VA extending retroactive injury benefits

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Araceli Alarcon

The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001, to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred.

Effective Oct. 1, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Traumatic Injury Protection benefit, known as TSGLI, will be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during this period. This retroactive benefit is payable whether or not the servicemember had SGLI coverage at the time of the injury.

The Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2010, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in October of 2010, removes the requirement that injuries during this period be incurred in Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom – welcome news for the many servicemembers who suffered serious traumatic injuries while serving stateside or in other areas outside of OEF/OIF during this time period who previously were not eligible for TSGLI.

TSGLI provides a payment ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to servicemembers sustaining certain severe traumatic injuries resulting in a range of losses, including amputations; limb salvage; paralysis; burns; loss of sight, hearing or speech; facial reconstruction; 15-day continuous hospitalization; coma; and loss of activities of daily living due to traumatic brain injury or other traumatic injuries.

National Guard and reserve members who were injured during the retroactive period and suffered a qualifying loss are also eligible for a TSGLI payment, even if the cause was not related to military service, such as a civilian automobile accident or severe injury which occurred while working around their home.

National Guard and reserve members make up more than 40 percent of the total force which has been deployed since 9/11. Those who are no longer in the National Guard or reserves can also apply as long as their injury occurred while they were in service.

VA is working with the Department of Defense to publicize this change in the TSGLI law. Additionally, all of the branches of service are identifying any claims previously denied because the injury was not incurred in OEF/OIF and reaching out to those individuals.

Although applications are currently being accepted by branch of service TSGLI offices, benefits will not be paid until Oct. 1, the effective date of the law.

For more information or to apply for a TSGLI payment, servicemembers and veterans can click here or contact their branch of service TSGLI Office, Concat information is available at above link.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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