Dependents Of Veterans

Healthcare for Dependents

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or CHAMPVA, is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.  This program is available to eligible spouses and children of qualified veterans.  This program is sometimes confused with TRICARE which is a health care program sponsored by the Department of Defense and available to active-duty and retired members of the armed services, their families and survivors.  CHAMPVA is offered through a Veteran Affairs program and is offered to individuals falling into one of the following four categories:

  1. The spouse or child of a living veteran rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability by the VA Regional Office
  2. The surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran whose death resulted from a VA-rated service-connected disability
  3. The surviving spouse or child of a veteran with a rating of permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability at the time of death
  4. The surviving spouse or child of a military member who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct, that is not otherwise eligible for TRICARE

Definition of Eligibility Terms of CHAMPVA

Beneficiary – A CHAMPVA eligible spouse, widow or widower or child

Child – Includes birth, adopted or stepchild; also helpless child as determined by VA Regional Office

Helpless Child – A child who, before reaching the age of 18, becomes permanently incapable of self-support.  VA Regional Office is responsible for making this determination.

Dependents – A child, spouse, widow or widower of a qualifying sponsor

Qualifying Sponsor – A veteran who is permanently or totally disabled from a service-connected condition, died as a result of a service-connected condition, was rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected condition at the time of death, or died on active duty and whose dependents are not otherwise eligible for TRICARE benefits.


Dependents’ Education Assistance

It is possible for either your spouse or children or both to be eligible for education benefits. 

Veterans Eligibility Requirements

  • Spouses, sons and daughters of a veteran in one of the following groups may be eligible for Dependents’ Educational Assistance
  • A veteran who is rated permanently and totally disabled or died as the result of a service-connected disability that arose out of active service in the armed forces.
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A service member who was captured or missing in action in the line of duty by hostile forces.
  • A former prisoner of war, missing in action, or forcibly held by a foreign government or power.
  • A service member hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability who is likely to be discharged for that disability.

Dependent Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a son or daughter, including adopted and step-children, between the ages of 18 and 26 (and may be married)
  • If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date in which either VA finds you eligible or the date of the death of the veteran.  If the servicemember died while on active duty, this deadline extends to 20 years after the date of death of the servicemember.  If your marriage to the eligible veteran ends through divorce, eligibility for educational benefits stops on the date on which the divorce is final. However, if you are a spouse and currently attending classes during divorce proceedings and the divorce occurs through no fault of yours, the VA will extend benefits until the end of the current semester or quarter or 12 weeks if there is no semester system set up through your institution of learning.
  • If you are a surviving spouse who has remarried, Dependents Education Assistance benefits are affected depending on your age and the date of the remarriage.
  • If you remarry before the age of 57, eligibility ends on the date of remarriage.
  • If you remarried after November 30, 1999, and the marriage ends, your educational benefits may be reinstated.  
  • If you remarried after October 31, 1990 but before November 30, 1999, eligibility cannot be reinstated.
  • If you are age 57 or older and remarry on or after January 1, 2004, you are still eligible for educational benefits.
  • If you remarried after age 57 and before December 16, 2003, you must have applied in writing before December 16, 2004, in order to have your eligibility reinstated.

Disabled Dependents Education Benefits

If a dependent is physically or mentally disabled to a degree that it prevents them from pursuing an education program and are at least 14 years of age, the dependent would be eligible for Dependents Education Assistance benefits for Special Restorative Training or Specialized Vocational Training.  Special Restorative Training courses may include such topics as speech and voice correction, language retraining, lip reading, auditory training, braille reading and writing and the like.  Specialized Vocational Training are courses focused on a vocational objective. 

Life Insurance

Upon separation from the military, your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance can be converted to an affordable, renewable term life insurance policy the can be retained for life.  The new policy is referred to as the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.  More information on policy details can be found at  You can apply for the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance with no additional proof of good health if it is done within 120 days after separation.  During this time your Servicemembers’ Group Life insurance is still in effect.  After the first 120 days if you have still not applied, you have up to one year to submit your application, however, proof of good health must be included in the submission.  You should receive an application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance both 60 days after separation and 120 days after separation.  Applications should be submitted to the address on your DD Form 214 or equivalent separation papers.  Deadlines for submission are still in effect even if you do not receive your application.  You are unable to acquire additional coverage over that which you had upon separation.  You can, however, convert your Veterans’ Group Life Insurance policy to an individual permanent, whole or endowment policy through one of 54 participating commercial insurance providers.  If you have been rated as totally disabled at the time of separation, your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy will remain in effect for two years or at such date you are no longer termed totally disabled, whichever comes first, at no cost to you.  This policy is referred to as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Total Disability Extension.  After the term of this policy ends, you will be automatically billed for Veterans Group Life Insurance without the need for proof of good health.  If you choose not to be enrolled at this time you have up to one year to submit an application, however, evidence of insurability will need to be included.   In the case of terminal illness of the veteran, an application for accelerated benefits can be submitted in which the veteran can request up to 50% of their Veterans’ Group Life Insurance coverage in a lump sum.  This will reduce the overall amount for the beneficiaries and will require a written medical prognosis of nine months or less to live.