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By Ken Cruickshank
Veterans Service Office 

Benefits for Former POWs

Veterans Corner


Last updated 7/24/2020 at 4:54pm | View PDF

Before I get into this column’s topic, I would like to let everyone know that the Veterans Services Office is still closed to the public due to COVID-19. We are unsure when exactly we will reopen to the public, but we are available to answer your questions and in some cases may be able to complete your claim over the phone. Please call us at (559) 713-2880 for the latest services we are currently able to provide.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has benefits available for veterans who were former prisoners of war (POWs). These benefits may include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loan guarantee, insurance and burial.

Former POWs are veterans who, while serving on active duty, were forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy government, its agents or a hostile force. In the event of peacetime, if a veteran was forcibly detained or interned by a hostile government, its agents or a hostile force, and the internment was comparable to wartime, they may also be considered a POW.

With regard to disability compensation, former POWs are eligible for disabilities related to military service and their captivity.

For former POWs, the following diagnosed disabilities are presumed to be service-connected without regard to the length of their time in captivity:

• Osteoporosis (on or after October 10, 2008) if the POW has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

• Neuro-Psychiatric, including psychosis, dysthymic disorder (depressive neurosis), or any of the anxiety states (e.g., PTSD)

• Cold Injury

• Traumatic Arthritis

• Stroke

• Heart Disease

For former POWs who were captive for 30 days or more, these additional conditions will be presumed due to their captivity as well:

• Osteoporosis (on or after September 28, 2009)

• Nutritional deficiencies, including avitaminosis, beriberi, malnutrition and pellagra

• Helminthasis

• Peripheral Neuropathy

• Digestive disorders, including peptic ulcer disease, chronic dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome and cirrhosis of the liver

Dependents and survivors of former POWs may also be eligible for benefits with regard to the disabilities that were incurred as a result of the veteran’s service. Get in touch with us for further information.

Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3348 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at


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