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Murray Introduces Legislation to Expand Availability of POW Benefits

Mar 13 2007

Legislation eliminates federal requirement that a POW must have been held for a minimum of 30 days in order to qualify for full POW benefits

(Washington D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today reintroduced legislation to expand the benefits of former American Prisoners of War (POWs).

Murray's bill, the Prisoner of War Benefits Act of 2007, would provide former POW's with expanded health care benefits and would eliminate the "minimum-time-held" requirement in order to qualify for these benefits.

"Americans who are held as POWs should not have to fight for benefits when they return home," said Senator Murray. "We cannot continue to limit care for certain ailments or to certain veterans based on illogical regulations. These Americans have endured harrowing experiences for our freedoms, and our debt to them is unconditional."

The Prisoners of War Benefits Act of 2007:

  • Repeals the current minimum (30 day) period veterans need to be interned before they get some presumptive service connected disabilities.

  • Adds type II diabetes and osteoporosis to the list of presumptive service connected disabilities for former POWs.

  • Sets up the authority for administrative review by the VA to add or remove additional presumptive service connected diseases/conditions for former POWs.

Murray's legislation builds on her 2003 bill - the Fran W. Agnes Ex-Prisoners of War Benefits Act - which was passed as part of the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2003. The 2003 bill eased restrictions on what qualified as a 'presumptive' medical condition based on captivity and eased benefit requirements for POWs of the Korean Conflict and World War II.