National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a revitalized website for military veterans who are former prisoners of war in time for Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) National Recognition Day, September 14, 2004. The Former Prisoner of War website details special benefits and services available to former POWs and is part of VA's year-long outreach campaign aimed at providing former POWs and their families information about benefits granted by Congress during the last few years. At the end of last year, there were nearly 40,000 former POWs living in the United States. The site provides separate pages on former POW benefits, health care, dependents' benefits, VA former POW coordinators and the DOD POW/MIA office. It also offers the new VA former POW data report. The outreach effort focuses on former POWs of World War II and Korea who have never used or have not recently used their VA benefits and may not be aware of recently legislated VA benefits.

VA is asking former prisoners of war not currently receiving benefits to contact VA to find out if they may be eligible for disability compensation and other services. VA estimates it does not have mailing addresses for 11,000 or more former POWs. If you, or someone you know, are a former POW not receiving benefits, please call VA at 1-800-827-1000.

GovBenefits.gov features the following benefit programs that are available to former POWs, and their dependents:

Special Benefits for Qualified WWII Veterans
The Special Benefits for Certain WWII Veterans Program pays a special benefit to certain World War II veterans that are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and meet other specified criteria for each month that they reside outside of the United States. For more information, visit the Special Benefits for Qualified WWII Veterans Program.

Gulf War, Agent Orange and Ionizing Radiation Registry Program
Qualifying veterans are provided with free, comprehensive medical examinations, including laboratory and other diagnostic tests deemed necessary by an examining physician to determine health status. VA has developed databases called registries to help analyze the type of health conditions being reported by veterans. For more information, visit the Gulf War, Agent Orange and Ionizing Radiation Registry Program.

Vocational and Educational Counseling for Service Members and Veterans
The Vocational and Educational Counseling for service members and veterans program provides counseling services for service members and veterans to help better enable them in selecting educational and vocational objectives. For more information, visit the Vocational and Educational Counseling for Service Members and Veterans Program.