Vocational Training for Children with Spina Bifida or Certain Birth Defects

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in Disability Assistance
December 19, 2018


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a monthly monetary allowance, health care specific to the disability, and vocational training, if reasonably feasible, for biological children diagnosed with Spina Bifida (except Spina Bifida Occulta) and certain other birth defects, born to Vietnam Veterans who meet certain criteria.

This program enables a qualified child to prepare for and attain suitable employment. Services may include counseling and rehabilitative services, education, training, and employment services leading to suitable employment. VA pays for the cost of these services.

A vocational training program may not begin before a child's 18th birthday or the date of completion of secondary schooling, whichever comes first. Depending on the need, a child may be provided up to 24 months of full-time training.

Entitlement to vocational training is based on eligibility determinations made by the VA regional office. If the VA regional office grants a monthly monetary award for an individual with spina bifida, the individual should contact the local VA regional office to request vocational training.


Vocational Training for Children with Spina Bifida or Certain Birth Defects is administered by Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Program Requirements:

In order to be considered for this benefit program, you must be the biological child of a Veteran who served in Vietnam or in the Korean demilitarized zone during certain periods in the 1960s or 1970s. You must have been conceived after the Veteran served in one of those two places.

Military Service Rules

The Veteran parent must have-

  • Served in Vietnam during the period beginning January 9, 1962, and ending May 7, 1975, OR
  • Served at or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) during the period beginning September 1, 1967, and ending August 31, 1971.

The Gender of the Veteran Parent 

The rules for Spina Bifida are different from the rules for other covered birth defects:

  • If you have Spina Bifida, you may qualify if either your father or your mother served in one of the situations described above.
  • If you have another kind of birth defect, you qualify only if it was your mother who served in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone


Your Own Disability
You must have been diagnosed with Spina Bifida or another covered birth defect.


Application Details

To complete an application, use VA Form 21-0304, "Application for Benefits for Certain Children with Disabilities Born of Vietnam and Certain Korea Service Veterans."

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