Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program - Chapter 35
DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled (100% disability rating) 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.
What is the Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance Program?
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.
Who is Eligible?
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 permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
- A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
- A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.
What is the 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 generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.
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. 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.
For surviving spouses (spouses of service members who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
How Much Does VA Pay?
How Do I Apply?
You can apply by filling out VA Form 22-5490 - Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Assistance. Applicants are encouraged to bring a copy of the veterans DD-214, proof of veterans' disability rating, marriage license (spouse & dependents) and birth certificate (dependents). While these items are not always required, they often make the application process easier. The original VA Form 22-5490, a copy of any additional documents to be sent to the VA and a completed SVCC Veteran Educational Benefit Cover Sheet should be submitted to the Office of Veterans Services.
You may also apply online at the Veterans On-Line Applications (VONAPP) website. If you choose to apply online, please print out the application and bring it along with your SVCC Veteran Educational Benefit Cover Sheet to the Office of Veterans Services. We will notify the Veterans Administration Office of your method of applying for benefits.
You can apply by filling out VA Form 22-5495 - Request for Change of Program or Place of Training. This form is available online at the Veterans On-Line Applications (VONAPP) website. The original VA Form 22-5495 and SVCC Veteran Educational Benefit Cover Sheet must be submitted to the Office of Veterans Services.
How can I Prevent Overpayments and Penalties?
An overpayment is an incorrect benefit payment that is more than the amount to which you are entitled. You must promptly notify SVCC's Certifying Official of changes affecting your benefits, to prevent or reduce overpayments.
Carefully read all mail from the VA about the effective dates and monthly rate of your benefits. If you think you have received an incorrect check or direct deposit, contact the VA immediately. If you fail to contact the VA regarding a check or direct deposit for the wrong amount, you will be liable for repayment of any resulting overpayment.
How Can I Get More Information?
Visit the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA) web page. Or Call toll free 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).