Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance


To provide educational opportunities to the dependents of certain disabled and deceased veterans.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
C - Direct Payments For Specified Use
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2007 In fiscal year 2007, there were 77,436 students trained. Estimates for subsequent periods are: fiscal year 2008, 80,409 students, and fiscal year 2009, 82,728 students.
Fiscal Year 2019 In FY 2019, 128,075 Survivors and dependents trained. (FY 20 est.: 149,931; FY 21 est.: 167,516)
Fiscal Year 2022 Per the Veterans Benefits Administration’s 2022 Annual Benefits Report, 183,944 beneficiaries received benefits using chapter 35, Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA).
Public Laws 86-236, 89-358, 90-631, 92-540, 93-508, 94-502, 95-202, 96-466, 98-460, 101-237, 101-508, 102-127, 102-568, 103-446, 104-275, 105-114, 105-206, 106-117, 106-419, 107-103, 107-330,108-183, and 108-454; 38 U.S.C., chapter 35.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Spouses, surviving spouses, and children (including stepchild or adopted child) between age 18 and 26 of veterans who died from service-connected disabilities, of living veterans whose service-connected disabilities are considered permanently and totally disabling, of those who died from any cause while such service-connected disabilities were in existence, of servicepersons who have been listed for a total of more than 90 days as currently missing in action, or as currently prisoners of war, a service member who VA determines has a service connected permanent and total disability and at the time of VA's determination is a member of the Armed Forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and is likely to be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability. Children under the age of 18 may be eligible under special circumstances.
Beneficiary Eligibility
See Applicant Eligibility.
Military discharge certificate, death certificate, or official document verifying Prisoner of War (POW) status or Missing in Action (MIA) status, marriage certificate, and birth certificate(s).
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. An application, VA Form 22-5490 for a child, spouse or surviving spouse may be obtained from any VA Regional Office and submitted to the appropriate VA Regional Processing Office.
Award Procedure
Awards are authorized at the regional processing office.
None, but the period of eligibility for a spouse generally extends no later than the 10 years from the date the veteran was notified of the service-connected permanent and total disability, or from the date the serviceperson was listed for a total of more than 90 days as currently missing in action or listed as a prisoner of war. The period of eligibility for a surviving spouse generally extends no later than 10 years from the date VA notifies the surviving spouse that the death was service-connected and no later than 20 years for the surviving spouse of a veteran who dies while on active duty. The period of eligibility for a child generally extends to the 26th birthday, subject to certain exceptions.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
In the event of a denial or disagreement, a notification letter will be sent to advise of applicable review/appeal options, associated filing requirements and time limits.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Not applicable.
How may assistance be used?
Participants may pursue: (1) courses at colleges and universities leading to associate, bachelor or graduate degrees (including courses taken via accredited independent study, provided those courses lead to a standard college degree or a certificate that reflects educational attainment offered by an institution of higher learning); (2) courses leading to a certificate or diploma from colleges or universities or from business, technical or vocational schools; (3) apprenticeship or on-the-job training programs; (4) correspondence courses, but only for spouses and surviving spouses; (5) state-approved teacher certification programs; (6) preparatory courses for tests necessary for admission to a college or graduate school; (7) reimbursement for licensing and certification tests approved for veterans; (8) reimbursement for national exams for admission to college or for college credit; (9) courses leading to a high school diploma or equivalent. A special restorative training benefit is available for both children and spouses who need to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability so that they will be able to pursue a program of education. A specialized vocational training program is available for those who are not in need of special restorative training but require specialized vocational training because of a mental or physical handicap.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
If you’re the child of a Veteran or service member you can receive benefits if you’re between the ages of 18 and 26, except in certain cases. You may be married or unmarried. If you’re the spouse of a Veteran or service member your benefits start on the date VA concludes that you qualify or on the date of the Veteran’s death and benefits last for 10 years. If VA rated the Veteran as permanently and totally disabled, with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge, surviving spouses qualify for benefits for 20 years from that effective date. If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death. Method of awarding/releasing assistance:
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Appendix IV of the Catalog for Veterans Benefits Administration field offices.
Headquarters Office
Education Service-Stakeholder Engagement
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420 USA
Phone: (202) 461-9800

Education Service-Stakeholder Engagement
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420 USA
Phone: (202) 461-9800
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 22$1,255,511,000.00; FY 23 est $1,505,373,000.00; FY 24 est $1,910,477,000.00; FY 19$861,152,000.00; FY 20 est $1,029,980,000.00; FY 21 est $1,177,324,000.00; FY 07$423,335,000.00; FY 08 est $450,646,000.00; FY 09 est $478,067,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Not applicable/available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
38 CFR 21.3001 - 21.3344; "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents," VA Pamphlet 80-0-01, can be viewed using the following link -
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.