Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA)

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The following guide will help you determine if you are eligible and how to apply for the the Dept. of  Veterans Affairs DEA program.

The Survivor's and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. 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. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

2017-2018 DEA Payment Rates - these rates are effective October 1, 2017.

Type of Training

Full Time

3/4 Time

1/2 Time

<1/2 but >1/4 Time

1/4 Time







Farm Cooperative Training $837 $630 $417 N/A N/A


Special Restorative Training


Accelerated Charges - Cost of Tuition and Fees in Excess of $322

    Entitlement Reduced 1 day for each $34.70 (1/30th of fulltime rate)

Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training

First six month period:

  Second six month period: $571
  Third six month period: $375
  Remainder of program: $191

To be eligible, 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 service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • VA determines has a service-connected permanent and total disability; and
    • at the time of VA's 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.


If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot go beyond your 31st birthday.

If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. However, if you are a surviving spouse of a servicemember who died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

You should make sure that your selected program is approved for VA training. If you are not clear on this point, VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements.

Apply online using the VA's VETS.GOV website.

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