Veteran's Affairs Benefits-Chapter 35

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

I. Benefit Description

Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. 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.

II. Eligibility

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 line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.  

III. Period of Eligibility

If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you 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. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot go beyond your 31st birthday. 

If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran.  

IV. How to Apply

You should make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. If you are not clear on this point, VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements. Obtain and complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State where you will train. If you are a son or daughter, under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

If you have started training, take your application to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to VA.  

V. Other Related Benefits Work-Study Assistance Program Tutorial Assistance

For additional information see Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program-Pamphlet, visit our office, located in Powell Hall East, or give us a call at (912) 333-5431.  Or contact your local VA Regional Office for additional assistance by dialing the toll-free number, 1-888-GIBILL1.