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By Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired
Senior Voice Correspondent 

Service-related disability may be VA-covered

Alaska Older Veterans Report


If you have just received your VA disability notice, you should take advantage of the VA’s disability insurance plan. Veterans who are granted a service-connected disability but are otherwise in good health may apply to VA for up to $10,000 life insurance coverage. The following is a summary of Service Disabled Veterans Insurance.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance

The Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) program was established in 1951 to meet the insurance needs of certain veterans with service connected disabilities. S-DVI is available in a variety of permanent plans as well as term insurance. Policies are issued for a maximum face amount of $10,000.

Veterans who are granted a service-connected disability but are otherwise in good health may apply to VA for up to $10,000 in life insurance coverage at standard insurance rates within two years from the date VA notifies the veteran that the disability has been rated as service-connected. This insurance is limited to veterans who left service after April 24,1951.

Veterans who are totally disabled may apply for a waiver of premiums. For those who are eligible for this waiver, an additional policy of up to $20,000 is available. Premiums, however, cannot be waived on the additional insurance.


You are eligible for S-DVI if:

• You were released from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions on or after April 25, 1951

• You were rated for a service-connected disability (even if only 0 percent)

• You are in good health except for any service-connected conditions

•You apply within 2 years from the date VA grants your new service-connected disability

Eligibility for supplemental S-DVI

The Veterans’ Benefits Act of 2010 provided for $30,000 of supplemental coverage to S-DVI policyholders. Premiums may not be waived on this supplemental coverage. S-DVI policyholders are eligible for this supplemental coverage if:

• They are eligible for a waiver of premiums.

• They apply for the coverage within one year from notice of the grant of waiver.

• They are under age 65

To apply for Supplemental S-DVI, you must file VA Form 29-0189, Application for Supplemental Service-Disabled Veterans (RH) Life Insurance or send a letter requesting this insurance over your signature. You must apply for the coverage within one year from notice of the grant of waiver of premiums.

Gratuitous S-DVI

Gratuitous Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) is granted posthumously to Veterans who:

• Met the basic eligibility requirements for S-DVI

• Did not apply for S-DVI because of a continued mental incompetence due to a service connected disability

• Died before the appointment of a guardian or within two years of such appointment.

Veterans Affairs (VA) must receive an application for payment of Gratuitous S-DVI within two years from the date of the Veteran’s death.

If the person making the claim is mentally or legally incompetent, and did not file the claim in time, VA can receive the application within one year after incompetency ends.


Premiums for S-DVI insurance are based on your age and amount of coverage you purchase. Before you apply for S-DVI coverage, you should compare the premium rates to commercial insurance companies. If your disability is not serious, you may be able to find better rates from a commercial company.

Under certain conditions, the basic S-DVI policy provides for a waiver of premiums in case of total disability. Policyholders who carry the basic S-DVI coverage and who become eligible for a waiver of premiums due to total disability can apply for and be granted additional Supplemental S-DVI of up to $30,000.

For more information, go to

Mike Dryden is a retired Army Major and current Older Persons Action Group, Inc. board member.


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