Oct 27, 2017 Issues: Veterans

Washington, D.C. (October 27, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce today introduced H.R. 4146, the Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance Act of 2017, to provide needed improvements to the service-disabled veterans’ life insurance program (S-DVI). Disabled veterans have a challenging time receiving life insurance through the civilian sector due to their physical or mental injuries incurred during their time in service. This bill will update the nation’s current S-DVI premiums and disability provisions which are based on mortality and annuity tables from 1941.

“Veterans injured in combat face many challenges as they return home and adjust back into civilian life. What makes it even more challenging for veterans and their families is having to accept an antiquated insurance system that does little to provide the quality care and services they deserve. For over 70 years, the S-DVI program has been basing their costs off the assumption that veterans only live to an average age of about 62 years old. The legislation I’m introducing will modernize this program to lower premium costs for veterans and provide increased funds to the families of deceased veterans.

Our nation’s veterans sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and liberties, and we must honor our commitments to them. This legislation reforms the S-DVI program to provide protection and certainty for service-disabled veterans and their families, breaking down the barriers that affects the livelihoods of veterans across the nation. It is beyond time to enhance the S-DVI program, and I will continue working with my colleagues and veterans in New Mexico to stand by my promise to the men and women who bravely stepped up to serve and protect our nation,” stated Rep. Pearce.

H.R. 4146 amends Title 38 of the United States Code to adjust the S-DVI cap based on the 2017 inflation rate, increasing the current cap from $10,000 to $95,000, and will create a process for adjusting the cap based on inflation each year. This bill will increase the filling and enrollment limitation from 2 years to 10 years, and includes enrollment waiver options.

Current premium rates charged for S-DVI coverage are based on Annuity and Mortality Tables from 1941. Under this new legislation, S-DVI premium rates will be determined using current industry standard tables, and will be updated every 5 years after that.

The Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance Act of 2017 is supported by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW):

“DAV strongly supports Rep. Pearce's legislation to update and strengthen VA's Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) program which will make a real difference for many disabled veterans, their families and survivors. The S-DVI program was designed to provide affordable life insurance coverage to disabled veterans unable to purchase private insurance due to their service connected disabilities, however its cost and benefits have been seriously eroded over the past 50 years. Rep. Pearce's legislation will modernize the S-DVI program by using current actuarial data to lower premiums as well as adjusting for inflation to significantly increase the benefit payout,” stated Garry Augustine, DAV Washington Executive Director.

“The Fleet Reserve Association is in complete support of this bill and looks forward to seeing it passed in the House,” stated John Davis, FRA Director of Legislative Programs.

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars strongly supports, H.R.4146, the Disabled Veterans’ Life Insurance Act of 2017. This important piece of legislation would remedy many of the issues that currently exist with the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance program, such as updating the antiquated mortality and annuity tables, increasing the maximum benefit cap, and extending the enrollment eligibility to 10 years,” stated John Towles, VFW Deputy Director.

H.R. 4146 is also supported by the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).