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Are My Children Eligible for DEA Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My childrens’ father (we were not married) was in the Army and served for 4 years – he got out in 2001 or early 2002. Not sure exact time I would have to do some digging – he has now passed away. Would either of our children be able to use his GI Bill benefits? Our oldest daughter will be going to college in August 2011. I guess my question is – if this is possible where should I look to get information about this? Thanks!

A: If he passed away due to a service-connected disability, then they may each qualify for the Survivor’s and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program. Under this program, each of them could get up to 45 months of education benefit with pay up to $925 per month to go to school. They would have to use their education benefit between the ages of 18 and 26. After age 26, they would lose any remaining unused benefits.

Training programs included under the DEA program are both degree (undergraduate and graduate) and non-degree type training programs, such as trade, technical, license and certifications. The program will reimburse up to $2,000 for certification tests.

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