Education - Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in Education/Training
December 19, 2018


The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents and survivors of certain Veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.


Education - Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA) is administered by Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

Program Requirements:

You must be a son, daughter, or spouse of a:

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

Reservists and National Guard members who are activated for Federal service OR who die/become disabled while on training status are considered Veterans.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and Veterans, once discharged.

Educational and Vocational assessment and counseling (Chapter 36) is available upon request for DEA participants through VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service.

Application Details

To complete an application, use VA Form 22-5490, "Dependents' Application for VA Educational Benefits." You can also complete the application online on VA's site.

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