Friday, September 17, 2010

VA Honors Veterans on POW/MIA National Recognition Day

Special Benefits Available to Former POWs

WASHINGTON (September 20, 2010)- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki wants former American prisoners of war (POWs) to be aware of
the benefits and services available to them as Americans across the
nation show respect and appreciation for this special group of men and
women during POW/MIA National Recognition Day.

"These Veterans made great sacrifices for their country in time of war,
and it is our Nation's turn to honor them by reinforcing to them the
full range of compensation, health care and benefits they have earned,"
said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has expanded policies to cover
increasing numbers of former prisoners of war.

Special benefits for former POWs include enrollment in medical care for
treatment at VA hospitals and clinics without copayments, as well as
disability compensation for injuries and diseases that are associated
with internment.

Former POWs are also generally entitled to a presumption of
service-connection for certain diseases, based on the length of
captivity and the severity of their conditions.

Free dental treatment for any dental condition is also available to
former POWs. These benefits are in addition to regular Veterans'
benefits and services to which they are already entitled.

A major benefit for survivors of former POWs include Dependency and
Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is a monthly benefit which may be
payable to the surviving spouse, children and, in some cases, parents.

Currently, more than 15,000 POWs are receiving VA benefits for
service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses. VA is asking former
POWs not currently utilizing VA benefits to contact the agency at
1-800-827-1000 to find out if they may be eligible for disability
compensation and other services.

Veterans can also apply online at or contact their
coordinator for former POWs located at each VA regional office.

More information about VA services for former POWs is available at

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