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Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

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The Survivorsí and Dependents Educational Assistance Programs (DEA) provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition. Eligible dependents are:

  • children between ages 18 and 26, and are the dependents of a veteran who is permanently disabled due to a service-related condition; is listed as a POW or MIA; or who died in service, died of a service-connected disability or died while evaluated with a permanent service-related disability.
  • spouses of a veteran if the veteran or service member has a service-connected permanent disability or is listed as POW or MIA.
  • surviving spouses if the veteran died of a service-connected disability, died in service or died while evaluated with a permanent service-related disability. Surviving spouses whose benefits stopped when they remarried can regain DEA benefits if their remarriage separates or ends.

The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Spouses may take correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. You must complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance.

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