Changes coming to VA education benefits

You get more money, but have less time to use it

Jonathan Kaupanger
July 11, 2018 - 11:58 am

Dreamstime

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There’s good and bad news for anyone using VA’s Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program.  The amount of money is being increased, but the time allotted to use it is being reduced

If you are already enrolled and taking classes, or your classes start by July 31, nothing is changing and you still have up to 45 months to use this entitlement.  For anyone starting classes on or after August 1, this education benefit is reduced to 36 months.  Then starting October 1, the monthly allowance is increased for everyone.

  • Full-time coursework is increased from $1,041 to $1,224 per month
  • Three-quarter time coursework is goes from $780 to $967 per month
  • Half-time coursework is bumped up from $519 to $710 per month

The DEA benefits are used for on-the-job training, apprenticeships and degree and certificate programs.  Spouses may use DEA to pay for correspondence courses, and with special approval, enroll in remedial, deficiency and refresher courses.

To qualify, you need to be related to a veteran who is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or one who died due to a service-connected condition.  Children and spouses of vets who are either missing in action or a prisoner of war are eligible for this benefit too. 

Before applying for DEA, make sure the program you want to take is approved for VA training.  You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool for more information.   Apply online by filling out the application, VA Form 22-5490.  Once completed, send it to the VA Regional Processing Office with jurisdiction over the state where you plan on going to school.  

If you’ve already started the education program, take the application to the school or employer and have them fill out VA Form 22-1999.  Both forms need to be sent to VA.

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