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Military Education Benefits Guide: Dependents' Education Assistance

Dependents Education Assistance Program (Chapter 35)

The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program (Chapter 35) offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of Veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.

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 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 Service member 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 Dec. 23, 2006.

If you are eligible for both Fry Scholarship and DEA, you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the two programs when you apply. Dependents are not eligible to receive both DEA and Fry Scholarship based on the same event (like a Service member dying in the line of duty) unless he or she is a child whose parent died prior to August 1, 2011. A child whose parent died before August 1, 2011, may be eligible for both benefits but he/she may only use one program at a time and combined benefits are capped at a total of 81 months of full-time training. In this situation, the two benefit programs cannot be used concurrently.

You can find more information about this program on this page or by clicking on the link below:

Applicaiton Process

Application Process and Documentation for the Dependents' Educational Assistance Program:

  1. Apply for this benefit through the VonApp.
  2. Once the Application is completed through the VonApp, keep your confirmation page showing you applied for benefits.
  3. Once you have enrolled your Program Manager will walk you through the next steps in the process.  Documentation will be needed at that time, typically your DD-214 or other military paperwork.
  4. Once your benefits have been approved and process by the VA you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility Letter.  This must be submitted to the school.  The timeframe for receiving this letter can take up to 10-12 weeks.  This will not delay certification of your benefits or your ability to start school. However, you will not receive your Military Housing Allowance and/or the school will not receive tuition payment until the application has been processed.

If you have started your educational program, take your application to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to VA. He or she can submit an Enrollment Certification electronically using VA-ONCE.

Available Benefits and How They are Paid

Benefits are paid on a monthly basis directly to the Spouse or Dependent.  Since this benefit is paid directly to the student, most students have Federal Financial Aid in place or are required to have a payment plan in place for their tuition and fees.  For more information about paying for your tuition and fees, please contact the Military Specialist Team.

Please note:

Those eligible for DEA benefits may also be eligible for this additional assistance:

  • Special Restorative Training VA may prescribe special restorative training where needed to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability for the purpose of enabling an eligible person to pursue a program of education, special vocational program, or other appropriate goal. Medical care and treatment or psychiatric treatments are not included.
  • Special Vocational Training VA may also approve these benefits for an eligible person who is not in need of special restorative training, but who requires such a program because of a mental or physical disability.
  • Section 301 of Public Law 109-461 adds a new category to the definition of eligible person for DEA benefits. The new category covers the spouse or child of a person who VA determined has a service-connected permanent and total disability; and is at the time of VAs determination is a member of the armed forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and is likely to be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability. Persons eligible under this new provision may be eligible for DEA benefits effective Dec. 23, 2006, the effective date of the law.

Current payment rates can be found at:

Withdrawing From or Failing a Course

If you are considering or planning to withdraw from a course:

CONTACT A MILITARY SPECIALIST IMMEDIATELY

Withdrawing from or failing a course may result in an overpayment between the student and the VA that you may be responsible to repay.  Please contact a Military Specialist immediately if you are potentially withdrawing from or failing a course to discuss how this will impact your VA Benefits.