It is a daunting process to sort through the long list of available VA benefits, and many veterans may not be aware of all the things they may be eligible for. One of the lesser-known benefits commonly overlooked by veterans is the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program.
This program allows family members of service members with 100 percent service-connected disabilities or troops killed in action to obtain education and training compensation. Eligible dependents, including spouses and children between the ages of 18 and 26, can receive up to 45 months of education benefits in the form of a monthly stipend, which as of 2015 can be up to a maximum of $1,021 per month for students going to school full-time. This money is available to supplement the incomes of dependents as they participate in certificate programs, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or degree programs.
Children have up until the age of 26 to use the benefit, while spouses have 10 years from the veteran’s date of death or from the date the VA finds them eligible.
The DEA program is unconnected from the G.I. Bill implemented after 9/11. Thus, both programs cannot be used concurrently. Although the DEA program is more flexible in some respects, this program is not as comprehensive as the G.I. Bill.
Those who wish to apply should fill out and submit VA Form 22-5490 to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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