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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. 

Once a dependent (military child) starts receiving Chapter 35 DEA benefits, the parent veteran is no longer eligible to receive the additional monthly disability compensation for them. This is permanent even if the student stops using Chapter 35 DEA benefits. 

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 VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of three years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective Oct. 10, 2008, and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.

For surviving spouses of Service members who died on active duty, benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

Additional factors to consider:

  • What if I qualify for both DEA and the Fry Scholarship? You’ll need to pick one or the other. Once you make this choice, you can’t switch to the other program. Learn about the Fry Scholarship
    • Exception: If you’re the child of a service member who died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, you can use both DEA and the Fry Scholarship and get up to 81 months of education and training. You’ll need to use one program at a time
  • If you are over 18 years old and the child of a veteran using Chapter 35 DEA, you cannot receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from us. Learn about DIC
  • If you are the child of a veteran and eligible for Chapter 35 DEA and 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.
Reference the Chapter 35 DEA website for more information regarding Chapter 35 eligibility

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