How to Apply for CHAMPVA Benefits for a Child

Just like the spouse or widow/widower, the dependent child of a qualified veteran sponsor can avail of CHAMPVA benefits. The process is similar as when you apply for CHAMPVA benefits for a spouse. Of course, the documents that establish the child’s eligibility are what differ.  To get coverage for the dependent child of an eligible veteran sponsor, you’ll need the same forms as when applying for a spouse.


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How to Add Dependent Child to CHAMPVA Benefits

Update 11/2012:  CHAMPVA may insist you submit so-called “optional” documents anyway, so it is best to send them along with your application form and other forms from the onset.

First, make sure the child has a valid Social Security Number.  Second, ensure that the child is already claimed as a dependent of the veteran. To claim a child, the veteran should submit VA Form 21-686c: Declaration of Status of Dependents to his or her VA regional office. (You could also use VONAPP.)

Then submit these CHAMPVA forms:

  • VA Form 10-10d
  • VA Form 10-7959c
  • CHAMPVA Marriage Status Application Attachment (VA lists this as required to apply; it doesn’t say it’s NOT required for a child’s enrollment)

Also recommended to submit:

  • Copy of sponsor‘s marriage license or certificate (This is used to get coverage for a spouse; for biological child, this is not necessary as the birth certificate will suffice)
  • Copy of birth certificate or adoption decree of child (proves child’s eligibility)
  • Copy of page showing sponsor’s VBA rating or death rating
  • Copy of sponsor’s DD214 (the equivalent of Report of Separation for WWII and Korean vets)

It can take up to 6 weeks to process an enrollment of a child if you include both required and optional documents. If you send only the required forms, it can take much longer — about 2-8 months. (Source is the VA’s CHAMPVA page.)

Notes for Newborn Babies

See how to add newborn baby to CHAMPVA.

See also CHAMPVA coverage for newborns and kids.

How Long Is a Child Eligible for CHAMPVA Benefits?

Children of the veteran sponsor are not meant to be covered by CHAMPVA for life.  Under normal circumstances, a child beneficiary loses CHAMPVA benefits when:

  • the child turns 18 years old unless enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school (except for a child who gets rated as a helpless child by the VA before he or she turns 18)
  • the child who has been enrolled full-time as above, either turns 23 years old or ceases to be a full-time student (whichever comes sooner)
  • the child gets married
  • if a stepchild, the child no longer lives at home with the veteran sponsor
    (divorce or annulment has no effect on a stepchild’s eligibility, take note– the determining factor is whether the child lives with the veteran still or not)

Related Articles:

This website,, is NOT affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any part of the U.S. government. Please DO NOT send us information about yourself such as your SSN, name, address, etc. for help with CHAMPVA…. The pharmacy network for CHAMPVA now is Catamaran (formerly SXC)…. Further, we cannot guarantee that the information here is accurate and up-to-date. To ensure you have the latest information, please visit the official CHAMPVA home page at Your use of this site means you agree to and understand this disclaimer. Thank you!

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