Taken from the March 1997 Supplement to the 1997 Book, "What Every Veteran Should Know:"

VA Announces 1997 Insurance Dividends --

The Department of VA is announcing that more than two million * active * policyholders of veterans' life insurance will share in its 1997 distribution of $876 million in insurance dividends.

With dividends on various types of policies averaging from $200 to $900, veterans will receive the payments on the anniversary date of their policies with the individual dividend amount varying according to age, type of insurance, and length of time the policy has been in force. Recipients may choose to receive a dividend check or select one of nine alterante payment options.

The dividends, paid from insurance trust funds, are derived from investment earnings and also reflect the fact that veterans are living longer than originally predicted.

Only those with policies that have been kept in force when premiums were required are eligible for the payout. Inaccurate notices periodically have surfaced in the veterans community suggesting that those who have not elected to maintain insurance are eligible for a special dividend if they contact VA; but this is false, as dividends are automatically sent to eligible policyholders.

Receiving dividends are veterans who were issued government life insurance policies in World Wars I and II or the Korean conflict, who served between 1917 and 1956. Veterans of subsequent eras are covered by government insurance programs that do not pay dividends.

The largest group receiving 1997 payments will be 1.8 million veterans of WWII with National Service Life Insurance ("V") policies who will receive an average payment of $409. Total payments are expected to reach $704.6 million.

Dividends totaling $4.7 million will be paid mostly to the 22,002 World War I veterans holding U.S. Government Life Insurance ("K") policies for an average of $214.

Some 235,627 veterans who have maintained Veterans Special Life Insurance ("RS" and "W") can expect to receive dividends averaging $438 for a total of $103.1 million.

Veterans who hold Veterans Reopened Insurance policies ("J", "JR" and "JS") currently numbering 82,727, will share a $28.2 million dividend. Average payments to "J" policyholdes are $214; for "JR" $550; and "JS", $903.

Although VA also administers a special life insurance program for disabled veterans and a program offering mortgage life insurance coverage, these policies have a different financial structure; and neither pays dividends. For current active duty servicemembers and reservists, VA supervises a contract with a private underwriter for Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, which also does not pay dividends.

Veterans who have questions about their policy may call the VA Insurance Center toll-free at 1-800-669-8477.

Revised 02-04-98 by DGS