Every April, the nation celebrates the Month of the Military Child – a time that honors all military children for their dedication and sacrifices. At VA, we honor military children year-round by providing them earned benefits. Dependents and surviving children of Veterans and service members may qualify for certain benefits, such as life insurance, education services and health care.

Dependent children may qualify for Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage if the service member is on active duty and covered by full-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI), or is a member of the National Guard or Ready Reserve and covered by full-time SGLI. There is no cost for coverage up to $10,000 for each dependent child. Beneficiaries of a Veteran’s or service member’s policy can also receive free financial planning and online will preparation services.

Education Benefits

Dependent children, using benefits transferred by an eligible Veteran or service member, qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefit for up to 36 months to help pay for school or training.

VA may also be able to help pay for school or job training through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education and Assistance (DEA) Program (Chapter 35). Additionally, DEA offers monthly payments to help cover the cost of degrees, certificates, correspondence courses and apprenticeships for children between the ages of 18 and 26 of a Veteran or service member.

Children of a parent who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible to apply for The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship), which offers money for tuition, housing, books and supplies.

Survivors Benefits

Unmarried adult dependent children and minor dependent children can apply for burial in a VA national cemetery even if the service member or Veteran has already passed away. Eligible dependent children may also qualify for grief counseling and transition support.

Unmarried dependent children of deceased wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress may qualify for monthly payments through VA’s Survivors Pension program.

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit available to surviving children of service members who died in the line of duty or Veterans who died from a service-related injury or illness.

Dependent children of an active-duty, retired or deceased service member, National Guard member, Reservist or Medal of Honor recipient may qualify for the TRICARE program, which offers comprehensive health care coverage.

Children of Veterans with disabilities or service members who died in the line of duty may also be eligible for insurance through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), which covers some of the cost of health care services and supplies.

VA serves and honors Veterans by supporting their families and survivors with world-class benefits and services. Learn more about the benefits and services available to military children at: https://www.va.gov/family-member-benefits/.

Michael Frueh is the principal deputy under secretary for benefits with the Veterans Benefits Administration.

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Published on Apr. 1, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 3,120


  1. Richard LaRouche April 7, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    The education benefits is not true, im 90% with UI and my 18 yr old gets zero education benefits

    • Johnnie Martin April 8, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Richard-The big thing with IU (not UI) is—Are you also rated P&T (Permanent and Total)? Your rating letter awarding you IU, will also state if you are Permanent and Total. That makes a big difference in CH-35 Dependent educational benefits. You should also look at what benefits your state offers disabled veterans. Many also offer dependent educational benefits for spouse and children of disabled vets. If you are not rated P&T, contact your local state VA office and talk to them about it.

    • Jessica Wagaman April 8, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Richard – this also REALLY depends as well What state you select to live in. California has a CALVet for children of disabled even if your have as little as 30% rating, once they take in your papers, proof of not filing taxes – qualify for free tuition at University of CA or State Universities. Texas is another Veteran friendly state to live.

  2. SHARON HOOVER April 7, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    My husband was in viet nam, artillery. Big guns. We have tried since 1980 to get his hearing treated and considered a disability. I live everyday wth a ptsd hard of hearing man who served his country and came home to disgust and disdain. We are just so tired of the fight for benefits. If one of the people on the board of approvals stood next to one of the guns my husband was on every single day, they would freak out and claim their hearing was ruined. What is wrong wth our country? Support the people who keep the paper pushers safe.

    • Johnnie Martin April 8, 2021 at 9:17 am

      Sharon, if your husband has already filed a claim and been denied, consider contacting a Lawyer who handles VA disability claims. Google them and bunches of names will appear. Most offer free consultations-and they do not need to be in person. Check out the list of accredited VA lawyers on the Court of Veterans Appeals (CVA) web site. Also, consider talking with your local state VA office. I stay away from the veterans organizations because it is a hit or miss on the quality of them. If he is not already enrolled in the VA healthcare system-do that first. It is very easy to do. Good Luck.

    • Edsel Clarke April 9, 2021 at 9:05 am

      I am a Vietnam combat Vet, artillery as well, I did not apply until I was 73 years old. I’m located in Pensacola, FL.
      I was found to have hearing loss, however, it was my FULL TIME Tinnitus, that qualified for disability compensation AND hearing aids!! They are state of the art hearing aids, and prescribed precisely for me. I suggest that you contact a Veterans Claim Examiner, which will be a Division of Veterans’ Benefits and Assistance. (who works for your state, Department of Veterans affairs). Mine is located at the veterans clinic.
      The process was a simple hearing test, followed by the Veterans’ Examiner, completing a application for C&P for me.
      I am 100% satisfied with the hearing aids, and the service provided by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. In addition, definitely, enroll in the VA healthcare, for professional health care, provided by the best Doctors.
      An attorney is not necessary, particularly when assistance is provided at the VA clinic, at no cost. Best of luck! God Bless.

  3. Kim Ridgeway April 7, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    I love the VA here in Phoenix. They treat me like a king and I could not ask for better care. My father was a veteran of WWII and the VA helped him many times with superior service as well. We are so fortunate to have such care in our country.

  4. Joe Rowland April 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Where two comments I made about va employ stealing from veterans n it worst medical care in the free world

    • Ken Neubauer April 7, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      How do I find out about the post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) ?

      • Johnnie Martin April 8, 2021 at 9:33 am

        Ken-Google it (post 9/11 GI Bill) and/or go to your local state VA office. Also talk with the college/university you are interested in-they have offices devoted to helping veterans.

    • Col John J Cav April 7, 2021 at 8:51 pm

      Biggest political BS ever a complete joke in California.
      VA hospital contracts given to UCLA. Veterans seen by 1st year students. Dr’s refuse to prescribe hardly anything saying drugs are too expensive. Colleges benefits for 100% disabled only allowed if served in war time. Veterans kids denied entry into colleges with 4.65 GPA! VA refuses to buy cancer drugs from agent orange! Says too expensive. 100% disabled veterans cant get covid vaccines, but all VA employees, contractors got theres way back. Cant even get deers id cards as bases closed so you cant even get on bases to shop for food. Complete corruption from top to bottom. Now they offer Solar jobs? Those jobs would not even pay for your gas in CA at $5 a gallon to get to work let alone a electric bill or water bill. Complete unionized gravy train for VA employees, dr’s, etc. A absolute failure and humiliation to Veterans and there family’s. But don’t forget! Ca will pay 100% for veterans sex change operations, and transition dugs, and plastic surgery! Yippee ki yea! Fire entire system, give private medical insurance our senate and congressman have to every Veteran, college is free to all veterans with honorable discharge. 100% disability pay should be doubled to account for actual cost to live. Eyes, hearing and dental covered for ALL veterans and dependents who are disabled. Then we save money. And regain respect.

  5. Joe Rowland April 4, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Where’s my commit you can’t handle the truth

  6. Penny Johnson April 3, 2021 at 8:30 am

    I am a daughter of a 20 yr military Navy deceased father while on active duty. I was born June of 1961, by Oct of 1961 we were sent to Guam. I was 5 months old. We had no clue that the housing and base were sprayed with agent orange and other rainbows. I immediately contracted chloracne, among other issues. My father died in 1977. I am now 58 yrs. And I have tried for many years to get benefits with no avail or even recognition from VA or the military. To this day I am still covered with chloracne, scars on top of and over many scars all over my body and ischaemic heart, peroidet tumers, lost all teeth at an early age, still no teeth, neuropathy, my fingers and toes are all twisted and have white lumps on knuckles, bone marrow is being eaten away, cervical stenosis, spinal cord compression as is my brain. School was always a problem because they didn’t know if I was contagious or not, Drs. Had no idea what was wrong with me. Same with trying to find a job, I am always bleeding or dripping ooze. No one wants to be around me. I have spent all my life in isolation, most of the time homeless as a side affect. All this just for being an infant stationed in Guan for the first 6 years of my life being poisoned and radiated. My mother also has alot of problems too. If anyone has any ideas to make VA acknowledge me please let me know. Thank in advance.

    • Susan McLucas April 7, 2021 at 9:26 pm

      My first thought is you have to start with your dad’s discharge papers or dd214. It will provide proof of being in-theater. With that information, I would then go to your local VSO (there should be a local county office). Be advised tho, you will not get anywhere without that form. HTH

  7. Celinda Bazan April 3, 2021 at 12:07 am

    I’m a surviving spouse. Does my son qualify for benefits he is a minor but not the biological son of my husband?

    • James Lupo April 7, 2021 at 9:23 pm

      I would contact your Congressman or Senators office staff and request assistance.
      They have staff that deals with DOD and the VA.
      You can also seek free assistance from qualified Veteran Service Officers (VSO) from various Veterans Organizations.
      ( DAV, AMERICAN LEGION, VFW ) etc.

      They can request records that may support a possible claim.
      It will be harder as the former dependent, but with enough documentary evidence maybe you could receive
      a Survivor’s Pension ( small monthly lifetime payments ) or even some Medical Care assistance?

      Keep your persistence up, because it is needed to eventually receive any benefits,
      ( in my experience, they will deny and delay as long as they can, in hopes that you give up )!!!!

      God Bless, and Good Luck!

  8. Joe Rowland April 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Va employees steel from veterans
    By falsy calming thare kid’s are children
    Of veterans 9 employee out Jackson Ms
    Got busted just a copul year ago n some veterans have not been payed back yet this is a old scam that Ben going on for decades
    I had money taken for this for 30+ years
    N I have been refused the prof that say thay have it my child even under 3 freedom of information act request my house wus hit by a tornado n no insherens the va is a bunch of thieves n lie ers

  9. Barbara Gerarde April 2, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    My husband died in 2019 he was a Vetnam Vet.I had CHAMPA but it expired in December of 2019.I have some bills they still they still need to cover.Is there any where that it can be renewed.

    • Terry S Smith April 7, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      Talk to your state Veterans Service center. They should be able to steer you in the right direction.

    • Johnnie Martin April 8, 2021 at 7:23 am

      Barbara-Champva usually does not expire, unless you get remarried. I would suggest you go to your state VA office and talk with them.
      “If you’re the surviving spouse of a qualifying CHAMPVA sponsor and you remarry before age 55, you no longer qualify for CHAMPVA as of midnight on the date of your remarriage. If you remarry on or after your 55th birthday, you can keep your CHAMPVA benefits.”

  10. Ben Simmons USAF Veteran April 2, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Victor! If you have not already sent for all of your in service Military Medical Records, or put in a claim by writing a “Statement In Support of Claim”, please by all means do so! In addition to that, please collect as many supporting “Buddy Letters” from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, who know your story. Let them write what they know in their own words. These letters are effective and certainly helped me personally (even the one from ex-wife).
    If you have not already done so, I strongly adjure you to comb through you medical records and highlight every & anything which supports your position (about your own and what you believe caused your sons condition).
    And if you have not already done so, you will also need to get the VA doctors to acknowledge that your present mental & physical condition or state is as a result of your past service. And when they write their report, you must be sure they understand that They Must word their findings as “likely” or “as likely as not” (the 50/50 possibility goes to the veteran) that your current conditions are as a result of what you experienced in the service on active duty.
    I literally asked my drs if they thought that “it were possible” that my ailments were as a result of my military service. If they said “yes”, then I would literally ask them to put their words in writing, by saying, that is “likely” or “as likely as not” that my mental and or physical conditions were the result of my time in service.
    As you know, after you submit your Statement, you will be given C&P appointments. DO NOT MISS THEM!
    Be persistent sir! Persevere and do not let up or give up.
    With all due respect, hope this helps!
    Ben Simmons USAF Veteran

  11. Peggy Stepp April 2, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    There are so many stories like the ones I’ve just read. My situation is the same o same o. My husband was drafted sent to Vietnam at the age of 19. Exposed to agent orange, shot twice while on active duty in Vietnam. Finished his term stateside. Sent home to be told he was not to use the VA hospital unless service related. He was never released to go to work but didn’t have any choice. We both worked to support our family. He passed at the age of 37 leaving me to raise our kids alone. That was 1987. I filed with VA.denied, appealed, appealed appealed until I couldn’t anymore. Turned it over to a lawyer 4 yrs ago. In 2015 they awarded me DIC. But nothing else. I raised 2 magnificent young men, now age 49,and 44. I am so proud of them. Both Christian and raising their families. There was no help when we didn’t have food on the table or a car that wouldn’t run, Or money for a new pair of shoes. I stood on the highway waiting for a ride to nursing School that I had to pay for by grants and student loans and odd jobs. Im 68 years old now and still waiting for a hearing before a traveling judge to hear my story and tell me he’s sorry for my loss and thankful for my service. My husband still had a foreign bullet lodged in him when he was burried. My husband never shirked his duty but my country did. I love my country but not its Government. It is not for the people it is for whoever has the power. So many died and are dying and for what, to support illegal immigrants.

  12. David Nasidka April 2, 2021 at 5:45 am

    VA Health care is world class care! Thank You Dave N. Florida

    • Joe Rowland April 4, 2021 at 11:06 am

      Tor a va employ or stupid

  13. Kenneth F More MD April 1, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    I am frustrated that the gi bill benefits I earned with over 20 yrs of service cannot be transferred to my children. I was told I had to give an additional 4 yrs of service to transfer it. I have no further education I am interested for myself and this benefit will be wasted.

    • Gullickson April 3, 2021 at 4:20 am

      That is entirely wrong….I understand that the enlisted today do not have to pay for their GI Bill….If you did not use it 10 years after the date you were discharged you lose it…..If you did not trsnsfer it to another GI Bill program you lose it….For example, you can transfer it to a “Post 9/11 GI Bill”….I paid for my GI Bill and added the bonus….I am sorry to say they will say you signed up for something and know the drill….Unless you can prove it was their fault, you do not specify why you cannot receive something you paid into….The only way you “Earn” that benefit is if you signed up for it….There are millions of Service members like you and I who have paid into this program and never used their benefit….I understand there are nany.other programs you can use for you, your spouse, and your children, including getting the GI Bill transferred….They are getting it for free today because nobody used or transferred it to a GI Bill program the preserves your benefit after 10 years for you, your spouse, children, or grandchildren in the time alotted….I hope this helps, you can call any Veteran Service Organization to include the American Legion, DAV, Wounded Warriors, and more….God Bless, and Good Luck….

  14. Victor Sellers April 1, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    I was well over 30% disabled at my Honorable Discharge, the amount required for Military Medical Disability Retirement, but my medical treatment records were withheld telling me they were lost intransit from Vietnam. I did not know I could file a claim without having any evidence. I was hospitalized a month in Vietnam and received several Chloroquine treatments without any problems, but remained broke out and developed chloracne or acne form, peripheral neuropathy, heart palpitations with chest pains, a stroke, and many other conditions. My children never received any C & P and one son is now dead at 47 years. He would be 49 now and was conceived when I was “HOME AWAITING ORDERS”. He was affected by Agent Orange, and I am convinced it caused his death. Male Vietnam Veterans childrens disabilities are basically ignored, except for one condition, spinal bifida. This is unfair to those children that “were affected” due to the fathers ingestion of Agent Orange, because they were affected “mentally as well as physically. He was treated for mental conditions, but not by VA. He never received any help or C & P, just like I didn’t. A sorry situation!

    • Johnnie Martin April 8, 2021 at 9:47 am

      Victor-It is never to late to apply for VA benefits for yourself. Enroll in the VA healthcare system, if you have not done so. Then, contact your local state VA office and get started on your claims. As a Vietnam vet (In country vet), a lot of conditions you described are automatically presumed to have been caused by just being in Vietnam. Never to late-get started now.

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