Survivors’ & Dependent Education Assistance Program (DEA)

Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance (DEA) Program is established by Chapter 35 of Title 38 U.S. Code. The DEA Program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of Veterans who are 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.

The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training as well as correspondence courses for Spouses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

Effective Oct 1, 2013, 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.

Note: If you are eligible for both Fry Scholarship and DEA, you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the two programs when you apply. Dependents are not eligible to receive both DEA and Fry Scholarship based on the same event (like a Service member dying in the line of duty) unless he or she is a Child whose parent died prior to August 1, 2011.

A Child whose parent died before August 1, 2011, may be eligible for both benefits but he/she may only use one program at a time and combined benefits are capped at a total of 81 months of full-time training. In this situation, the two benefit programs cannot be used concurrently.