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Chapter 35 (DEA)

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 hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective Dec. 23, 2006.

If you are eligible for the Fry Scholarship and DEA, you must make an irrevocable election between the two programs when applying. Dependents are not eligible to receive both DEA and Fry scholarships based on the same event (like a Service member dying in the line of duty) unless they are a child whose parent died before August 1, 2011. A child whose parent died before August 1, 2011, may be eligible for both benefits, but they may only use one program at a time, and combined benefits are capped at 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 by clicking HERE.

Applicaiton Process

Apply for the Dependents' Educational Assistance Program:

Click HERE to apply

  • Once the application is completed, keep your confirmation page showing that you applied for benefits.
  • Once the VA approves and processes your benefits, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility Letter.  This must be submitted to the school.  The time frame for receiving this letter can take 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. They can submit an Enrollment Certification electronically using VA-ONCE.

Available Benefits and How They are Paid

Monthly Payments and Other Important Information

Click HERE for current rates.

Amounts published are for a 30-day month of enrollment. We’ll pay you a percentage of the entire month’s rate based on the number of days and number of credits you’re enrolled in. We call this a prorated payment.

  • Less than 1/2-time and more than 1/4-time enrollment: Half-time enrollment amount for each month (or the cost of your tuition and fees, whichever is less).  

  • 1/4-time enrollment or less: click HERE for additional information. 

If your tuition and fees are less than the monthly rate, we’ll send you a lump sum (1 payment) at the start of each term. 

Benefits are paid monthly directly to the Spouse or Dependent.  Since this benefit is paid directly to the student, most students have Federal Financial Aid in place or must have a payment plan for their tuition and fees.  For more information about paying for your tuition and fees, please get in touch with 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 to enable an eligible person to pursue a program of education, particular 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 does not require 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 an eligible person for DEA benefits. The new category covers the spouse or child of a person who the VA determined has a service-connected permanent and total disability and is, at the time of the VA determination, a member of the armed forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment. It will likely be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability. Persons under this new provision may be eligible for DEA benefits effective Dec. 23, 2006, the law's effective date.

Withdrawing From or Failing a Course

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

Contact a Military Specialist at 1-866-245-9627

  • Withdrawing from the quarter or failing a course can result in an overpayment between the student, the school, and/or the VA. 
  • This overpayment will create a debt that can affect future payments from the VA.  
  • Click HERE for additional information about overpayments and debts