April Bartlett, LMSW, ACSW, BCD E. Wayne Byrum, LMSW
FPOW Advocate FPOW Advocate
Phone: (734) 845-3393 Phone: (734) 845-3393
Sally Hickey, LISW
Phone: (419) 213-7539
Since World War I, more than 142,000 Americans, including 85 women, have been captured and interned as Prisoners of War (POWs). Not included in this figure are nearly 93,000 Americans who were lost or never recovered. Only one-fifth of America's former POWs since World War I are still living (about 22,641). More than 90% of living former POWs were captured and interned during World War II. About 15,367 former POWs are in receipt of compensation for service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses.
In 1981, Congress passed Public Law 97-37 entitled "Former Prisoners of War Benefit Act." This law accomplished several things. It 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. Subsequent public laws and policy decisions by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs have added additional diagnoses to the list of presumptive conditions. Click here for more information about FPOW Benefits.
VAAAHS has dedicated staff serving our Former Prisoners of War. We have a monthly support group for FPOWs and their families which is held on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 1:30pm-3:00pm at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Auditorium. The group is co-led by E. Wayne Byrum, LMSW and April Bartlett, LMSW, ACSW, BCD. For more information contact the VAAAHS FPOW Advocates.
There are many physical and mental health presumptive conditions for which FPOWs may qualify. Essentially, if one of the presumptive conditions is diagnosed through the VA and that information is shared with VBA, that condition is then service-connected. Most FPOWs are service-connected at a very high level.
Former POWs who are service-connected are eligible for VA health care. This includes hospital, nursing home, and outpatient treatment.
Former POWs who do not have a service-connected disability are eligible for VA hospital and nursing home care – without regard to their ability to pay.
FPOWs are also eligible for outpatient care on a priority basis – second only to veterans with service-connected disabilities.
While former POWs are receiving treatment in an approved outpatient treatment program, they are eligible for needed medicines, glasses, hearing aids, or prosthesis.
Former POWs are also eligible for all needed dental care.
There is no co-payment requirement for FPOWs at VA pharmacies.
To learn more, you may also visit http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/POW/index.htm