VA Form 22-5490 Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits Step-By-Step Guide
This is a step-by-step guide to filling out VA Form 22-5490, Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits. This is the form required for both dependents and spouses to apply for Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or the Chapter 33 Fry Scholarship.
This is NOT a guide on how to apply for the GI Bill, VET TEC, or how to transfer GI Bill benefits to a dependent or spouse. For those instructions, please refer to our other guides:
Servicemembers are advised not to use this form to apply for education benefits “based on your own service” such as the GI Bill or Veterans Readiness and Employment benefits (Chapter 31). To apply for veteran education benefits based on your own service, use VA Form 22-1990 and to apply for Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits, use VA Form 28-1900.
About Terms Used In This Guide
The terms used in this guide are those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Terms like “dependent” and “sponsor” are found on the VA forms. Know that in typical cases a “dependent” is someone who is not the servicemember, but who is a member of the service member’s immediate family. A “sponsor” is another term for the military member or veteran.
The first thing you should do is to download VA Form 22-5490. This form asks you to provide information about the military member’s service, about the type of education you seek, and you will need to provide financial data (see below). You will also need signatures from both the dependent or spouse plus the parent/guardian where applicable.
Gather Documents And Information For Your Application
What do you need to provide besides the VA form (see below) when you begin the application process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start on working your claim. They include:
- Social Security number.
- Bank account direct deposit information including routing number and account number.
- Education and military history.
- Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).
PART I – APPLICANT INFORMATION
- SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Provide your SSN in the field provided. Failure to provide the SSN may result in your application being denied.
- SEX OF APPLICANT
The Department of Veterans Affairs requires a binary answer for this form. Select MALE or FEMALE.
- DATE OF BIRTH
Enter your full date of birth using the format provided on the form.
Enter your FULL LEGAL NAME. This form requires you to use the legal name that is on your government-issued ID. If you are in the process of changing your name, know that you are required to use whatever name or identity is currently shown on your government-issued photo ID.
- CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS
Include all information including zip code.
- TELEPHONE NUMBER
List both home and mobile numbers where applicable, including Area Code.
- EMAIL ADDRESS
Enter an email address you check frequently for best results.
- DIRECT DEPOSIT INFORMATION
You must not only fill out the fields for the routing number and account number but you will also be required to submit a voided check for use in setting up your Direct Deposit. You must indicate whether the account is checking or savings.
PART II – QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL INFORMATION (See instructions for #13)
- NAME OF QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) ON WHOSE ACCOUNT BENEFITS ARE BEING CLAIMED
Include the full legal first name, middle initial, last name. The qualifying individual is the servicemember.
- SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR VA FILE NUMBER
It’s best to indicate on the form which number you are submitting.
- BRANCH OF SERVICE
Enter the branch of military service in the field provided.
- DATE OF BIRTH
Enter the date of birth of the qualifying military member in the field provided.
13A. DID PARENT OR SPOUSE DIE WHILE SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY OR WHILE ON DUTY OTHER THAN ACTIVE DUTY AS A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES?
Check Yes or No for this box if you are a child or spouse of an active duty service member or a member of the Selected Reserve and the servicemember died in the line of duty.
13B. DATE LISTED AS MISSING IN ACTION OR P.O.W.
This field does not apply to all applicants, but if it applies to you, enter the date in the format indicated on the form.
13C. DID PARENT OR SPOUSE DIE FROM A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY WHILE A MEMBER OF THE SELECTED RESERVE?
If the answer is NO, the applicant does not qualify for a Fry Scholarship. If the answer is YES, complete item 13D.
13D. DATE OF DEATH
Enter the date of death of the qualifying service member in the field provided.
- IS QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) ON ACTIVE DUTY?
Answer YES or NO.
15. DO YOU (APPLICANT) OR THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (PARENT OR SPOUSE) HAVE AN OUTSTANDING FELONY AND/OR WARRANT?
Answer YES or NO. The VA advises that applicants are not eligible to receive benefits “for any period for which you or the qualifying individual on whose account you are claiming benefits has an outstanding felony warrant”.
PART III – RELATIONSHIP AND BENEFIT INFORMATION
- YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL (Check only one)
Select the appropriate box for surviving spouses or dependent school-age children.
SECTION I – SPOUSE/SURVIVING SPOUSE
17A. DATE OF MARRIAGE TO THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL?
The VA advises that this date “will be verified against information entered on VA Form 21-686c, Application Request to Add And/Or Remove Dependents”.
17B. IS A DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT PENDING TO THE QUALIFYING INDIVIDUAL?
Answer YES or NO.
- IF YOU ARE THE SURVIVING SPOUSE, HAVE YOU REMARRIED?
Answer YES or NO, but if YES, include the official date of remarriage.
- SPOUSE/SURVIVING SPOUSE SELECT THE BENEFIT THAT YOU ARE APPLYING FOR BELOW:
This portion is more complex than most of the rest of the form. You will need to select between the Fry Scholarship and VA DEA benefits. You will select one of two choices (A and B) but your selection of benefits in this case is IRREVERSIBLE and you will need to carefully review your options before committing.
OPTION A: AS A SPOUSE OR SURVIVING SPOUSE BASED ON 100% PERMANENT AND TOTAL DISABILITY, SERVICE CONNECTED OR LINE OF DUTY DEATH, I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 35 – DEA BENEFITS.
Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.
OPTION B: AS A SURVIVING SPOUSE BASED ON EITHER “IN THE LINE OF DUTY” DEATH WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY OR DUTY OTHER THAN ACTIVE DUTY WHILE A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES, OR A SERVICE CONNECTED DEATH WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER OF THE SELECTED RESERVE AFTER SEPTEMBER 10, 2001. I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 33 FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS.
Selecting this option is irreversible. Choose carefully.
SECTION II – CHILD/STEPCHILD/ADOPTED CHILD
- CHILD/STEPCHILD/ADOPTED CHILD SELECT THE BENEFIT THAT YOU ARE APPLYING FOR BELOW:
Select A or B, but know that when you choose, it is irreversible.
Option A: I AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 35 – DEA BENEFITS. NOTE – BY CHECKING THIS BOX I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I UNDERSTAND THIS ELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE AND MAY NOT BE CHANGED.
Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011 may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. Applicants eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits who would like to use the Chapter 35 benefit first should select Option A.
Option B: AM APPLYING FOR CHAPTER 33 – FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS. NOTE – BY CHECKING THIS BOX I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I UNDERSTAND THIS ELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE AND MAY NOT BE CHANGED.
Applicants whose parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, may apply for both DEA and Fry Scholarship benefits. If you are eligible for both Chapter 35 (DEA) and Chapter 33 (Fry Scholarship) benefits and you would like to use the Chapter 33 benefit first, use Option B.
Important note: The Department of Veterans Affairs advises that those who choose Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA) or Chapter 33 Post-9/11 Fry Scholarship instead of “payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation” is final and cannot be changed. For applicants 18 or older, payments of compensation, pension, and Dependents’ Indemnity Compensation (DIC) will end when approved for a DEA or Fry Scholarship.
- I CERTIFY THAT I UNDERSTAND THE EFFECTS THAT THIS ELECTION TO RECEIVE DEA OR FRY SCHOLARSHIP BENEFITS WILL HAVE ON MY ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE DIC OR PENSION BENEFITS
Choose YES or NO.
PART IV – BENEFIT AND TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING INFORMATION
22A. DATE YOU WILL BEGIN SCHOOL OR TRAINING
If you do not know the date, skip this question. Otherwise fill in with the starting date your school has provided.
22B. TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING (Check ONE box) COLLEGE OR OTHER SCHOOL
Select ONE answer from the list below:
- FARM COOPERATIVE – (DEA ONLY)
- LICENSING OR CERTIFICATION TEST
- APPROVED PREP COURSES FOR LICENSE/CERTIFICATION TEST (Chapter 33 and Chapter 35)
- APPRENTICESHIP OR ON-THE-JOB TRAINING
- NATIONAL ADMISSION EXAMS OR NATIONAL EXAMS FOR CREDIT
- CORRESPONDENCE COURSE (Fry Scholarship and DEA – Spouses only)
- FLIGHT TRAINING (Fry Scholarship only)
- NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL OR TRAINING FACILITY
Be sure to include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.
- SPECIFY YOUR EDUCATION OR CAREER OBJECTIVE, IF KNOWN
The VA asks for examples here such as seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Welding Certificate, Police Officer training, etc.
- WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE VOCATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL COUNSELING?
Choose YES or NO.
26A. [DEA ONLY] DO YOU HAVE A MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY FOR WHICH YOU ARE SEEKING SPECIAL RESTORATIVE TRAINING?
Choose YES or NO.
26B. [DEA ONLY] DO YOU HAVE A MENTAL OR PHYSICAL DISABILITY FOR WHICH YOU ARE SEEKING SPECIAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING?
Choose YES or NO.
PART V – APPLICATION HISTORY
- PRIOR TO THIS APPLICATION, HAVE YOU EVER APPLIED FOR OR RECEIVED ANY OF THE FOLLOWING VA BENEFITS?
Check all boxes which apply below:
A. DISABILITY COMPENSATION OR PENSION
B. DEPENDENTS’ INDEMNITY COMPENSATION (DIC)
C. VETERAN READINESS AND EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (Chapter 31)
D. VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE BASED ON YOUR OWN SERVICE (Specify benefit(s)):
E. VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE BASED ON SOMEONE ELSE’S SERVICE SPECIFY BENEFIT(S) BY CHECKING APPLICABLE BOX BELOW AND COMPLETE ITEMS 29 AND 30 TRANSFERRED ENTITLEMENT.
Select one option below:
- CHAPTER 35 – SURVIVORS’ AND DEPENDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (DEA)
- CHAPTER 33 – POST-9/11 GI BILL MARINE GUNNERY SERGEANT DAVID FRY SCHOLARSHIP
G. OTHER (Specify benefits)
Important note: Only complete items 28 and 29 below if you selected box E above.
- NAME OF INDIVIDUAL ON WHOSE ACCOUNT YOU PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED BENEFITS
Enter the full legal First, Middle, and Last name.
- SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF INDIVIDUAL ON WHOSE ACCOUNT YOU PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED BENEFITS
Enter the full legal name as above.
PART VI – APPLICANT’S MILITARY SERVICE INFORMATION
- HAVE YOU EVER SERVED ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMED FORCES?
Choose YES or NO. If NO, skip to Part VII
- INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR PERIOD(S) OF ACTIVE DUTY
Include the following information in the boxes provided:
- Date entered active duty
- Date separated from active duty
- Branch of service or Guard/Reserve component
- Character of discharge
PART VII – EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT
SECTION I – EDUCATION & TRAINING
- CHECK THE APPROPRIATE BOX AND ENTER THE DATE IN ITEM 33
Select from the following:
- GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL
- DISCONTINUED HIGH SCHOOL
- EXPECT TO GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL
- AWARDED GED
- NEVER ATTENDED HIGH SCHOOL
- DATE (Enter in MM/DD/YYYY format. Presumably this is the date of graduation, award of a GED, or the date when the applicant discontinued high school. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide any additional notes or guidance on this Date entry. )
34A. TYPE OF SCHOOL
Fill in the relevant details for each applicable school including:
34B. NAME AND LOCATION OF SCHOOL including both city and state
34C. DATES OF TRAINING including stop and start date
34D. NUMBER OF SEMESTER, QUARTER, OR CLOCK HOURS COMPLETED
35D. DEGREE, DIPLOMA, OR CERTIFICATE RECEIVED
36D. MAJOR FIELD OR COURSE OF STUDY
SECTION II – EMPLOYMENT
- CURRENT AND PAST EMPLOYMENT
Fill in the following boxes with the following information:
- JOB TITLE
- NUMBER OF MONTHS EMPLOYED
- JOB TITLE
NOTE: Only complete items 36A and 36B if you are a civilian employee of the federal government.
36A. DO YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE FUNDS FROM YOUR AGENCY OR DEPARTMENT FOR THE SAME COURSES FOR WHICH YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE VA EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE?
Answer YES or NO but if YES, complete Item 36B.
36B. SOURCE OF EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE FROM GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT
Fill in any details you have about your current educational benefits as a government employee.
PART VIII – REMARKS AND REMINDERS AND VA EDUCATION BENEFITS PAMPHLET
SECTION I – REMARKS
Use this space to add any relevant information about your application. If you need additional space, you can attach your remarks on a separate piece of paper but be sure to include your name and Social Security Number on each separate page.
SECTION II – REMINDERS
This space was designed to help you include all relevant information before you submit your application.
DID YOU REMEMBER TO:
- WRITE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON THE TOP OF EACH PAGE
- PROVIDE YOUR COMPLETE MAILING AND EMAIL ADDRESS
- ATTACH SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS (e.g., birth certificate, marriage license, DD214, etc.)
SECTION III – VA EDUCATION BENEFITS INFORMATION
- THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION ON VA EDUCATION BENEFITS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT www.va.gov.
This section is informational only. No personal data is needed here.
PART IX – CERTIFICATION AND SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT
I CERTIFY THAT all statements in my application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
39A. SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT (DO NOT PRINT)
Sign your full legal name as it appears on your government-issued ID card or license. You must be at least 18 years of age to legally sign this form. If under 18, your parent, guardian or custodian must complete and sign in Part X.
Enter the date when the form is completed.
PENALTY: Willfully false statements as to a material fact in a claim for education benefits is a punishable offense and may result in the forfeiture of these or other benefits and in criminal penalties.
PART X – SIGNATURE OF PARENT, GUARDIAN OR CUSTODIAN
This section must be completed by the parent, guardian, or custodian if the applicant is a minor.
- NAME OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN
Include the full legal name of the person signing the form as it appears on their government-issued ID card or license.
41A. MAILING ADDRESS OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN
Include the number, street, city, state, and zip code.
41B. TELEPHONE NUMBER(S) OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN
Include the area code.
41C. EMAIL ADDRESS OF PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN
Include this information where applicable.
42A. SIGNATURE OF PARENT/GUARDIAN
Check the box provided IF the applicant is under the age of 18.
42B. DATE SIGNED
Enter the date of the signature in 42A.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.