Are There Any Adult Child Military Benefits?

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Dear Q&B,

I have heard that adult children of military folks are entitled to some adult child military benefits. If so, what kind of benefits and where would I find or apply for them?

My father served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and was honorably discharged when his term was up. I was his fulltime caregiver for 10 years at home. He recently passed away in 2015 at 80 years old. I am a 52-year-old man interested in learning any information you may have regarding any entitlement I may have.

-- Adult Child

Dear Child,

I get a lot of questions about the military benefits to which grown children of former service members may be entitled. If you were told there are adult child military benefits for which you qualify, you were likely misinformed.

Most military benefits for non-disabled adult children at end age 21 -- and all of them disappear by age 27. If a child is a full-time college student, they can still receive Tricare until age 23. And parents can purchase an extended Tricare option, known as Tricare Young Adult, until they are 25. Also, if a child was transferred a service member parent's post-9/11 GI Bill benefit, she has until age 26 to use it. After that, all military benefits are over.

From the Department of Veterans Affairs, a non-disabled military child under age 26 might qualify for education benefits (and sometimes they give waivers for those over at that age) if their parent was killed in combat, died from a service-connected disability or has been ruled permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.

Sometimes, adult children who are full-time students also can receive health care through the VA. To be eligible for that, the parent must be rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or have died as the result of a service-connected disability or after being ruled permanently and totally disabled. That coverage ends at age 23 regardless of school enrollment.

All other benefits are reserved for disabled adult children. Those disabled adults who are fully dependent on their parents for care can continue to access Tricare or other benefits as if they were still under age 18.

Sorry for the bad news.

-- Team Q&B

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