Since World War I, more than 142,000 Americans, including 85 women, have been captured and interned as Prisoners of War (POWs). Not included in this figure are nearly 93,000 Americans who were lost or never recovered. More than 90% of living former POWs were captured and interned during World War II.
In 1981, Congress passed Public Law 97-37 entitled "Former Prisoners of War Benefit Act." This law established an Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War and mandated medical and dental care. It also identified certain diagnoses as presumptive service-connected conditions for former POWs. Subsequent laws and policy decisions have added additional diagnoses to the current list of presumptive conditions.
Former POWs can apply for compensation for their service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses by completing VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. They can also apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
For additional information and support groups for Former POWs, please contact our local Former POW Advocates: