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Survivor and Dependent Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

In the event of a permanently disabling injury or death that is attained during service, eligible dependents and survivors of these veterans are able to obtain VA education benefits to apply to degrees or hands-on-training. This program is called the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (or DEA) program.

How Does the DEA Operate?

 The VA acknowledges the need for GI education programs, and therefore entitles spouse and dependent education assistance to service members who are reported dead, permanently injured, missing in action, or otherwise permanently impaired during active duty are eligible for the DEA assistance program. The benefits available for this program are applicable to a number of certificates, hands-on-training, and vocational schooling. Service members who are still in well-being during their active duty service are not considered eligible for passing these benefits to their spouse.

What Are My Eligibility Requirements as a Child of an Injured or Deceased Spouse?

As the son or daughter of an injured or deceased active duty service member, you are eligible for educational or tutorial from the ages of eighteen to twenty-six. While this is the standard age range for this assistance, in some cases, educational benefits may be extended. For eligible children of deceased or injured active duty members who were called into duty after September 11th, 201, your eligibility may be extended to the age of thirty-one, however this is entirely determined on a case-by-case basis. Children who marry are still able to claim the same benefits, regardless of their marital state.

What are My Eligibility Requirements as a Spouse of an Injured or Deceased Spouse?

Spouse of veterans who are injured permanently during active duty are eligible for benefits for a general duration of ten years after their spouse’s disability confirmation, which is confirmed via a doctor’s examination. In some instances, the VA must also complete and submit paperwork to the funding department in order to confirm a spouse’s eligibility. For surviving spouses of deceased or MIA service members, you are able to reap educational benefits for up to 20 years after their spouse’s confirmed death.

How do I Enroll?

To enroll for veteran education assistance through the DEA program, you must first fill out VA form 22-5490, which is otherwise known as the Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance form. Once you have completed the application in full, it should be submitted to your local VA regional office. In the event you are a child under the age of 18, you must have a parent or guardian sign the paperwork with their authorization.

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