Former Prisoner of War (POW)

Former prisoners of war (POWs) are veterans who, during active military service, were forcibly detained or interned by an enemy government, hostile force, or its agents. This designation extends to veterans detained in peacetime if the circumstances are comparable to wartime internment (e.g., Iran, Somalia, or Kosovo).

Congress defines a POW as someone forcibly detained during active duty in war or war-like situations. Former American POWs are prioritized in at least Priority Group 3 for VA health care. They are entitled to inpatient and outpatient medical care, necessary dental care, and medications without copays.