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Understanding Chapter 35 Benefits for Veterans

Veterans with permanent disabilities from their service can share education benefits with their dependents thanks to Chapter 35 Benefits. Learn more here.

Active duty service in the Army, Navy, and other military branches is not easy. The U.S. federal government recognizes the strength, bravery, and selflessness veterans have performed for their country through numerous financial aid and various assistance or benefits. 

Some of these can be passed onto the veterans’ dependents as well. One great example of such is the Chapter 35 benefits.

What Are the Chapter 35 Benefits?

Chapter 35 benefits are also known as the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program. This program is for veterans who may have suffered from permanent disabilities or died while serving on active duty. It also covers their dependents.

Under the survivor’s educational assistance program, eligible individuals can receive a monthly payment that aims to cover tuition assistance and help with other schooling and general education needs.

What Does Chapter 35 Cover?

The Ch 35 VA coverage allowance or stipend helps cover the tuition or cost of any of the following:

  • College or graduate degree programs

  • Business, technical, or vocational courses

  • High school diploma or GED

  • Apprenticeships

  • On-the-job training

  • Vocational rehabilitation

  • Educational and career counseling

  • Remedial, deficiency, or refresher training

  • National exams, such as SAT, LSAT, or GMAT

  • Preparatory courses for licensure or certification

  • Financial aid for books or school supplies

Who Are Chapter 35 Benefits For?

Unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Chapter 33 benefits, which are solely for service members who served on active duty, the Chapter 35 veteran education benefits are for surviving active duty veterans and their dependents. In this case, the dependents can be their spouses or children. 

What Is the Monthly Stipend for Chapter 35?

The Chapter 35 benefit rates will depend on the type of education or training program the eligible individual enrolls in, as well as whether they are attending part-time or full-time.

The latest published rates for October 2022 to September 2023 for universities and colleges are as follows:

  • Full-time: $1,488 per full month
  • 3/4-time: $1,176 per full month
  • 1/2-time: $862 per full month

Eligible individuals enrolled in trade and vocational programs can also expect the above rates based on their scheduled clock hours. Take note that individuals whose attendance is below a full month or less than full-time will receive reduced payments.

Meanwhile, veterans and dependents with apprenticeships or on-the-job training can expect the following monthly stipend:

  • First six months: $945 per full month
  • Second six months: $710 per full month
  • 13th to 18th months: $466 per full month
  • 19th month and beyond $237 per full month

How Long Can You Receive Chapter 35 VA Benefits?

The monthly stipend is provided as long as the eligible individual is enrolled in an academic or apprenticeship program and meets the necessary requirements or up to a maximum of 36 months — whichever comes first. 

However, there are some time limits to when you can receive the VA education benefits.

Children of surviving veterans can use their Chapter 35 tuition assistance as long as they are between 18 and 26 years old.

On the other hand, spouses and surviving spouses have either 10 or 20 years to use their benefits. Surviving spouses of service members who died while on active duty get 20 years. Spouses of veterans who are disabled may also get 20 years if the VA considers them permanently and totally disabled.

The counting of years starts when the VA office accepts their eligibility into the program or the death of their veteran spouse.

Are Chapter 35 VA Benefits Open to Dependents of Veterans?

Yes, the Chapter 35 VA benefits or educational assistance program is open to dependents of veterans.

How Do I Qualify for Chapter 35 Benefits?

Before utilizing military educational benefits, interested veterans and their dependents must first meet certain requirements. 

In order to qualify for Chapter 35 benefits, you must be any of the following or the dependent of a veteran or service member:

  • Died while serving on active duty or due to a service-connected disability

  • Was permanently and totally disabled while serving as an active duty service member

  • Died from any cause while having their service-connected disability 

  • Was declared missing in action or captured by a hostile force while on active duty

  • Was forcibly detained, held, or interned by a foreign entity while on duty 

  • Is currently hospitalized or receiving outpatient care for a service-connected disability

How Do I Apply for Chapter 35 Benefits?

If you qualify for Chapter 35 benefits, you can apply online or via mail. However, remember that you must first ensure that the school or certificate programs are approved for VA education benefits.

The online application is the easiest and most convenient. The entire process—from submitting required documents and filling out the VA form—is done on the VA website. For the mail application, you’ll need to print and fill out the VA Form 22-5490 and mail it to your state’s regional processing office.

Can My Chapter 35 Benefits Be Taken Away According to GPA?

This only happens in some cases. Although the VA Office does not have a GPA requirement, the school that veterans or their dependents enroll at can impose a minimum cumulative GPA.

Many colleges and universities ask students receiving Chapter 35 GI Bill benefits to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher per semester. Failure to maintain the minimum GPA could affect their future benefits certification.

What Other Educational Benefits Are Available for Veterans?

Aside from the Chapter 35 DEA benefits program, veterans also have other financial assistance options, like the Hazlewood Act, if they are interested in continuing education. Another benefit is the Fry Scholarship, while another is the Chapter 33 or Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The Fry Scholarship is also open for children and spouses of veterans. However, eligibility is limited only to dependents of service members who died in the line of duty while serving on or after 9-11. If you are eligible for both Fry Scholarship and the dependents’ education assistance program, you can only use one at a time.

For the Post-9/11 GI Bill, qualified veterans are only those who served on active duty or in selected reserve duty for at least 90 days.

Our Veteran Comittment

If you are struggling with your total and permanent Chapter 35 eligibility, Benefits can help you understand the requirements. We can also assist you in navigating the application process. If you are not qualified for the program, we can help you find other state or federal programs you may be eligible for.

Contact us today!

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