For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military

See also: In The Military

POWs eligible for
special VA benefits

Question: My neighbor was a prisoner of war in Korea and has never asked for any assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Can you explain what benefits he is eligible for?

Answer: Former American POWs are eligible for special veterans benefits, including medical care in VA hospitals and disability compensation for injuries and diseases associated with internment. These benefits are in addition to regular veterans benefits and services to which they, as veterans, are entitled. For POWs detained for more than 30 days, such eligibility covers many illnesses that are at a compensable level (at least 10 percent disabling). These include nutritional deficiencies, peptic ulcer disease, ischemic heart disease and, especially in Korea, organic residuals of frostbite. Realizing that military medical records do not cover periods of captivity, for many diseases VA disability compensation can be paid on the basis of a presumption that the disease is associated with the veteran's captivity.

As with any veteran with a service-connected disability, former POWs receive special priority for the treatment of their service-connected illness or injury in VA facilities. Former POWs are exempt from making co-payments for inpatient and outpatient medical care and treatment, but they have the same co-pay rules as other veterans for medications and for extended care. POWs held for more than 90 days additionally are eligible for free dental treatment.

For more information, contact the VA at 433-1000 and ask for the POW coordinator.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin,
can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

E-mail to City Desk

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