Survivor & Dependent Education Assistance (DEA)
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program is established by Chapter 35 of Title 38 U.S. Code. The DEA Program provides education and training opportunities for 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 as well as correspondence courses for spouses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
DEA benefits are available to 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 Army.
- 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.
- 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.
Period of Time 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 may use DEA 20 years from the date of the veteran's death to the benefit. If the VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of up to 3 years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating.
Children may use DEA between the ages of 18 and 26, regardless of marital status.
Note: These limits can be extended under certain circumstances. For details, please visit the web site shown below.
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 / 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: schools and programs must be approved by a State Approving Authority (SAA) for VA training)
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. If attendance is less than a month or less than full-time, payments are reduced proportionately. Different payment rates can be found on the VA website shown below.
How to Apply?
You can apply by filling out
VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance, and submit it to the VA. You can also apply through the VA's website.
For additional information, please visit the following link:
Department of Veterans Affairs
DEA Web Site