VA Family Member Benefits
Family members (dependents) of veterans may qualify for both federal and state funding.
- Chapter 35 Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance
- Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
- MYCAA: Military Career Advancement Accounts
Chapter 35 provides education benefits to sons, daughters, spouses or surviving spouses of a veteran who:
- died on active duty,
- was released from active duty due to a service-connected disability,
- was permanently and totally disabled,
- was missing in action,
- was a prisoner of war, or
- was detained by a foreign government while on or in line of duty.
Generally, the period of eligibility for a son or daughter is between the ages of 18 and 26 years.
If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the Veteran. If VA rated the Veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of three years from discharge, a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective Oct. 10, 2008, and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.
For surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died on active duty, benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
The Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP) provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who became at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict.
Military service includes service in the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserves, the Virginia National Guard, or the Virginia National Guard Reserves.
Armed conflict includes military operations against terrorism or as the result of a terrorist act, a peace-keeping mission, or any armed conflict after December 6, 1941.
The purpose of this program is to provide undergraduate or other postsecondary education free of tuition and fees, institutional charges, general or college fees, and books and supplies at any state-supported college or university in Virginia. Benefits are available for up to four years.
To be eligible, children and spouses of qualifying military service members must meet the following requirements:
The child must be between ages 16 and 29; there are no age restrictions for spouses.
The military service member must have been a Virginia citizen at the time he or she entered active duty or must have been a Virginia citizen for at least five years immediately prior to the date of the application for admission.
In the case of a deceased military service member, the veteran’s surviving spouse can meet the residency requirements if he or she lived in Virginia for at least five years prior to marrying the military service member or has been a citizen of Virginia for at least five years immediately prior to the date of application.
In most cases, eligibility will be determined using documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the veteran or surviving spouse may be asked to provide documentation verifying residency or the applicant's age or relationship. State income tax records, birth certificates, and/or marriage certificates are usually sufficient.
To continue receiving VMSDEP benefits, qualifying enrolled students must provide a letter to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services stating their continued enrollment, the period attended, and the period of time for which they are requesting benefits.
Learn more about the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program on the Virginia Department of Veterans Services website.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCAA), a component of the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, is a career development and employment assistance program.
MyCAA helps military spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or associate degrees (excluding Associate degrees in general studies, liberal arts, and interdisciplinary studies that do not have a concentration) necessary for gainful employment in high-demand, high-growth, portable career fields and occupations.
Portable careers are those likely to provide job opportunities in locations where military service members are stationed. The Department of Labor Career One Stop Centers have lists of targeted industries and occupations.
Spouses of active duty and activated National Guard and Reserve service members are eligible. The period of eligibility for spouses of Guard and Reserve members is from the date of the Alert or Warning Order for Military Recall or Mobilization, through activation and deployment, until 180 days following De-Mobilization.
Military spouses who are military members themselves are not eligible. Military spouses who are legally separated by state law or court order are not eligible.
- Spouses of an active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine service member in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, or O1-O2 are eligible.
- Spouses of an activated Reserve member in pay grades E1-E5, W1-W2, and O1-O2 are also eligible.
- If you are a spouse of a National Guard and/or AGR member, your sponsor must be on federal Title 10 active duty orders as reported in DEERS for you to be eligible.
- Spouses of Guard/Reserve members in an Alert, Transition Assistance, or Post Deployment status are not eligible.
- MyCAA accounts will be limited to the new $4,000 maximum benefit with a $2,000 fiscal year cap.
- Waivers to the fiscal year cap will be available for spouses pursuing licensure or credentials with a cost that exceeds the $2,000 fiscal year cap up to the total maximum assistance of $4,000.
- Spouses must finish their program of study within three years from the start date of the first course.
- Funding is limited to only associate degrees, credentials and licensure programs.
- For information on other sources of financial assistance, contact a Military OneSource consultant at 800-342-9647.
John Tyler Community College is one of the schools approved to provide education and training through MyCAA.
Applying for MyCAA
- Review the MyCAA Schools- Frequently Asked Questions
- Meet with a counselor in the Advising Center
- Apply for MyCAA. After your eligibility for the program is verified with DEERS, you will be asked to create a MyCAA account.
- Get help if you need it: Call the SECO Consultant for MyCAA at: 800-342-9647. Contact the JTCC Business Office for more information about the administration of MyCAA at JTCC.