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According to the Pentagon, there are only 566 surviving U.S. prisoners of war from the Vietnam era and 21 from the first Gulf War, but the Veterans Administration has been paying POW-labeled disability benefits to 966 and 286 people, respectively, according to an April Associated Press investigation. The AP found that, even though the Pentagon POW list is posted online, the VA does not routinely check it when a veteran applies for POW status. (POW claimants go to the front of the VA disability-application line and receive various other privileges.)

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