Disability Compensation for Former Prisoners of War (POWs)

If you are a former POW with disabilities related to your service and captivity, you may be eligible for compensation. If you are diagnosed with one or more of the conditions listed below, and at any time following active-duty military service your condition becomes at least 10% disabling, VA will presume it is related to your POW experience.

Are you eligible for compensation?

For former POWs who were captive for any length of time, yes, if:
  • You have osteoporosis (for claims filed on or after October 10, 2008, and you have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD).
  • You have a neuropsychiatric condition, psychosis, dysthymic disorder (depressive neurosis), or any of the anxiety states (for example, PTSD).
  • You still have damage from frostbite (if you were detained in areas cold enough to cause frostbite).
  • You have post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
  • You have experienced a stroke or have complications from a stroke.
  • You have hypertensive vascular disease, including hypertensive heart disease, and related complications.
VA presumes the following additional conditions to be service connected if you are a former POW who was held captive for 30 days or more:
  • Osteoporosis (for claims filed on or after September 28, 2009; no PTSD diagnosis is required)
  • Any nutritional deficiency, including avitaminosis, beriberi (including beriberi heart disease), malnutrition (including optic atrophy connected to malnutrition), and pellagra
  • Helminthiasis
  • Peripheral neuropathy (except where directly related to infectious disease)
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Chronic dysentery
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cirrhosis of the liver

Who is covered


Available benefits

  • Compensation
  • Health care

How it works

Certain conditions are presumed to be related to time spent in captivity as a POW. These presumptive disabilities are based on studies of the long-term effects of captivity, deprivation, trauma, and cold injury. If a former POW is diagnosed with one or more of these conditions to a degree that is at least 10% disabling, VA presumes that it is associated with your POW experience.