Veterans Benefits For Dummies
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Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance is an education benefit for eligible spouses and children of certain veterans. Spouses and children can receive education benefits even if the veteran is not deceased.

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/on-the-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

To be eligible for this education program, you must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:

  • A veteran who is rated by the VA with a 100 percent service-connected disability.

  • A veteran who died from any cause while such a service-connected disability was in existence.

  • A service member missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force.

  • A service member forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.

  • A service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected, 100 percent permanent disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.

After finding a program approved for VA training, complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance. The form is available at VA regional offices and online at the VA's website.

You should submit the form to the VA regional office that serves the state where you will train.

How much does the VA pay for survivor's education?

The amount the VA pays is based on the type of training program and training time (full time, half time, so on). This program works much like the military GI Bill. You receive 45 months of full-time benefits. If you go to school half time, you receive 90 months of half-time benefits, and so on.

These tables show the education rates, effective October 1, 2008, depending on the type of training.

Education Rates for Institutionalized Training
Training Time Monthly Rate
Full time $915.00
Three-quarters time $686.00
Half time $456.00
Less than half time, more than one-quarter time $456.00
One-quarter time or less $227.75

When you train at less than half time, you’ll be reimbursed for tuition and fees only, up to the maximum monthly amounts shown on the chart. When you are enrolled in college at least half time, you’re paid the monthly amount shown, regardless of the cost of your college courses.

Farm Cooperative Training Rates
Training Time Monthly Rate
Full time $737
Three-quarters time $553
Half time $368

Full time means taking at least 12 credit hours in a term, or 24 clock hours per week. Three-quarters time is defined as at least 9 credit hours in a term, or 18 clock hours per week.

Half time means taking at least 6 credit hours in a term, or 12 clock hours per week. One-quarter time means taking at least 3 credit hours in a term, or 6 clock hours per week.

Apprenticeship and On-Job Training Rates
Training Period Monthly Rate
First six months of training $666
Second six months of training $499
Third six months of training $329
Remaining pursuit of training $166

Rates change October 1 of each year. For current rates, visit the GI Bill’s website.

Expiration of the VA survivor education benefits

Spouses and surviving spouses have ten years from the date the VA establishes eligibility to use the benefit. Surviving spouses of veterans who died while on active duty have 20 years from the date of the veteran’s death to use the benefit.

Children may use the benefit while they are between the ages of 18 and 26.

About This Article

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Rod Powers is a recognized expert in all U.S. military matters. A military author, his articles have appeared in numerous military and civilian publications. Powers is the co-author of the successful ASVAB For Dummies, 2nd Edition, and serves as a military guide for

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