Chapter 35 - Dependent Education Assistance

There is a little-known benefit available to children of 100% permanent and total disabled veterans. Dependent children who turn 18 years of age during their senior year of high school can start receiving Chapter 35 benefits while still attending high school.

100% permanent and total disabled spouses and dependent children are eligible to receive Dependent Education Assistance (DEA). Spouses are eligible for the benefit for 7 years from the date the veteran is rated 100% permanent and total disabled. Dependent children are eligible from age 18 through age 26.

Both spouses and dependent children receive 36 months of DEA benefits that can be used for college, On-the-Job Training (OJT), and/or apprenticeship programs. Dependent children who turn 18 during their senior year of high school can receive DEA benefits while attending high school full time.

The first 5 months after the child turns 18 are free and do not count against DEA benefit limits. After these 5 months, any DEA benefits taken during the dependent's senior year reduces their 36 total months of DEA benefits for college, OJT, and/or Apprenticeship on a month by month basis.

The monthly payment amount is the same for high school and college.

Please note that Congress is sunsetting this particular part of the DEA benefit effective August 1, 2026. After August 1, 2026, high school benefits will no longer be available.

  • What does DEA pay for 18-year-olds in high school?

    Eligible children receive approximately $1,400.00 per month from their 18th birthday until they graduate from high school. They can then enroll in college and still have 36 months of benefits to help pay for college tuition, OJT, and/or an apprenticeship program.

  • What is the process to use this benefit?
    1. The eligible student must apply for DEA on through the VA at This step activates the benefit and establishes eligibility for DEA. 
    2. The Georgia State Approving Agency (SAA) must approve the High School as a school eligible to certify students to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for payment. Once the High School is approved, the SAA will assist the school with the certification of the student to get the payments started.
  • How does this effect the veteran's disability payments?

    As part of disability compensation, veterans receive a certain amount of their disability payments based on the number of dependents they claim. Children are no longer eligible to be on the award once they turn 18.

    In most circumstances, VA allows children to remain on the award until they graduate high school. However, the DEA benefit in most cases exceeds what the veteran would usually receive with the child as part of their disability award.

  • How do I get started?

    Contact the Georgia State Approving Agency at [email protected] or (404) 656-2306 or 2322.

    We are happy to work with you through the entire process and answer any questions you have.