The original GI Bill -- the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- passed amid controversy over which benefits should be offered to veterans returning from active service. Following World War II, however, the bill's provisions proved beneficial not only to veterans but the entire nation. It helped a segment of the population that normally would not be able to receive a college education or have a chance to own a home. The 2008 update to the VA's (Veterans Administration's) GI Bill expanded educational benefits.
The purpose of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Dependents' Educational Assistance program is to provide financial assistance to the children or spouses of veterans. This particular program can be used to cover tuition, textbooks and other costs associated with completing an academic degree or certificate program. In addition, these benefits may also provide financial assistance for on-the-job training or apprenticeships. However, only spouses are allowed to receive coverage of correspondence courses.
The educational benefits for the children of military veterans are available for no more than 45 months, which is a period of three years and nine months. This financial assistance program is only available to children between the ages of 18 and 26.
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For children to be eligible to receive benefits under the Dependents' Educational Assistance program, their mother or father must have died or become disabled as a result of service-related incidents. However, the disability must have occurred during active service in the military. As of 2006, the children of veterans who are hospitalized or receiving medical treatment as a result of a permanent disability that causes their discharge are also eligible for benefits. The program is available for children whose mother or father is missing in action or detained by a foreign force or government during his/her military service as well.
Children who plan to complete an academic program at a postsecondary institution or participate in an apprenticeship should make certain the program is covered under the VA's Dependents' Educational Assistance regulations. Although they can apply for VA assistance after their training program has started, it's essential that children who are going to be dependent upon VA funds find out if their program is eligible prior to enrolling. They must complete Form 22-5490 Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance and submit this document to their regional Veterans Affairs office. The form can also be completed online through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Dependents who are seeking assistance for programs they have already started must have their school or employer complete Form 22-1999 for enrollment certification.
- Female university student smiling and carrying some notebooks image by Christopher Meder from Fotolia.com