Chapter 35 Educational Benefits (Survivors and Dependents Assistance)

The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) benefits, also referred to as Chapter 35 education benefits, is one program that provides dependents of those that died while on active duty – or were disabled due to a service-related condition – crucial assistance for furthering their education.

If you are a member of the Military and your current obligations make it difficult to attend classes, ICDC College’s distance online learning – with curriculum in over 15 different programs -- may be a viable option. Coursework is available 24/7, so you can customize your career training around your busy schedule.


What is the Chapter 35 Veterans Benefits?

The “Chapter 35 VA Benefits” is in reference to Chapter 35 of Title 38 U.S. Code which established the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program.

The DEA Program provides education and training opportunities for eligible dependents of Veterans who were permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.

Eligible persons can receive up to 45 months of full-time or equivalent benefits for:

  • college, business, technical or vocational courses, high school diploma or GED, independent study or distance learning courses
  • correspondence courses (Spouses only), apprenticeship / job training
  • remedial, deficiency, and refresher training (in some cases)
  • the cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job

Note: Some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for up to 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they use the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance program in conjunction with an entitlement from other VA education programs.


Chapter 35 benefits Eligibility

DEA Chapter 35 benefits are available to the son, daughter (including stepchild or adopted Child), 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 or be aggravated by active service in the armed forces.
  • a Veteran with a permanent and total service-connected disability who dies from any cause
  • a Service member missing in action or captured in line of duty and is currently being held by a hostile force.
  • a Service member who is currently being forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • a Service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services or treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.

Current and surviving Spouses have 10 years from the date of established eligibility to use the benefit. Surviving Spouses may use DEA Chapter 35 20 years from the date of the Veteran's death to the benefit.

If the VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge, a Spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating.

Children may use DEA between the ages of 18 and 26, regardless of marital status.

Note: These limits can be extended under certain circumstances. The extension generally cannot go beyond the surviving Child's 31st birthday.


Chapter 35 application

To apply for these veterans’ dependents educational benefits:

  • Make sure your selected academic program is approved for VA training. VA can inform you and the school or company about the requirements.
  • To apply, obtain and complete VA Form 22-5490, Dependents Application for VA Education Benefits. Send it to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the state where you will advance your education and training. If you are under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.
  • If you have started your educational program, take your application to your school or employer. Ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999, Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to VA.

If you think you might be eligible and want to apply for DEA Chapter 35 benefits, then pick up the phone and call ICDC College at (888) 926-4232 today! Admissions Representatives from ICDC College’s Military Division are standing by to help make your career dreams a reality!

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