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Survivors' and Dependants' Educational Assistance Programs

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Programs provide educational and training opportunities to eligible spouses and children of certain veterans.

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


The student must be the 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 active service in the Armed Forces.
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such 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.

Period of Eligibility

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, a student who wishes to receive benefits for attending school or job training must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. Students in the Armed Forces may not be eligible for this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, a discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can extend the period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension generally cannot go beyond a student's 31st birthday, however, there are some exceptions.

For spouses, benefits end 10 years from the date the VA finds the spouse eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. 
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. (benefits can't be paid before December 10, 2004 for anyone whose 10 year period ended prior to that date).

Note : These time limits can be extended under certain circumstances. For details, call 1-888-GIBILL-1 or visit the G.I.Bill website.

Monthly Payment

The amount VA pays is based on the type of training program and training time (i.e. full-time, half-time, etc). Benefits are paid monthly and in arrears. For example effective October 1, 2006, VA pays $860 a month for full-time training for a full month at a college or university. If attendance is less than a month or less than full-time, payments are reduced proportionately. Different payment rates can be found on our web site or by calling the VA at: 1-888-GIBILL-1.

How to Apply

After finding a program approved for VA training, complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance , and submit it to the VA regional office that serves the state where you will train. You can also apply online through our web site at If the student is a son or daughter under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

If the student has started training, he or she must take the application to their college'sveterans affairs representative. Have that person complete VA Form 22-1999 and the Enrollment Certification form, and send both forms to the VA.