Find out if you’re eligible for VA education benefits for dependents and survivors (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 be eligible for VA education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) if you’re the child or spouse of a service member and one of these descriptions listed is true of the service member.
- The service member died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, or
- The service member is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
- The service member was detained (held) by force while in the line of duty by a foreign government or power, or
- The service member 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 be eligible for VA education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) if you’re the veteran’s child or spouse and one of these descriptions listed is true of the veteran.
- The veteran is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
- The veteran 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.
What benefits can I get?
Two main GI Bill programs offer educational assistance to survivors and dependents of veterans: The Fry Scholarship and the DEA program. Both programs provide education and training, can be received simultaneously with VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and provide funding for tuition, housing, books and supplies.
The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
This scholarship is for children and spouses of:
- Active-duty service members who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, or
- Members of the Selected Reserve who died from a service-connected disability on or after September 11, 2001.
Coverage under this program includes:
- Full in-state tuition costs for training at public schools and up to $26,042.81 per year at private or foreign schools.
- Up to $1,000 a year, divided equally among terms, for books and supplies.
- Monthly housing allowance based on the local Basic Allowance for Housing.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program
This program offers education and training to qualified dependents of veterans who:
- Are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition, or
- Died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
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.
Coverage under this program is paid directly to the student monthly. The exact rate depends per student, but full-time training payments are currently around $1,298 per month.
For more information on these programs and how to apply, visit va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/dependents-education-assistance/.