For now, the insurance paperwork will continue.
Technical glitches have delayed the launch of the online system for enrolling and making changes in the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance for members of the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.
The delays range from one to two months, according to a source, and are the result of problems in transferring sailors' SGLI records to the online system. That information could not be confirmed by defense officials by press time. The Navy in April was the first service to launch the SGLI Online Enrollment System, or SOES.
SOES eventually will allow service members to go online to change coverage amounts, beneficiaries and other aspects of their life insurance. This moves away from the current requirement of filling out a paper form for every change made to SGLI or Family SGLI.
The Navy's transition to SOES is expected to be finished by the end of March 2018. When there were problems transferring sailors' records, defense officials decided to delay the implementation of SOES across other services so the issues can be worked out, according to the source, who requested anonymity and was not authorized to speak on the move.
The reported timelines for the other services:
- Air Force: Launches Aug. 1, delayed from July, gradually rolling out to all Air Force members by the end of July 2018.
- Army: Launches Oct. 1, delayed from August, gradually rolling out to all soldiers by the end of September 2018.
- Marine Corps: Launches Dec. 1, delayed from Oct. 1, gradually rolling out to all Marines by the end of September 2018.
- Coast Guard: Launches mid-February 2018, delayed from Dec. 1, and gradually rolling out through early 2019.
SGLI is a government program, administered by the Veterans Affairs Department, that provides low-cost life insurance to eligible service members, their spouses and children. VA worked with officials from the military services to develop the SGLI online enrollment.
Officials are transferring records gradually, so not every service member will have immediate access to the online management when their branch of service starts the transition. Service officials will notify members when they can access SOES.
The current paper system has cost the Army more than $2 million a year in overpayment claims and more than $9 million a year in claim payments due to incorrectly processed coverage restoration paperwork, according to Army officials.
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. Email her at email@example.com.