In some life insurance policies, benefits available before death, in such events as long-term, catastrophic or terminal illness. This benefit first became available when companies offering viatical settlements purchased the life insurance policies of terminally ill individuals from the insurance companies which issued the policies. After extracting a portion of the value of the policy for costs and profits, these companies offered the remainder of the death benefit to terminally ill policy holders. Insurance companies have different rules about how much money can be extracted and how close to death the holder must be to receive benefits early. The remainder of the value of the policy, minus interest charges, is awarded to the beneficiaries upon the death of the holder. Also called accelerated benefits.