Chapter 35 Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA)
Information on this page is taken from the Department of Veteran Affairs website, which is the authoritative source for all veterans benefits. Visit the Veterans Benefits Administration site or call Toll-Free 1.888.442.4551 for more information.
What Is Survivors' & Dependents' Educational Assistance?
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance is an education benefit for eligible spouses and children of certain veterans.
Eligible persons can receive up to 45 months of full-time or equivalent benefits for:
- College, Business, Technical or Vocational Courses, High School Diploma or GED, Independent Study or Distance Learning courses
- Correspondence Courses (Spouses Only), Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training
- Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training (in some cases)
- The cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job
Note: Each individual State approves schools and courses. To find out if your school or program is approved for VA educational benefits, contact your school’s VA Certifying Official, or call VA at the toll-free number below.
Who Is Eligible?
To be an eligible for Survivors’ & Dependents’ Education Assistance you 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 service-connected disability was in existence.
- A service member missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force.
- A service member forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- A service member hospitalized or receiving outpatient care for a VA determined service-connected permanent and total disability may be eligible for DEA benefits. (Effective December 23, 2006)
How Long Is the Period During Which This Benefit May Be Used?
Spouses and surviving spouses have 10 years from the date VA establishes eligibility to use the benefit. Surviving spouses of veterans who died while on active duty have 20 years from the date of the veteran’s death to use the benefit. (benefits can’t be paid before December 10, 2004 for anyone whose 10 year period ended prior to that date).
Children may use the benefit while they are between the ages of 18 and 26.
Note: These time limits can be extended under certain circumstances. For details, call the toll-free number or visit the web site shown below.
How Much Does VA Pay?
The amount VA pays is based on the type of training program and training time (i.e. full-time, half-time, etc.). Benefits are paid monthly and in arrears. View the current rate tables.
What Are Some Related Benefits?
- Special Benefits for Children with Disabilities
- Educational Counseling Services
- Work-Study Employment
- Tutorial Assistance