Charleston, SC (PressExposure) June 17, 2009 -- Every day, more and more service men and women are returning home from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to find that their jobs are no longer there. The separation from military backing and services makes it necessary for these veterans to find a way to support their families.
While companies are required to re-hire veterans when they return from duty under federal law, many veterans are finding that their jobs no longer exist because companies have downsized or closed their doors. Some find that the jobs or companies where they worked have changed drastically in the years they were serving in active combat. Those who have positions available often find they no longer fit and are left searching for new jobs.
In the current economic crisis, finding work is extremely difficult, and veterans who face the potential for re-deployment at some point find it even more challenging to land a permanent position. Some who entered the service directly from school cannot even qualify for unemployment benefits.
Without stable work, many returning soldiers struggle to pay for life insurance. While in the military, service personnel receive Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) [http://navymutual.org/ServicemembersGroupLifeInsuranceSGLI.asp]. This carries $500,000 in survivor benefits. However, once they leave active duty, this policy ends. Soldiers must decide within 120 days of leaving active military service what they are going to do with their SGLI coverage, or they lose it altogether.
SGLI military benefits can be converted to Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI), but this policy is expensive and has some stipulations that can create problems. For instance, SGLI offers coverage for a soldier's family members, but this is not offered with VGLI, so the veteran's spouse and other dependents must search for personal life insurance policies.
Additionally, most service personnel find that they end up with significantly less coverage for their families once they make the conversion. Also, the rates for this coverage increase as the veteran ages. For a VGLI policy worth $400,000, a veteran who is past the age of 45 will be paying $100 a month for the policy. This is extremely expensive, even when compared to regular market costs for life insurance. For service members who are struggling to find a job, this is an impossible expense.
The good news for soldiers who are returning from duty is that many non-profit organizations are taking care of military families by providing military life insurance products [http://navymutual.org/LifeInsurance.asp] at prices far below the market for non-military personnel. Navy Mutual Aid Association is one of these companies. They provide life insurance for navy personnel and their families at a deeply discounted rate.
When asked about how these programs helped his family, James Travis, retired U.S. Navy officer, said, "I had been in the US Navy for 15 years and they took care of everything my family needed. I had no idea how much life insurance would cost once I hit civilian life, but fortunately there are organizations like Navy Mutual to ease the transition."
The separation from military benefits [http://navymutual.org/MilitaryBenefits.asp] is a challenge for most retiring military officers, but with the help of organizations like Navy Mutual, the transition to peace time will go much more smoothly.