The family of a medically retired Fort Hood soldier who was killed last year will receive insurance money for the loss of their loved one, thanks to the efforts of a Long Island congressman.

Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., announced Monday the wife and children of former Sgt. Ryan Dickinson will receive a $400,000 military life insurance benefit they were initially denied.

Dickinson was fatally shot during a Sept. 1 party at a residence at West Fort Hood.

“After Sgt. Dickinson’s death, his family received notice that his insurance policy had been canceled,” Bishop wrote on his Facebook page Monday. “Today, I am pleased to report that after working with the VA, Sgt. Dickinson’s policy has been reinstated.”

Local news station Long Island 12 reported Dickinson’s wife, Heather, said the money would be used for college funds for her children.

Brett Marvin Wessel, 26, a sergeant with 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was charged in connection with Dickinson’s death.

Wessel’s court-martial was originally scheduled for May, but was postponed by Fort Hood officials. The court-martial is now scheduled to begin Sept. 15.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

(7) comments


"If you are totally disabled at the time of separation (unable to work), you can apply for the SGLI Disability Extension, which provides free coverage for up to two years from the date of separation. At the end of the extension period, you automatically become eligible for VGLI, subject to premium payments."

From the VA website. The veteran was medically retired and I presume the veteran was unable to work and was therefore eligible for this extension, followed by automatic enrollment in VGLI.

Rose L Thayer
Rose L Thayer

I apologize for any confusion. Dickinson was medically retired out of Fort Hood prior to his death. The story has been edited to clearly explain that.


I agree with DawgDave. Something is missing here, SGLI can only be canceled by the Service Member (if not him then who and why?) The VA covers VGLI not SGLI so how would they have any say over an Active Duty at time of Death Soldier? Unless he was retired while on his deathbed? In any case the article makes no sense.


The VA administers SGLI.

Upon separation, SGLI and Family Coverage remain in effect for 120 days. During this time it is prudent to convert to VGLI.

You have 1 year and 120 days to convert SGLI to VGLI from date of separation.

As noted, certain veterans have an extension of their SGLI due to the nature of their separation.

Upon application in this case, if the separation was more than 120 days prior, the VA incorrectly stated that the veteran's SGLI had expired. Upon administrative correction based upon the veteran's status, the SGLI benefit is then paid by VA.


What am I missing here? Since when did the VA take over the Servicemen's Group Life Insurance Program, and on what basis do they think they can deny the money to his wife? He was on active duty when killed.




Since forever and denial of benefit can happen if a policy is not in force. The veteran was not on AD when death occurred.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.