About 2.1 million service members are seeing a slight bump in their paycheck, as the monthly premiums for life insurance for themselves and their spouses have decreased, effective July 1.

For those with the maximum $400,000 coverage under the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, or SGLI, the premium has decreased by $4 a month, from $29 to $25. Most service members have the maximum coverage.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which administers the service member life insurance programs, regularly reviews the claims numbers and the financial position of the programs. They’ve reduced the SGLI rate from 7 cents per month per $1,000 of insurance to 6 cents per month per $1,000.

“VA continues to place the interests of service members and their families first by keeping SGLI premiums as low as possible, while ensuring funds are available to pay claims to beneficiaries,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in an announcement of the rate decreases.

Service members can purchase SGLI coverage in increments of $50,000, up to $400,000. The coverage includes $1 a month for Traumatic Injury Protection coverage, or TSGLI.

For spouses who are covered under the Family SGLI program, the average monthly premium decreases range from 10 percent to 32 percent, depending on the age and the amount of coverage. For example, the maximum $100,000 of coverage for spouses up to age 35 is $4.50, down 10 percent from $5.

The decrease is 18 percent for spouses age 35 to 39 with the maximum $100,000 of coverage, from $6.50 to $5.30 a month.

Service members can purchase life insurance for their spouse in increments of $10,000, up to a maximum of $100,000 of coverage.

VA officials said the decrease in premiums is due to an increase in investment income, and an improvement in the financial position of the program following a 2014 increase in SGLI premiums. That increase was necessary to shore up the Contingency Reserve funds, officials said at the time.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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