLI are retroactive. The TSGLI office is conducting a re-look initiative for any Soldier that was previously denied or received less than the maximum payment amount of $100,000.

There is no need for a Soldier to resubmit a claim unless there is new additional supporting documentation to support the case, Black said. The TSGLI office will contact those that are approved under the new guidelines.

"The TSGLI expansion," said Black, "is another example of how we continue to enhance our program to better meet the needs of our Soldiers and their families."