Graded Death Benefit for Progressive MS

If you’re shopping for life insurance with progressive multiple sclerosis, then you might have heard the term graded death benefits. In this article, we’ll explain what graded death benefits are, and explain why the term is synonymous with progressive multiple sclerosis.

Before we go into detail about graded death benefits, we invite you to contact us so that one of our multiple sclerosis life insurance specialists can assist you with any questions you might have.

For most individuals with progressive multiple sclerosis, obtaining a traditional life insurance policy is not an option. Oftentimes if you have been denied life insurance coverage, a graded death benefit life insurance policy is your only option.

A graded death benefit life insurance policy in its simplest form is a life insurance policy with a waiting period. The waiting period is different with every life insurance carrier, but is generally two to three years. This means that if you pass on before the waiting period expires, your beneficiaries won’t receive the entire amount of your life insurance policy (the death benefit).

Your beneficiaries will however, receive some amount of benefit. The amount they receive before the waiting period expires depends entirely on which type of death benefits are outlined in the policy.

Two Types of Death Benefits

There are two types of graded death benefit life insurance policies with differing death benefits.

The first type of policy’s death benefits are equal to the amount of premiums paid plus interest.

The second type of policy’s death benefits are a percentage of the death benefit. Oftentimes insurance companies will pay out an increasing percentage every year until the waiting period expires. After the waiting period is over, 100% of the death benefit is paid in full.

Be sure that the insurance policy you’re shopping for aligns with which type of death benefit you’d like for your beneficiaries. It’s important to discuss this with us before we submit your application to any specific life insurance company.

No Medical Exam

As is in the case with traditional insurance, there is no medical exam required to obtain a graded death benefit life insurance policy. This is particularly important if you have progressing multiple sclerosis and your health is deteriorating. There will be, however, some basic medical questions on the life insurance application and the policy is not guaranteed to be issued.

Since every life insurance company views multiple sclerosis differently, it’s important to be as upfront and honest as possible with our multiple sclerosis life insurance specialists. This will help us select the best life insurance company for your unique case.

Higher Premiums

Because there is no medical exam required with a graded death benefit life insurance policy, the premiums are higher than traditional insurance. Our life insurance specialists will compare rates to ensure you’re getting the lowest premiums available to you.

Cash Value

Graded death benefit life insurance policies are permanent whole life policies, which means they can build cash value. With cash value comes the option to withdrawal cash and/or borrow against the policy in the form of a loan. This can be really helpful for some individuals later on in life.


As long as you continue making your premiums on time, your graded death benefit life insurance policy is guaranteed level for the rest of your life. This means your premiums will remain the same regardless of your health status or age. Again, this is important for individuals with progressing multiple sclerosis.

Death Benefit Limits

Life insurance companies typically limit the amount of death benefits to $10,000-$25,000. Many people work around these limits by obtaining several policies with different life insurance companies. This method is known as stacking, and not only is completely legal, but is very common with people who need more coverage. If you need more coverage than $25,000, please let us know and we can apply with several insurance companies on your behalf.

Not a Guaranteed Issue Plan

As mentioned above, simplified issued graded death benefit policies require no medical exam, however they do ask a handful of medical questions. If you answer unfavorably to these questions, or if your multiple sclerosis has progressed to the point that you are no longer able to perform basic activities of daily living (ADL), then you might be denied coverage with a simplified issued policy.

If this is the case, then your next option for insurance coverage is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Guaranteed issue policies are much more expensive than simplified issued policies as anyone can qualify for one.

Regardless of which type of policy you might qualify for, the good news is that you will qualify for some type of life insurance coverage. It’s important to remember that some coverage is always better than no coverage.

Please contact one of your multiple sclerosis life insurance specialists today, so that we may help you with your life insurance needs.