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12.13.2010

Chapter 35: Survivor & Dependent Educational Assistance Program

The military does try to take care of our own.  VA Chapter 35 is one such program. It is the Survivor and Dependent Educational Assistance Program designed to help military spouses and miltiary dependents reach their education goals through GI Bill like scholarships.  For our Service members, it is something you shold make sure you spouse knows about.

I have worked with two spouses - one who is going to earn her Masters' in Education and the other a Bachelor's in Business Administration.

From the VA Website:
Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. 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. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.


Eligibility
You must be the son, daughter, 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 servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.
Period of Eligibility

If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.

If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. If the VA rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008 and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.

For surviving spouses (spouses of servicemembers who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

Please don't hestitate to email us with any questions - here is a VA pamphlet on the Chapter 35 benefit.

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