girl at chalkboard - life insuranceMassMutual, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world, is offering $50,000 worth of free life insurance to working families with children.

Called the Lifebridge program, the 10-year term life policy is issued in the name of one parent or guardian. If that parent dies during the term, the money is placed in a trust to be used for the education of the children. Covered expenses include books, tuition, fees, and room and board. The types of schools covered include pre-school, private school, trade school or college. The children have until 10 years after the death of a parent or until they are age 35 -- whichever is later -- to use the money.MassMutual introduced the program in 2002 because many low-income families need life insurance, but can't afford it. As of November, 2010, the company had given away more than 11,500 policies, which is about $500 million in free life insurance coverage. The company plans to distribute $1 billion worth before ending the project.

"We encounter a lot of skepticism about this program," says Cindie St. George, director of operations for LifeBridge. "We've been fortunate to succeed for nearly 160 years, and we feel a keen responsibility to give back to the communities that have long supported us."

St. George says one of the most memorable claims was from a family of four whose mother died of a brain aneurysm. The children, who were in their teens, split the money, using it for training in practical medical-related careers. One became a nurse's assistant and another became a medical technician.

Other recipients have used the money to pay for private schools for younger children and to pay off existing student loans for older ones.

In order to be eligible, a parent must be:
  • Between the ages of 19-42
  • The legal guardian of one or more dependent children under age 18
  • Currently employed -- either full or part time -- and have a total family income of between $10,000 and $40,000 annually
  • A permanent, legal resident of the U.S.
  • In good health as determined by MassMutual's underwriting guidelines (as with all life insurance policies)
Only one policy per household. Parents are not eligible if they have been diagnosed with heart disease, cancer, HIV or Type 1 Diabetes. They also can't be currently abusing drugs or alcohol or on probation.

Get more information and apply via MassMutual's website or call (800) 272-2216.
To apply, you must bring these documents to a meeting with a MassMutual agent:
  • A copy of your 1040 or 1040A (used to confirm income)
  • A recent pay stub (used to confirm working status)
  • Social Security numbers of children/dependents under the age of 18
  • Proper identification (photo ID, driver's license, green card, etc.)

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