West Virginia State Senator John R. Unger II (D-Berkeley) will introduce a bill on February 22, 2005 that will establish the Service Members’ Life Insurance Reimbursement Fund to pay for life-insurance benefits for all members of the West Virginia National Guard.
The legislation provides for a $250,000 life-insurance policy for every West Virginia Army and Air National Guard member. It will create a $1.2 million fund in WV Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to reimburse National Guard members for monthly insurance premiums.
“West Virginia soldiers continue to sacrifice for all of us with extended periods of active duty in combat areas and increased contributions to our country’s safety and welfare,” stated Senator Unger. “This is a small price to pay to benefit the families of our military men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. It is the right course to take to provide this security for their families.”
Members of the National Guard are eligible for life insurance policies through the Federal Service members’ Group Life Insurance Program. Monthly premiums typically run a little more than $16 a month, and are paid directly by the military member. There have been instances in which the dependents of members of the West Virginia National Guard have been left without adequate financial resources when a National Guard member has been killed while on active duty.
“Our state has a proud tradition of patriotism. There are slightly more than six thousand members of the Air and Army National Guard. Of those, nearly 1,300 are currently deployed supporting the war in Iraq and other homeland security operations,” said Senator Unger. “We owe these proud members of our communities our support for their proud service to our state and our country.”