JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Airmen should review and update their virtual Record of Emergency Data (vRED) and their Servicemembers’ Online Election System (SOES) information annually, before deploying and each time they experience a major life change, such as marriage or divorce, permanent change of station or birth of a child.
vRED replaced the paper-based form in 2003 as the way for active, Guard and Reserve Airmen to provide personal emergency information.
“Accurate information helps ensure families are cared for during a crisis and prevents unnecessary delays,” said Maj. Pamela Nuila, Air Force Casualty Services chief at the Air Force’s Personnel Center. “Having up-to-date information is critical when Air Force casualty officials need to contact family members when an Airman goes missing, suffers a serious illness or injury, or dies. It also assists with prompt casualty reporting and notification, as well as compassionate follow-on assistance to surviving family members.”
As important as the vRED is, recent data reveals that more than 35 percent of Airmen across the Total Force have not reviewed or updated their vRED information within the last year.
“Delays in next of kin notification are usually associated with the vRED having incomplete or outdated information,” Nuila said. “It’s important that Airmen validate and update this information.”
The vRED can be accessed through myPers at https://mypers.af.mil/ or via the virtual Military Personnel Flight on the Air Force Portal. On the myPers home page, Airmen should click the “Update my virtual Record of Emergency Data” link and follow the instructions. On vMPF, select “Record of Emergency Data” at the bottom left of the screen. The form takes most people about 15 minutes to fill out and requires addresses and phone numbers for emergency contacts.
Along with the vRED update, SOES elections are equally important. Last August, the Air Force began a 12-month roll out of SOES by birth month. SOES enables Airmen to make automated Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Family SGLI coverage/beneficiary elections 24/7, 365 days a year via the milConnect application at www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect.
With approximately 40,000 Total Force Airmen having a birthday each month, the Air Force should be quickly approaching 160,000 Airmen having selected their beneficiaries and certifying their elections. However, as of Nov. 22, only 97,738 Airmen had updated and certified their elections.
“We’re asking commanders and first sergeants at all levels to stress the importance of having their Airmen log into SOES and update and certify their elections” said Nuila. “Airmen do not have to wait for their birth month to update SOES, especially if they experience a major life change such as marriage or divorce.”
Paper-based coverage levels and beneficiary elections on the SGLV 8283A (FSGLI) form and the SGLV 8286 (SGLI) form are in effect until superseded by a SOES election. Should a tragedy occur prior to making a SOES election, the paper-based coverage amount and beneficiary(ies) will be certified for payment, ensuring the elections are properly enacted.
SOES also provides an administrative tool for human resources personnel, commanders and unit SOES administrators by giving them the ability to validate members’ SGLI elections and key SGLI data for a single individual or an entire unit. In addition, SOES provides casualty offices with a central source to obtain beneficiary and coverage information in the event of a casualty.
Airmen can access SOES via a .mil computer using their common access card or by using a personal computer or electronic device. Members can also use a Department of Defense self-service, or DS Logon (username/password), to access SOES without a CAC.
Airmen must log into SOES at www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect to designate an SGLI beneficiary, increase or decrease coverage or decline coverage.
For more information about vRED or SOES, contact the casualty assistance representative at the nearest Air Force base.
Airmen can also visit myPers, select “Any” from the dropdown menu and enter “SOES” or ”vRED” in the search menu. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions.