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Family Member Program


The Family Member Program, under VA benefits, refers to a range of support services, resources, and benefits designed to assist military family members. These include spouses, children, and other dependents of veterans or active-duty service members. The program aims to promote their well-being, health, and overall quality of life through educational benefits, healthcare, employment assistance, financial support, and caregiver support.

Key Takeaways

  1. Family Member Program provides various benefits and support to eligible dependents and survivors of veterans, which may include education, vocational training, healthcare, and financial assistance.
  2. The program consists of several sub-programs like the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and various Tricare programs that cater to specific needs of the family members.
  3. Eligibility for the Family Member Program is dependent on the veteran’s service-connected disability status, active military service, and the relationship between the family member and the veteran.


The VA benefits term “Family Member Program” is important because it signifies the commitment of the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend essential benefits and support not only to veterans, but also to their immediate family members.

This program acknowledges the vital role that family members play in the well-being and success of veterans and ensures access to healthcare, education, insurance, financial assistance, and various other resources.

By addressing the needs of the entire family unit, the Family Member Program helps to create a stable and supportive environment for veterans, contributing to their successful reintegration into civilian life and positively impacting their overall quality of life.


The Family Member Program within VA benefits serves to provide valuable resources and support to the families of veterans, recognizing that they, too, require assistance in dealing with the various challenges that may arise as a result of their loved ones’ military service. The purpose of this program is to ensure that family members of veterans are not left behind in the complex process of adjusting to civilian life, as they often play a crucial role in the overall well-being and recovery of the veteran.

Additionally, families of veterans may also face unique stressors and challenges that necessitate tailored support services to address their specific needs. The Family Member Program covers a broad range of services and benefits, such as financial assistance, education opportunities, and healthcare, designed to improve the quality of life for both the veteran and their family, while also fostering a supportive environment that encourages successful reintegration into civilian society.

These programs cater to spouses, children, and dependent parents of veterans, and help them navigate the various educational, employment, and counseling resources that the VA has to offer. By focusing on the well-being of the entire family unit, the Family Member Program demonstrates a holistic approach to veterans’ care and reintegration, ultimately contributing to a more stable foundation for the veteran in their post-service life.

Examples of Family Member Program

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): The VA provides Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to surviving family members (spouse, children, or dependent parents) of veterans who have passed away due to service-related conditions or who were eligible for VA disability compensation at the time of their death. This program provides a monthly tax-free financial benefit to help support the financial needs of surviving family members.

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program: The VA offers the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program, also known as Chapter 35, to assist eligible family members of veterans in pursuing higher education. The DEA program provides education and training opportunities, including financial assistance for tuition, books, and other education-related expenses, to dependents and survivors of veterans with permanent and total disabilities related to their military service or who have died while on active duty. This program can be used for various educational pursuits, including college degree programs, vocational training, and on-the-job training.

Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA): CHAMPVA is a health care benefits program available to eligible family members (spouse and children) of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or who have died due to a service-related condition. CHAMPVA covers a range of medical services, including hospital and outpatient care, mental health, pharmacy, and preventive care. This program helps qualifying family members access necessary health care services without significant financial burden.

FAQ Section: Family Member Program

What is the Family Member Program and who is eligible?

The Family Member Program is an umbrella term for various benefits provided to eligible family members of veterans, including education, health care, employment, and counseling services. Eligible family members typically include spouses, dependent children, and surviving families of deceased veterans. However, eligibility may vary depending on the specific benefit in question.

How can spouses and dependents of veterans access educational benefits?

Spouses and dependents of veterans may qualify for educational benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Fry Scholarship, and the DEA program. To apply for these benefits, an eligible family member needs to complete the VA Form 22-1990E (Application for Family Member to use Transferred Benefits) and submit it through the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) website or mail it to the respective Regional Processing Office.

What health care benefits are available for dependents of veterans?

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) and TRICARE offer health care benefits for eligible dependents and spouses of veterans. These programs cover a wide range of medical services, including hospitalization, preventive care, dental care, prescription medications, and mental health services. Eligibility requirements may differ based on the specific program and individual circumstances.

What employment benefits and support are available for eligible family members?

Eligible family members can access various employment benefits and support services, such as career counseling, job training, and job placement assistance through the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services. Furthermore, spouses of active-duty service members can benefit from the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), which connects military spouses with various job opportunities and educational resources.

What counseling services are available for veterans’ family members?

Family members of veterans can access a range of counseling services, such as family therapy, bereavement counseling, and marriage counseling, through the VA’s Vet Centers. Moreover, the VA’s Coaching Into Care program offers coaching services to help family members support veterans dealing with mental health issues. Eligibility for these services usually extends to spouses, dependent children, and surviving families of deceased veterans.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Dependent Education Assistance (DEA)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (SDEA)
  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
  • Caregiver Support Program (CSP)
  • CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs)

Sources for More Information