Survivors and Dependent Assistance
There are two main GI Bill® programs offering education assistance to survivors and dependents of Veterans:
- The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) is available for children and spouses of Service-members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
- Eligible beneficiaries attending school may receive up to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level. Find out more information on payment rates. See the fact sheet, https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/docs/factsheets/fry_scholarship.pdf, which provides more detailed information.
- Children are eligible as of their 18th birthday (unless they have already graduated high school). A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible. If they became eligible before January 1, 2013 their eligibility ends on their 33rd birthday. The age limitation is removed if the child became eligible on or after January 1, 2013.
- Although surviving spouses do not have a time limit with which to use their benefits, they will lose eligibility to this benefit upon remarriage.
- Go here for information: https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Fry_scholarship.asp.
- The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of Veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
- You may receive up to 45 months of education benefits. Effective Oct. 1, 2013, some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for up to 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they use the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance program in conjunction with an entitlement from other VA education programs. Go here to view current payment rates: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.asp#ch35.
- You may be eligible for more than one of these programs. In most situations, you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the DEA program and Fry Scholarship when you apply. Beneficiaries are not able to use the same qualifying event for more than one benefit unless you are a child of a Service-member that died in the line of duty prior to August 1, 2011.
- For a view a comparison chart for spouses with both DEA and Fry scholarship eligibility, go here: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/survivor_dependent_assistance.asp.
State Dependent Exemption – Title 29
Dependents of Louisiana residents may be eligible for Louisiana’s Title 29 Dependents’ Educational Assistance. This state benefit provides tuition assistance at any state-supported college or university for surviving spouses of certain deceased or disabled war veterans and children of veterans with at least 90% service-connected disability. For more information or to apply for Title 29, contact your local Parish Veterans Service Office.
- Children and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service in the Armed Forces of the United States or died of a service connected disability incurred during a wartime period.
- Children of living veterans who are rated 90% or above disabled, including 100% individual unemployability, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "Schedule for Rating Disabilities," as a result of a disability or disabilities incurred in service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- Eligible students are exempt from paying tuition and school-imposed fees. Student-imposed fees are not exempt.
- Eligible students will receive a Fee Exemption Certificate from the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs. You must submit the original certificate to our office to receive the exemption.
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