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What You Need to Know About VA Dependent Benefits

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Dependent Benefits


It is very important for Veterans to know about all of the benefits that they may be eligible for. Today, we will discuss benefits for a Veteran’s dependents offered by the VA. There are monthly dependent benefits, educational benefits, and even medical benefits that may be available to eligible Veterans.

Who Qualifies As a Dependent?

Eligible Veterans can add their dependents to their monthly disability compensation. An eligible Veteran is one who is already eligible for VA disability compensation and must have a combined disability rating of at least 30 percent. This monthly benefit will increase a Veteran’s monthly disability compensation. For VA purposes, a dependent is defined as a family member who relies on the Veteran financially and meets certain criteria. Examples of a dependent for VA purposes are as follows:

  • A Veteran’s spouse
  • Any unmarried children who are under the age of 18; or are between the age of 18 and 23 and are attending school full-time; or were disabled prior to age 18. These dependent children also include stepchildren, adopted children, and biological children.
  • A Veteran’s parents who are financially dependent upon the Veteran. This benefit is based on need and the parental relationship must first be established in order to qualify.

How Do I Add Dependents to My VA Claim?

To add a dependent to a Veteran’s claim, the correct forms must be filed. A VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents is used to add a child under the age of 18 or a spouse. To add a child who is attending school full-time between the ages of 18 and 23, a VA Form 21-574, Request for Approval of School Attendance must be filed with the VA. In order to add eligible dependent parents to a Veteran’s monthly disability compensation a VA Form 21P-509, Statement of Dependency of Parents should be submitted to the VA.

Another dependent benefit is the Dependent Educational Assistance Program (DEA). This program is apart of the GI Bill and it offers education and training to eligible survivors and dependents of Veterans. In order to be eligible, the Veteran must first be permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or the Veteran died on active duty as a result of a service-connected disability. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. For a complete list of eligibility requirements and more information, click here.

Healthcare Benefits for Veteran’s Dependents

There are also a number of health care benefits that are available to a Veteran’s dependents. Spouses, surviving spouses, and children of a disabled Veteran may be eligible for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This program offers to cover the cost of some health care services and supplies. In order to be eligible, one of the following must be true:

  • The spouse of a child of a Veteran who has been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability, or
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a service-connected disability, or
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability, or
  • The surviving spouse of or child of a service member who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct

To find out more and how to apply for this benefit, click here.

There are many different benefits and programs available to disabled Veterans and their dependents. Our Veterans are our top priority and we believe that Veterans and their families should know about all of the benefits available to them.


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