VA education benefits for survivors and dependents
Find out if you’re eligible for VA education benefits for dependents and survivors (also called Chapter 35 benefits). If you’re a dependent spouse or child—or the surviving spouse or child—of a Veteran, you may qualify for Chapter 35 benefits or job training through a GI Bill program.
Am I eligible for education benefits?
You may qualify for VA education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) if you’re the child or spouse of a service member and one of the below descriptions is true of the service member.
One of these must be true. The service member:
- Died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, or
- Is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
- Was detained (held) by force while in the line of duty by a foreign government or power, or
- Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability, and is likely to be discharged for that disability. A service-connected permanent and total disability is a disability resulting from your service that doesn’t go away.
You may qualify for VA education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) if you’re the child or spouse of a Veteran and one of the below descriptions is true of the Veteran.
One of these must be true. The Veteran:
- Is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
- Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability
If you’re a dependent who doesn’t meet the above criteria, you may still qualify for VA education benefits if the Veteran or service member transferred some or all of their Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement to you while they were on active duty.
Learn about transferred benefits
What benefits can I get?
- Education and training
- Money for tuition
- Money for housing
- Money for books and supplies
How do I get these benefits?
You’ll need to apply.
Apply for VA education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits).
There are 2 main GI Bill programs offering educational assistance to survivors and dependents of Veterans:
- The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) is for children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
Get more information about the Fry Scholarship
- The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training to qualified dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
Get more information about the DEA program
Note: You may qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and the DEA program, but you can use only one of them. You’ll have to pick one when you apply. Once you’ve made this decision, you can’t switch to the other program.
|Benefit payments||We pay the monthly amount directly to the student. The current monthly payment for full-time training is $1,224.||
|Duration of benefits||Spouses: 20 years from the service member’s date of death if they died on active duty, or 10 years from the date we determine they qualify or from the Veteran’s date of death (there may be exceptions).
Children: May use benefits between ages 18 and 26 (there may be exceptions).
|Spouses: 15 years from the service member’s date of death (but spouses lose this benefit if they remarry).
Children: Qualify as of their 18th birthday, and can use this benefit until their 33rd birthday.
|Maximum months of benefits||45 months||36 months|
|Spouse gets both DIC and education benefits at the same time||Yes||Yes|