The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program, Chapter 35, provides education and training opportunities to dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled with a VA rating of 100% due to a service-related condition, or who died while on Active Duty or as a result of a service related condition. The program offers dependents up to 45 months of education benefits, which may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. In addition, spouses may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
To be eligible for DEA, an individual must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces;
A veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence;
A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force;
A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power;
A service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.
Children of a veteran who wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit, but benefits may not be used while a veteran child is on active duty. To pursue training after military service, discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. The VA can extend the period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond the 31st birthday; however, there are some exceptions.
For a veteran spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds determines eligibility or from the date of death of the veteran. If the VA rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008, and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date; Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, and/or on-the-job training.
For surviving spouses (spouses of service members who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
To apply for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA), complete VA Form 22-5490 or apply for DEA online at the VA Administration's GIBill webpage.
Surviving spouses and dependents of veterans who are service-connected disabled, should see the College Tuition Fee Waiver.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs810 Vermont AvenueWashington, DC 20420Phone: (888) GI BILL1 (442-4551)
For more information contact your local County Veteran Service Office.
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