Marines who join the Marine Corps can go through many life changes while serving. From getting married to having kids, your situation may differ from when you initially joined the Marine Corps. To make sure that you and your loved ones are covered in every aspect, it’s best to make sure that your benefits paperwork is up to date.

Every Marine should have a current Record of Emergency Data (RED), which accurately reflects information on the Marine’s spouse, children, and parents, if applicable. This information is critical, so the Marine Corps knows who to contact if you become seriously ill or injured. The RED also identifies beneficiaries and certain designations that are crucial for the Marine Corps to know upon a Marine’s death. Benefit designations include death gratuity ($100,000), unpaid pay and allowances, as well as the designation of the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD). The PADD is the individual designated to handle the disposition of the remains of the Marine and must be 18 years of age or older. It cannot be overemphasized that the RED should always be kept current and accurate through Marine Online (MOL). Doing so will ensure the Marine’s designations and desires are implemented should something happen.

Another critical portion of a Marine’s benefits is the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy. The insured amount for SGLI can be up to $400,000. There is also an option to have an insurance policy for your spouse up to the amount of $100,000 utilizing the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) policy. Children are automatically insured up to $10,000 and can be extended to the age of 23, as long as the child is enrolled as a full-time student with a Veterans Affairs accredited institution. 

Dual active duty couples are eligible for FSGLI coverage. Only one of the service members may maintain the policy, and only one may claim the benefit on behalf of an eligible child. The FSGLI election must be done through the service member’s S-1 or through the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Online Enrollment System (SOES). 

As directed through MARADMIN 220/18, all Marines must update their SGLI information utilizing SOES, which allows the Marine to update their information directly and at any time without the involvement of an Installation Personnel Administration Center (IPAC).

A relatively unknown benefit via the SGLI program is the Accelerated Benefits Option. Suppose a Marine or spouse is diagnosed as terminally ill with an estimated life expectancy of less than nine months. In that case, the Marine may elect to have up to 50 percent of the SGLI/FSGLI proceeds distributed while still living. This money may be used as the Marine sees fit. 

A will is necessary to ensure that an individual’s personal affairs are in order but be reminded that a will does not supersede any elections or beneficiary designations annotated on the RED or your SGLI policy. Visit the Casualty Assistance branch if you are in immediate need of services.