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Department ofVeterans AffairsDEPENDENTS'EDUCATIONALASSISTANCE PROGRAM(DEA)Chapter 35 of Title 38,U.S. CodeVA Pamphlet22-73-3, RevisedJanuary 2005Veterans BenefitsAdministrationWashington, DC 20420

Information in this pamphletwas current as of publication.Check www.gibill.va.gov forthe most current information.

C O N T E N T SINTRODUCTION . 1PART 1: ELIGIBILITY. 1ARE YOU ELIGIBLE? . 1HOW LONG CAN YOU RECEIVE BENEFITS?. 2ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SON ORDAUGHTER . 2How Long Are You Eligible? .2Effect of Your Active Duty onYour Eligibility .2Other Extensions of YourEligibility Period .3Circumstances Beyond Your Control .3While in Training .4If You Marry.4ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SPOUSE. 4How Long Are You Eligible? .4Veteran’s Disability .4Service Member Held Captiveor Missing .4Effect of Divorce on Your Eligibility .5Effect of Your Active Duty onYour Eligibility .5Other Extensions of YourEligibility Period .5Disability.5While in Training .5ELIGIBILITY PERIOD:SURVIVING SPOUSE . 6How Long Are You Eligible? .6Veteran Died of Service-ConnectedDisability .6Veteran Had Permanent and TotalService-Connected DIsability atTime of Death.6Veteran Died on Active Duty .6Effect of Your Active Duty onYour Eligibility .6i

ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SURVIVING SPOUSE(Cont.)Other Extensions ofYour Eligibility Period. 7Disability .7While in Training .7If You Remarry.7Before Age 57 .7After Age 57 .8YOUR ENTITLEMENT: HOW MANY MONTHSOF BENEFITS CAN YOU RECEIVE? . 8Effect of Your Active Duty on YourAvailable Months of Benefits .9How Do We Charge You for Use ofBenefits? .9CAN YOU BE ELIGIBLE FOR MORE THANONE VA EDUCATION BENEFIT?. 10WHAT IF YOU RECEIVE OTHER VABENEFITS AS THE VETERAN’SDEPENDENT? . 11PART 2: TRAINING . 11WHAT TRAINING CAN YOU TAKE? . 11Can You Receive Special RestorativeOr Specialized Vocational Training?.13Can You Receive Benefits for a Testfor a License or Certification? .13Can You Receive Benefits for TestsRequired for Admissions toCertain Programs? .14Can You Receive Benefits for Tests forCourse Credit at Colleges andUniversities?.14Can You Receive Benefits for Remedial,Deficiency, or Refresher Training? .14Can You Receive Tutorial Assistance? .14Can You Receive Work-Study Benefits?.15WHAT ARE RESTRICTIONS ON TRAINING?.16CAN YOU RECEIVE COUNSELING?. 17CAN YOU GO PART-TIME? . 18CAN YOU CHANGE PROGRAMS?. 18MUST YOU MAINTAIN SATISFACTORYATTENDANCE, CONDUCT, ANDPROGRESS? . 18ii

PART 3: RECEIVING PAYMENTS . 19HOW MUCH EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCEWILL YOU RECEIVE? . 19PAYMENT CHART .20HOW DO YOU APPLY FOR BENEFITS?. 21How Do You Get and Submit theApplication for Benefits? . 22Where Should You Send YourApplication?. 23Training Outside the 50 States and theDistrict of Columbia . 24HOW DO YOU RECEIVE PAYMENTS? . 24Certifying Your Enrollment. 24Verifying Your Continued Enrollment . 24What If You Don’t Receive a Payment orVerification Form?. 27Should You Get an Advance Payment?. 28How Can You Get an Advance Payment?. 28What Happens if You Drop Oneor More Courses? . 29What Happens if You Receive a GradeThat Doesn’t Count?. 30PART 4: OTHER IMPORTANTINFORMATION . 30WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES FORNOTIFYING VA?. 30WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU DISAGREE WITHA VA DECISION? . 31HOW CAN YOU PREVENT ANOVERPAYMENT?. 31PART 5: WHERE DO YOU GO FORHELP? . 32HOW DO YOU CONTACT VA? . 32HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT ABOUT OTHERFINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOREDUCATION? . 33iii

INTRODUCTIONThis pamphlet provides a general description of theDependents’ Educational Assistance program, or DEA(chapter 35 of title 38, U. S. Code). The DEA programprovides education and training opportunities toeligible dependents and survivors of certain veterans.We in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) whoproduce this pamphlet hope that it will be a helpfulguide for you. The pamphlet doesn’t cover everyexception to the rules and regulations, but gives you ageneral summary of the benefits available under thisprogram.So please don’t rely on this pamphlet to determineif you’re eligible for education benefits. To receivea formal decision from VA, you must file a claimfor benefits. (See How Do You Apply ForBenefits?)We try to cover the main questions you may haveabout DEA benefits, including!"!"!"!"!"!"!"!"Eligibility rules (summarized)Types of training available under DEAHow the program works, includingPayment ratesHow to applyHow you’ll receive paymentsWhat you need to know during yourtraining, andWhere you can go for more helpPART 1: ELIGIBILITYARE YOU ELIGIBLE?To be eligible, you must be a spouse, son, or daughter(including stepchild or adopted child), of a!"Veteran who is permanently and totallydisabled as the result of, or dies of, a serviceconnected disability. The disability must ariseout of or be aggravated by active duty.!"Veteran with a permanent and total serviceconnected disability who dies from any cause.1

!"Service member who is missing in action or iscaptured in line of duty and is currently beingheld by a hostile force.!"Service member who is currently beingforcibly detained or interned in line of duty bya foreign government or power.HOW LONG CAN YOU RECEIVE BENEFITS?Generally, you may receive benefits until youreligibility period ends or you use all your entitlement,whichever comes first. (We use the term entitlementto mean the number of months of benefits you mayreceive.) We’ll discuss your eligibility and yourentitlement separately. (See pages 7 and 8 forinformation on entitlement.)ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SON OR DAUGHTERHow Long Are You Eligible?As a son or daughter (including stepchild or adoptedchild), as long as you have entitlement left, you maygenerally receive benefits under this program from age18 to 26 (eight years).However, in certain instances, you may begin beforeage 18 and continue after age 26. In some instances,you may choose among possible beginning dates. Ifwe find that you’re eligible, we’ll notify you of yourpossible beginning dates and ending dates based onyour claim.Effect of Your Active Duty on Your EligibilityFollowing are the effects of active duty on your periodof eligibility. See also Effect of Active Duty on YourAvailable Months of Benefits on page 8.2

!"You may not receive DEA benefits while onactive duty in the Armed Forces.!"To receive DEA benefits after military service,your discharge must not be underdishonorable conditions.!"We can generally extend your eligibility periodfor eight years from the date of your firstunconditional release from active duty, if yourservice was between ages 18 and 26. But thisextension can’t go beyond your 31st birthday.!"If, on or after September 11, 2001, you werecalled to active duty under title 10, U.S. Code,(federal authority) or if you were involuntarilyordered to full-time National Guard duty undersection 502 (f) of title 32, U.S. Code (Stateauthority), in most cases we can extend youreligibility period for DEA by the number ofmonths and days you spent on active dutyplus four months. This extension may gobeyond your 31st birthday, depending on thefacts in your claim.Other Extensions of Your Eligibility PeriodCircumstances Beyond Your ControlIf you provide evidence that you had to stoptraining because of conditions beyond yourcontrol, in some cases we can extend youreligibility for the period you had to stoptraining.Circumstances that may be consideredbeyond your control (if verified by evidence)include:!"Service in an official missionary capacity!"Immediate family or financial obligations thatrequire you to stop training, for example, totake employment!"Unavoidable conditions of your employmentthat require you to stop training!"Your illness, or death or illness in yourimmediate family3

While In TrainingIf you’re enrolled in training when youreligibility ends, in most cases we can extendyour eligibility to the end of the semester orquarter, or to the end of 12 weeks if thecourse isn’t operated on a semester orquarter basis.If You MarryAs a son or daughter, marriage doesn’t affect yourperiod of eligibility.ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SPOUSEThroughout this pamphlet, we use the term “spouse”to mean the spouse of a living veteran, and “survivingspouse” to mean the spouse of a deceased veteran. Ifyou’re the veteran’s surviving spouse, see EligibilityPeriod: Surviving Spouse on the following page.How Long Are You Eligible?Veteran’s DisabilityIf you’re a spouse and you’re eligible because theveteran has a permanent and total serviceconnected disability, benefits generally end 10years from one of the following dates:!"effective date of the veteran’s permanent andtotal disability evaluation!"date VA notifies the veteran of the permanentand total disability evaluation!"beginning date you choose, between the dateyou become eligible and the date VA notifiesthe veteran of the permanent and totaldisability evaluationService member held captive or missingIf you’re a spouse and you’re eligible because theveteran or service member is being held or ismissing, as4!"a prisoner of war!"missing in action, or!"forcibly held by a foreign government orpower,

your 10-year period of eligibility begins on the 91stday after the date the service member was listed asa captive or missing.If the veteran or service member is released fromcaptivity, or is determined to be alive and no longermissing, your period of eligibility ends on that date.If you’re enrolled in training on that date, youreligibility may be extended to the end of the term orcourse.Effect of Divorce on Your EligibilityIf marriage to the veteran ends in divorce, youreligibility for DEA benefits ends on that date. But ifyou’re in training, and the divorce occurs throughno fault of yours, we can extend your eligibility asexplained below under While in Training.Effect of Your Active Duty on Your EligibilityFollowing are the effects of active duty on youreligibility period:!"You may not receive DEA benefits while onactive duty in the Armed Forces.!"To receive DEA benefits after military service,your discharge must not be underdishonorable conditions.!"If, on or after September 11, 2001, you werecalled to active duty under title 10, U.S. Code(federal authority) or involuntarily ordered tofull-time National Guard duty under section502 (f) of title 32, U.S. Code (State authority),in most cases we can extend your eligibilityperiod for DEA by the number of months anddays you spent on active duty plus fourmonths.Other Extensions of Your Eligibility PeriodDisabilityWe may be able to extend your 10-year eligibilityperiod by the amount of time you were preventedfrom training during that period because of adisability you incurred.While in TrainingIf you’re enrolled in training when your eligibilityends, in most cases we can extend your eligibility tothe end of the semester or quarter, or to the end of5

12 weeks if the course isn’t operated on a semesteror quarter basis.ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: SURVIVING SPOUSEHow Long Are You Eligible?Veteran Died of Service-Connected DisabilityIf you’re an eligible surviving spouse and theveteran died of a service-connected disability, youmay choose the beginning date for your 10-yearperiod of eligibility. That date must be between thedate of death and the date we determine that thedeath was due to service-connected disability.Veteran Had Permanent and Total ServiceConnected Disability at Time of DeathIf you’re an eligible surviving spouse and theveteran had a permanent and total serviceconnected disability at time of death, the beginningdate of your 10-year period is the date of death.Veteran Died on Active DutyIf you’re an eligible surviving spouse and yourspouse died on active duty, your eligibility period is20 years from the date of death.**Note: This is a change in law that becameeffective December 10, 2004. If you werepreviously eligible based on your spouse’s death onactive duty, and your 10-year eligibility periodexpired before December 10, 2004, you now havea new eligibility period of 20 years from the date ofyour spouse’s death. However, in those cases wecan pay only for training that began on or afterDecember 10, 2004.Example: A veteran died on active duty on July 1,1985. Until the change in the law, the survivingspouse’s 10-year eligibility period would haveended on July 1, 1995. Now, the surviving spousehas a new eligibility period ending on July 1, 2005.However, VA can pay only for training that beganon or after December 10, 2004.Effect of Your Active Duty on Your EligibilityFollowing are the effects of active duty on youreligibility period:!"6You may not receive DEA benefits while onactive duty in the Armed Forces.

!"To receive DEA benefits after military service,your discharge must not be underdishonorable conditions.!"If, on or after September 11, 2001, you werecalled to active duty under title 10, U.S. Code(federal authority) or involuntarily ordered tofull-time National Guard duty under section502 (f) of title 32, U.S. Code (State authority),in most cases we can extend your eligibilityperiod for DEA by the number of months anddays you spent on active duty plus fourmonths.Other Extensions of Your Eligibility PeriodDisabilityWe may be able to extend your 10-year eligibilityperiod by the amount of time you were preventedfrom training during that period because of adisability you incurred.While in TrainingIf you’re enrolled in training when your eligibilityends, in most cases we can extend your eligibility tothe end of the semester or quarter, or to the end of12 weeks if the course isn’t operated on a semesteror quarter basis.If You RemarryThe following explains the effects of remarrying onyour DEA benefits.Before age 57If you remarry before age 57, your eligibility endson the date of remarriage.Can benefits be reinstated? If you remarriedafter November 30, 1999, and your remarriageends, we may reinstate your eligibility to DEA.The remarriage must be ended by death, divorce,or because you stopped living with your spouseand stopped holding yourself out to the public asthe person’s spouse.If you remarried after October 31, 1990, butbefore November 30, 1999, we can’t reinstateyour eligibility, even if your remarriage ends.7

After age 57If you remarry on or after January 1, 2004, andyou’re 57 or older, you can still be eligible for DEAbenefits.If you remarried after age 57 and before December16, 2003, you must have applied in writing beforeDecember 16, 2004, for eligibility to be reinstated.Note: Remarrying after age 57 doesn’t extend the10-year period of eligibility that you establishedbefore you remarried.Example: A surviving spouse established eligibilityfor a 10-year period ending on November 15, 2005,which is 10 years from the date of the veteran’sdeath. She remarried in April 2004 at age 58.She will keep her eligibility for DEA throughNovember 15, 2005.YOUR ENTITLEMENT: HOW MANY MONTHS OFBENEFITS CAN YOU RECEIVE?The following applies to sons and daughters (includingstepchildren and adopted children), spouses andsurviving spouses.You may be entitled to receive up to 45 months ofDEA benefits. You may receive a maximum of 48months of benefits combined if you’re eligible undermore than one VA education program.For example, let’s say you’re eligible as a veteranyourself and also as a veteran’s dependent. As aveteran, you had already used 30 months of benefitsunder the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty program.You could then have 18 months of benefits remainingunder the DEA program.8

Effect of Your Active Duty on Your AvailableMonths of BenefitsIf you’re called up to active duty under title 10, U.S.Code (federal authority) while you’re receivingbenefits, and you have to drop out of school withoutreceiving credit, we’ll restore (give you back) themonths of benefits you used for that period of training.Example: You attend two months of fall term and haveto drop out, receiving no credit. You can keep thebenefits you received for that period. We’ll add backtwo months of benefits that you can use at a later time.If you’re called up under title 32, U.S. Code (Stateauthority), we can’t restore the months of benefits youused.How Do We Charge You for Use of Benefits?You’re charged one full day for each day of full-timebenefits paid. Entitlement is charged in months anddays. Each month is counted as 30 days. If you trainpart-time, we adjust the entitlement charge accordingto your training time.For example, if you’re attending college for 90 days(three months) at the full-time rate, you’ll be chargedthree months of benefits. If you attend for 105 days atthe full-time rate, your benefits charge will be 3.5months.Effective October 1, 2005, the rules for chargingentitlement for apprenticeship and on-the-job (OJT)programs change. During the first six months, thecharge is 75% of the full-time rate. For the second sixmonths, the charge is 55% of the full-time rate. Forthe rest of the program, the charge is 35% of the fulltime rate.For correspondence courses, tests for licenses orcertifications, preparatory tests for college or graduateschool entrance exams, national admission exams,and national exams for college or university credit, wedetermine the entitlement charge by dividing theamount you were paid by the monthly rate for full-timetraining.Example: If you receive 456.50 for a test for alicense, and your full-time rate is 803, divide 456.50by 803. Your entitlement charge is one-half month.9

CAN YOU BE ELIGIBLE FOR MORE THAN ONE VAEDUCATION BENEFIT?You can be eligible for more than one VA educationbenefit. If you are, you must elect which benefit toreceive. You can’t receive payment for more than onebenefit at a time. Following are the other benefits andWeb addresses where you can get more information:OTHER VA EDUCATION BENEFITS!"For the following programs, go towww.gibill.va.gov:#"!Montgomery GI Bill – Active DutyEducational Assistance Program(MGIB – AD)#"Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve(MGIB – SR)#"Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ EducationalAssistance Program (VEAP)#"#"#"#"!"!"Educational Assistance Test Program(Section 903 of Public Law 96-342)Educational Assistance Pilot Program(Section 901 of Public Law 96