Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA – Chapter 35)

 DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled 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 up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Special Restorative Training is available to persons eligible for DEA benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs may prescribe special restorative training where needed to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability for the purpose of enabling an eligible person to pursue a program of education, special vocational program or other appropriate goal. Medical care and treatment or psychiatric treatment are not included.  Contact your local VA office for more information.

Special Vocational Training is also available to persons eligible for DEA benefits. This type of program may be approved for an eligible person who is not in need of Special Restorative Training, but who requires such a program because of a mental or physical handicap. Contact your local VA office for more information.

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. 

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.  For the current rate table click here. http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rates/CH35/ch35rates100111.htm

How to Apply
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 Last Modified: 10/24/2011 09:59:31 AM