The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act passed the U.S. Senate. The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama). The bill would increase the maximum life insurance coverage that soldiers carry from $400,000 to $500,000. This change would apply to both the Service Members' Group Life Insurance plan and the Veterans' Group Life Insurance plan.

“This is a win for our military families and veterans,” Tuberville said in a statement following the vote. “Our service members selflessly sacrifice for our freedom and deserve peace of mind in knowing that their families will be taken care of should tragedy strike. I hope to see the same swift action on this legislation in the House so we can get it across the finish line.”

"Sometimes, it's the little things that really help," Tuberville told “There's not a lot being saved by these military families, there's not a big savings account, and so there's not a lot to lean on if there's a death in the family. So I think this gives us another opportunity to give peace of mind to some of the families.”

Tuberville said that inflation has made this increase in the maximum coverage particularly important.

"Coming from the education field, I can see the opportunities of [a] couple of kids that their dad passes away [when they're] 10 or 12 years old and then they want to go to college years after that," Tuberville said.

The bill was approved by the Senate in a voice vote without objections Wednesday night.

Both of the insurance policies are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Covered service members include all active-duty members, cadets at military academies and certain members of the reserves and National Guard. The soldiers are automatically enrolled in the Service Members' Group Life Insurance, though they can choose to decline the coverage.

The Veterans' Group Life Insurance is open to veterans who had the service members' plan and are within one year and 120 days of leaving the military.

This is not free. Service members and veterans pay for the coverage, though the Department of Defense will pick up the premium when a service member is deployed to a combat zone. A service member who elects to receive the $500,000 coverage can expect to pay approximately $6 more per month.

Tuberville’s father was career military, a World War II veteran who served under legendary Gen. George Patton during the liberation of Europe. His father died of a heart attack during military training while on active duty, leaving Tuberville’s mom a widow with three children.

Tuberville said the experience of losing his father in that way inspired him to sponsor this bill, which is supported by many concerned military families.

The bill has been endorsed by the Military Officers Association of America and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Dana Atkins is the President and CEO of the Military Officers Association (MOAA).

"The Supporting Families of the Fallen Act is long overdue and will authorize the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) to catch up with inflation," said Atkins. "This legislation is ultimately about supporting the families of service members, and MOAA looks forward to growing bipartisan support for this important modernization of life insurance."

The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives for their consideration.

A House version of the bill was introduced by Congressman Chip Roy (R-Texas) already has 13 bipartisan cosponsors.

Tuberville, after talking with House members, said that the bill "has good support there."

The last time that the maximum death benefit was raised was in 2005.

Sen. Tuberville is in his first term representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate after defeating incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the Nov. 2020 general election.

(This report is based on original reporting by’s Rebecca Kheel)

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