Survivors’ and Dependents' 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, if you began using the program before August 1, 2018. If you began your program on August 1, 2018 or after, you have 36 months to use your 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 October 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 they are 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 they 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.
The return home from combat can often leave servicemembers feeling out of place with the most important people in their lives - their families.
"In deployment, Soldiers grow accustomed to a new lifestyle and a new 'family' - those buddies that bond together to defend each other," said Maj. Ken Williams, 14th Military Police Brigade chaplain. "This lifestyle change is prolonged and becomes familiar, i.e., the new normal."
The families also change while the Soldier is deployed.
"The family is a system," Williams said. "When one family member is absent, the whole system changes. All members of the family adapt to a new 'normal' way of life."
When the servicemember returns, the family may feel uncomfortable with each other, and the servicemember may withdraw from the family.