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Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits

Definition Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits refer to the range of assistance and compensations provided to veterans by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) who were once held captive as prisoners of war. These benefits aim to support the health and well-being of former POWs and may include health care services, disability compensation, and […]


Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits refer to the range of assistance and compensations provided to veterans by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) who were once held captive as prisoners of war. These benefits aim to support the health and well-being of former POWs and may include health care services, disability compensation, and access to other VA programs. Eligibility for these benefits depends on factors such as duration of captivity, disabilities related to the captivity, and veteran’s service history.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits refer to the specific assistance and provisions offered by the VA for former military personnel who were held as captives during wartime or under hostile conditions.
  2. These benefits include various healthcare services, disability compensation, and access to specialized rehabilitative resources tailored to address the unique physical and mental health needs of Ex-POWs.
  3. Eligibility for Ex-POW Benefits is determined by factors such as the length of time spent in captivity, the presence of service-connected disabilities, and individual healthcare needs that arise directly from the wartime imprisonment experience.


The VA benefits term “Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits” is important because it acknowledges the unique challenges and sacrifices faced by military personnel who were captured and imprisoned during their service in the armed forces.

These former prisoners of war often undergo significant physical and psychological hardships, which might lead to long-lasting health issues or disabilities.

The Ex-POW Benefits ensure that these veterans receive appropriate support, medical care, compensation, and services to help them cope with the residual effects of their traumatic experiences.

This recognition and assistance are crucial to demonstrating gratitude and respect for their immense sacrifice while ensuring an improved quality of life for the ex-POWs and their families.


Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits aims to provide essential financial, medical, and mental health support to former military personnel who have experienced the adversity of being captured and detained during their service in the United States Armed Forces. The purpose of these benefits is to recognize and address the unique challenges faced by these veterans in their post-military life, as being a prisoner of war often results in long-lasting psychological and physical effects.

This program acknowledges the immense sacrifice made by these individuals in serving our nation, and it seeks to ensure that the quality of their lives is enhanced and the ordeals they faced are acknowledged. Ex-POW Benefits are utilized to address the specific physical and mental health needs of former prisoners of war, along with the improvement of their overall well-being and supporting their integration into civilian life.

Through this program, eligible veterans are granted access to comprehensive medical care, disability compensation, and mental health services that cater to the unique challenges they face due to their POW experiences. Furthermore, these benefits serve as a critical resource for veterans and their families to navigate the often-complex path of transitioning from military to civilian life, ensuring a sense of stability and support as they re-establish their lives.

In essence, the purpose of Ex-POW Benefits is to convey a message of gratitude and appreciation to these heroes, while addressing their individual needs in order to improve their quality of life.

Examples of Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits

Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits are offered to eligible U.S. military veterans who were held captive by enemy forces during a conflict or time of war. Here are three real-world examples:Robert D. Chenoweth, a Vietnam War Ex-POW:During the Vietnam War, U.S. Air Force pilot Robert D. Chenoweth was shot down and held as a POW for almost six years in North Vietnam. Upon his repatriation, Robert was eligible for Ex-POW benefits that included medically necessary treatment for any healthcare issues resulting from his time while being held captive, disability compensation, and access to other VA benefits and services specifically designed for former prisoners of war.

Jessica Lynch, Iraq War Ex-POW:Jessica Lynch, an American soldier, was captured during the Iraq War and spent nine days as a POW inUpon her return to the United States, Lynch became eligible for Ex-POW benefits that encompassed comprehensive healthcare, including dental and mental health services, disability compensation for any service-connected injuries sustained during her captivity, and other programs designated to improve her quality of life upon returning home.

Mark Smith, Iranian Hostage Crisis Ex-POW:Mark J. Smith was one of the 52 American diplomats held hostage in Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis from 1979-Upon release, Mark and his fellow Ex-POWs gained access to the same VA benefits as other veterans, including educational assistance, home loan guarantees, and vocational rehabilitation. They also benefitted from specific Ex-POW benefits and services to ensure they received necessary care and support, including PTSD support and healthcare services.

Ex-Prisoner of War (Ex-POW) Benefits FAQ

What benefits are available for Ex-Prisoners of War?

Ex-Prisoners of War (Ex-POWs) are eligible for a range of benefits, including disability compensation, pension, education, insurance, and medical care, among others. These benefits aim to support Ex-POWs and their families in leading a comfortable and secure life.

How do I apply for Ex-POW benefits?

To apply for Ex-POW benefits, you must complete the required forms and submit them along with supporting documentation and evidence to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Forms may differ depending on the specific benefit you’re applying for, and online application options are available for some benefits.

What are the eligibility criteria for Ex-POW benefits?

To be eligible for Ex-POW benefits, an individual must have served in the U.S. military and been officially classified as a prisoner of war. In some cases, there may be additional requirements, such as a link between a current disability and the individual’s time in captivity or a minimum period of captivity.

Can family members of an Ex-POW claim any benefits?

Yes, eligible family members of an Ex-POW may claim certain benefits, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Survivors Pension. Additionally, surviving spouses and children may be eligible for education assistance through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA).

What health care benefits are available for Ex-POWs?

Ex-POWs are eligible for comprehensive health care benefits through the VA health care system, which includes hospital, outpatient, long-term care, mental health services, and more. These health care benefits may be available without any copayments, depending on the severity of the disability and the individual’s financial situation.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • VA Disability Compensation
  • POW Medal Eligibility
  • Former POW Health Benefits
  • VA Pension
  • Ex-POW Counseling Services

Sources for More Information

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