New Mexico VA Health Care System
Former Prisoner of War (FPOW) Program
Prisoners of War
Since World War I, more than 142,000 Americans, including 85 women, have been captured and interned as 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.
VA Compensation for Former POWs
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. VA’s Secretary later added additional diagnoses to the list of presumptive conditions.
Former POWs can apply for compensation for their service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses by completing VA Form 21-526EZ, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. They can also apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
The New Mexico VA Health Care System has dedicated staff serving our former POWs. For more information, contact the New Mexico VA Health Care System’s FPOW Advocate, Trudi Valdez, at 505-265-1711, extension 2774. You can also visit http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/pow/.