One of the questions that veterans most commonly ask is how their military service benefits their children. If you’re wondering whether there are VA benefits for children of disabled veterans, the answer is a resounding “YES!”
Benefits for children of veterans range from education and tuition help to pension benefits. There are also death benefits for children of veterans that can assist when a veteran passes away. Dependent children of a veteran or service member may also qualify for health care and life insurance.
In the event of a veteran’s death, children may be eligible for added benefits, including help with burial costs and survivor compensation.
In this guide, we cover some of the top benefits for children of veterans (including benefits for adult children of veterans) and help you learn how your children may benefit from your service!
To discover a wealth of local benefits for you and your family beyond these federal benefits for children of veterans, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide 2022 Disabled Veteran Benefits by State and Territory. Select your state to learn about a wide range of benefits available to veterans and their families!
- Who qualifies as a VA dependent?
- What VA education benefits are available for dependents?
- Are there health care benefits for children of veterans?
- Are there employment benefits for children of veterans?
- Top 25 Disabled Veteran Benefits (You Might Not Know About!)
- Are there any benefits for children of deceased veterans?
- Are there veteran benefits for caregivers?
- Does the child of a veteran qualify for a VA loan?
- Other benefits for children of veterans
- Get help with your claim—and the compensation you deserve.
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Who qualifies as a VA dependent?
If you are the child, spouse, or parent of a veteran, the VA may classify you as a dependent, qualifying you for a variety of benefits.
According to the VA, a dependent is:
- A spouse
- A parent (if you’re directly caring for the parent(s) and parental income and net worth are below a certain amount)
- An unmarried child (including an adopted child or stepchild) who meets ONE of the eligibility requirements listed below:
- Under 18 years old
- Between the ages of 18 and 23 years old, and enrolled in school full-time
- Was permanently disabled before turning 18 years old
What VA education benefits are available for dependents?
If you’re a dependent child (or a surviving child) of a veteran, you may qualify for education benefits, including money for tuition, housing, books, and supplies. These benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) may also apply to a dependent or surviving spouse.
The DEA program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who:
- are permanently and totally disabled (100% P&T) due to a service-connected condition,
- currently receiving TDIU benefits, or
- died while on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected condition.
These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Dependents can get up to 45 months of education benefits if they began using the program before August 1, 2018.
If you begin using Chapter 35 benefits on or after August 1, 2018, you have 36 months to use them within 20 years from the service member’s date of death if he or she died on active duty, or 10 years from the veteran’s date of death (there may be exceptions).
The 45 or 36 months don’t have to be used consecutively. The months can be used at any point within the eligibility period.
Find out if you qualify for Chapter 35 benefits and how to apply.
If you don’t meet the requirements for Chapter 35 benefits, you may still qualify for transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement benefits.
Many states also offer veterans and their dependents (and spouses) additional education benefits. Find educational benefits unique to your state using our comprehensive guide 2022 Disabled Veteran Benefits by State and Territory. Choose your state and discover which educational benefits for children of veterans might apply to you!
Are there health care benefits for children of veterans?
Yes. Healthcare benefits are available for children of veterans (and children of disabled veterans). Among the programs available are TRICARE and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA).
Children of active-duty, retired, or deceased service members (including Medal of Honor recipients, National Guard soldiers, and reservists) may qualify for TRICARE, which provides comprehensive health coverage, including prescription medicine, dental care, and more.
Find out if you qualify for TRICARE and how to apply.
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)
If you are a current or surviving child (or spouse) of a veteran with a 100% P&T rating, or a service member who died in the line of duty, and you don’t qualify for TRICARE, you may be eligible for CHAMPVA. This program utilizes cost-sharing to cover some of your health care expenses.
Find out if you qualify for CHAMPVA and how to apply.
Are there employment benefits for children of veterans?
Children eligible for VA education benefits may also get free educational and career counseling. This can assist children of veterans in finding gainful employment, as well as helping to plan the best use of other VA benefits for children.
Find out if you qualify for employment benefits and how to apply.
Top 25 Disabled Veteran Benefits (You Might Not Know About!)
Are there any benefits for children of deceased veterans?
Yes. Children (or surviving spouse) of deceased veterans may be eligible for additional healthcare benefits, survivors pension, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits, burial and memorial benefits (for the minor child, not the veteran), and more.
If you’re the child (or surviving spouse) of a veteran with wartime service, find out if you’re eligible for monthly pension benefits.
Survivors’ Pension, also often called Death Pension, is a tax-free VA benefit available to low-income, unremarried surviving spouses or unmarried children of deceased veterans. This benefit is only available if the deceased veteran had wartime service.
Learn more from the VA about eligibility for survivors pension.
Also see our post VA Survivor Benefits: What is VA DIC, and Am I Eligible?
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefits
The surviving child of a service member who died in the line of duty (or from a service-connected disability) may be eligible for tax-free Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits.
As a surviving child, you may be eligible for DIC benefits if you meet ALL of the following requirements:
- You’re not married
- You’re not included in the surviving spouse’s compensation
- You’re under the age of 18 (or under the age of 23 and attending school)
It’s important to note that survivors aren’t paid the same amount per month as the veteran was receiving at the time of their death. The DIC has different rates for dependents.
For more information, including qualifications, see the VA’s page About VA DIC for spouses, dependents, and parents.
There is also a 2022 example of how to calculate your DIC payment.
Also see our post VA Survivor Benefits: What is VA DIC, and Am I Eligible?
Burial Benefits and Memorial Items
Benefits for minor children of veterans also extend to VA burial benefits, which may help you plan and pay for a burial or memorial service in a VA national cemetery.
Find out how to apply for burial benefits.
Are there veteran benefits for caregivers?
If you’re caring for a veteran parent, you may also qualify for additional support to help you care for the veteran, as well as for yourself, through the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC).
Eligible participants may receive benefits including a financial stipend, access to health insurance, counseling, caregiver training, respite care, and more.
Find out if you qualify for PCAFC and how to apply.
Does the child of a veteran qualify for a VA loan?
No. VA loans have rigid rules and typically are only available for the veteran himself/herself (and, in some cases, a surviving spouse). Children, cousins, parents, and siblings are not eligible to receive a VA loan.
There may, however, be state or local programs in your area that provide loan benefits for children of veterans.
Other benefits for children of veterans
Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program for Children of Vietnam Veterans
The biological child of a Korean or Vietnam War veteran diagnosed with spina bifida may qualify for disability benefits, including health care benefits.
Children and even grandchildren of Vietnam veterans may suffer from serious health problems from Agent Orange exposure. Birth defects such as neural tube defects are especially effects of Agent Orange.
If you served in Vietnam or Thailand, or in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)—and your child has spina bifida or certain other birth defects—your child may be able to get disability benefits.
Find out if your child qualifies for benefits.
Pharmacy Benefits for Children of Veterans
Children (as well as spouses) who qualify for CHAMPVA, Spina Bifida Health Care, or Children of Women Vietnam Veterans health care programs can get prescription benefits through their local pharmacy or through VA’s Meds by Mail program.
Get help with your claim—and the compensation you deserve.
Regardless of whether or not you have children, it’s important to pursue monthly compensation and benefits for any disabilities connected to your military service.
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they’re due. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process, so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating in less time!
If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve!
We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
About the Author
About VA Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.