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Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

Dependents of certain veterans will be eligible for up to 45 months of education benefits through the Dependents Educational Assistance Program.

To be eligible, the applicant must be the spouse or child of a veteran who:

  • has died or has been determined to be permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability incurred during active duty, or
  • has died while permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability incurred during active duty.

Spouses must use their DEA benefits within 10 years of eligibility (usually the veteran’s date of death).

Children must be between the ages of 18 and 26.

  • Married children are not barred from receiving the benefit.
  • Children who themselves are on active duty cannot use the benefit while in service, but can have their eligibility extended in some cases to their 31st
  • Children receiving DIC benefits will become ineligible for them if they elect to receive DEA benefits.

To apply for DEA benefits, download VA Form 22-5490, “Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits,” available at www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-22-5490-ARE.pdf, submit it to the appropriate VA regional office.

            VA Regional Offices can be located at www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/offices.asp.

If you have already started your program, ask your school’s VA representative to ask for a copy of VA Form 22-1999, “Enrollment Certification,” and submit it with VA Form 22-5490.  VA Form 22-1999 is only available to on-campus VA representatives.

For current DEA benefits rates, visit www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.asp and select the year of enrollment.

To see what benefits you might receive as a survivor, you can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool at http://department-of-veterans-affairs.github.io/gi-bill-comparison-tool/.

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