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Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits

Definition Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits refer to the specific compensation and support provided to veterans who were held captive as prisoners during a period of war or military conflict. This may include financial compensation, healthcare, and educational services for the affected individual. The intent of these benefits is to recognize the sacrifices made by […]


Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits refer to the specific compensation and support provided to veterans who were held captive as prisoners during a period of war or military conflict. This may include financial compensation, healthcare, and educational services for the affected individual. The intent of these benefits is to recognize the sacrifices made by POW veterans and assist them in their post-service lives.

Key Takeaways

  1. Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits are granted to eligible veterans who were held as prisoners during active military, naval, or air service.
  2. These benefits include compensation payments for disabilities related to the POW experience and other special entitlements, such as healthcare services, nursing home care, and dental care.
  3. For a veteran to be eligible for POW Benefits, they must have been held captive for at least 30 days and show evidence that their disabilities were caused or aggravated by the captivity.


Understanding the term “Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits” is important as it refers to the range of benefits and compensation provided to eligible military veterans who were subject to captivity during war or a period of international armed conflict.

These benefits aim to acknowledge the immense physical, emotional, and mental sacrifices made by these individuals while enduring adversities as POWs.

By providing medical care, disability compensation, and other supportive services, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works to ensure that former POWs receive appropriate care and assistance for the hardships they have faced, in an effort to improve their quality of life and enable them to live with dignity after their great service to the nation.


The purpose of the Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits is to provide comprehensive assistance and support to the US military personnel who have endured the grueling and traumatic experience of being captured, held, and possibly tortured while serving their nation. Recognizing the significant mental, emotional, and physical hardships faced by these brave individuals, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established a system of benefits and services tailored to address the unique needs that arise from time spent in captivity. The POW Benefits serve not only to improve the quality of life for these veterans but also to acknowledge their immense sacrifice and unwavering dedication to their country.

Under the umbrella of POW Benefits, eligible veterans can access a variety of services, including healthcare, disability compensation, educational opportunities, and vocational rehabilitation. Healthcare provisions are often a crucial component, as many former prisoners of war are left grappling with both physical and psychological issues owing to their captivity. The VA provides comprehensive healthcare at no cost for all medical conditions related to their time as POWs, ensuring that the veterans receive necessary treatments and support to overcome any lingering challenges.

Furthermore, disability compensation is available for those suffering from long-term disability due to their incarceration. For veterans looking to rebuild their lives and careers, the VA offers education and training programs through the GI Bill, as well as vocational rehabilitation and employment support services. In essence, the POW Benefits play an invaluable role in facilitating the reintegration and healing of former prisoners of war, honoring their sacrifice, and enabling them to lead fulfilling lives in the aftermath of their ordeal.

Examples of Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits

The VA Benefits term “Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits” refers to assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to former military service members who were held as prisoners of war during their service. These benefits extend to various areas, including compensation, healthcare, and counseling services. Here are three real-world examples related to POW benefits:

Compensation Benefits: In November 2020, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision increasing monthly compensation for POWs who were held captive for more than 30 days. The increase is granted in recognition of the increased difficulty faced during and after captivity, as well the impact on the individual’s life and family.

Healthcare Benefits: Former POWs are eligible for enhanced eligibility for VA healthcare, which includes access to care for injuries or health issues related to their time as prisoners. This may include treatment for physical and mental health issues, such as PTSD, that resulted from their time in captivity. Additionally, former POWs may receive priority access to various medical services, such as dental care and/or hearing aids, if needed as a result of their service.

Counseling Services: Many former POWs experience emotional and psychological difficulties following their time in captivity. They may struggle with PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. To support these veterans, the VA offers various counseling services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions. These services are designed to help former POWs and their families cope with the long-term effects of captivity and adjust to life after release.Overall, the assistance provided through POW benefits aims to recognize the sacrifices made by these brave individuals and provide them with the support needed to navigate the challenges they face in civilian life.

Prisoners of War (POW) Benefits FAQ

1. What benefits are available for former Prisoners of War?

Former POWs may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including medical care, disability compensation, education, and employment services. These benefits may cover physical and psychological conditions related to their captivity or specific service-connected disabilities.

2. How do I apply for VA benefits as a former POW?

To apply for VA benefits, you can submit a completed VA Form 21-526EZ (Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits) to your local VA Regional Office. Additionally, you may apply online through the VA’s eBenefits portal at www.ebenefits.va.gov or seek assistance from a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to help with the application process.

3. What medical conditions qualify for POW benefits?

The VA recognizes several medical conditions presumptive for former POWs, including psychosis, anxiety, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, heart disease, and certain nutritional deficiencies. These conditions must have persisted for at least six months following the date of your release from captivity. You may also be eligible for benefits related to other service-connected conditions.

4. Are there special health care benefits for former POWs?

Yes, former POWs receive priority access to VA health care and are exempt from copayments for hospital care and outpatient medical services. They may also be eligible for dental care and mental health services specifically related to their captivity.

5. Can family members of former POWs receive benefits?

Dependents or survivors of former POWs may be eligible for certain VA benefits, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), education and training opportunities through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, or VA home loan programs. Additionally, the VA may provide burial and memorial benefits for deceased former POWs.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Repatriation Assistance for Former POWs
  • POW Compensation and Benefits
  • Health Care for Former Prisoners of War
  • Disability Compensation for Former POWs
  • Educational and Vocational Rehabilitation for Former POWs

Sources for More Information

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