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Chapter 35: Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.

For more information on the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or call 1-888-GI-BILL-1.

Tips for Applying

For dependents of permanent and total disabled veterans, or those who have died as a result of their VA-rated disability

  • You only need to fill out an application for the GI Bill® once; even if you switch schools. If you switch chapters, then you will need to apply for the new benefit
  • Apply for Benefits at
  • Under how do I apply select "find your education benefits form." Answer the questions as they apply to you and select apply now. Sign in to start your application. 
  • Fill out the online version of VA Form 22-5490 -The online application is very confusing; it will be helpful if you print a paper copy of the application to help navigate the online application
  • All questions are in reference to the student, unless it specifically asks for the veteran's information
  • At the end of your application, you will have an opportunity to upload documents in support of your claim. Uploading your documents at this time will help reduce the the amount of time needed for the VA to approve your claim. Documents must be under one megabyte in size. If you do not upload the documents during your application, you will need to fax or mail them to the VA. (VA fax: 314-552-9741).
    • Upload the VA award letter showing the disability percentage of the veteran. You do not need to upload the entire packet, just the page with the percentage (%).
  • Upon completing the application and document uploads, submit your application. Be sure to write down your "reference number"
  • Print a copy of your application for your records
  • After submitting your application you will need to complete a USD Veteran Information Sheet before we can send in the VA Form 22-1999 to begin your benefits.
  • The benefit approval process can take up to three months. If/when approved, the VA will send you a Certificate of Eligibility. Bring your Certificate of Eligibility to USD Veterans Services in the Registrar's Office, Belbas Center 212. The VA does not contact USD about your benefits; You will be the first to know. If you have any questions about the status of your claim, you will need to call the VA at 888-442-4551 or submit a question online at