What is the Dependents Education Assistance (DEA)?

The children of soldiers and military veterans may qualify for benefits from the Dependents Education Assistance program. Also known as the DEA program, it is similar to the GI Bill. While the GI Bill provides educational benefits to veterans and enlisted military men and women, this program applies to the children and dependents of those men and women. Though the program is open to those between the ages of 18 and 26, it does have some requirements that you must meet before applying.

What Education Does the Program Cover?

The DEA program offers cash benefits that the dependents of veterans can use for their educational expenses. Though you might assume that you can only use the money for college tuition, you can also use those funds to pay for a vocational training program, an online degree program or a certification program. It also applies to programs where you work as an apprentice until you develop the skills needed to work in that job field on your own. Some students use the benefits to cover their expenses while they go through a job training program, too.

Who is Eligible?

This program is only open to the dependents of veterans who meet a specific designation. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the parent or guardian must have a disability that occurred because of his or her military service, be someone who is detained as the result of military duty or be an active duty soldier and currently seeking treatment for an injury that occurred while on duty. The dependents of veterans who are either missing in action or were killed in action also qualify for this program. If a veteran suffered injuries on the job and died from those injuries, his or her dependents also qualify.

How Long Will Benefits Last?

As with the GI Bill, the Dependents Education Assistance program does not provide unlimited funds to applicants. Most of those who qualify for the program will receive benefits for a period of 45 months, but there are some instances where applicants get benefits for more than 80 months. The program also allows you to take time off. If you start receiving benefits, take a few months off from school and later go back to school, you can still use those benefits. The program will simply take away the months you used previously from the total amount of months remaining.

Amount of Money Provided

This program bases the amount that dependents can get off the program they enroll in and the number of credits they take. Those going to college full time will get around $1,000 a month, but those who go part time may get less than $400 a month. Those who apply for benefits while working as an apprentice or going through job training will get a larger amount during the first six months and a smaller amount each additional six months that they spend in that program. There are also benefits available for those going through a farm cooperative training program.

As the son or daughter of an active duty soldier or a veteran, you may qualify for educational benefits through a benefits program. Also known as the Dependents Education Assistance program, the DEA is open to the children of military men and women who suffered injuries, lost their lives or are missing in action.