What you need to know about Special Monthly Compensation
Special Monthly Compensation, or SMC, is a disability benefit that may be available to certain veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents. Eligible veterans receive a higher rate of compensation for their disability due to their special circumstances like the need for another person to come to their home to aid and attend to them, or for the nature of their disability like a loss of a limb. Special Monthly Compensation can provide financial support for veterans who are eligible.
A veteran’s spouse and surviving spouses may also be able to receive a Special Monthly Compensation based on their need for aid and attendance.
Special Monthly Compensation Key Terms
- Aid and attendance: the veteran’s condition is so severe that it required regular supervision by another person. This person may be a family member, home nurse, or the veteran may stay at a nursing home facility. It is important to note that hospitalization does not qualify as aid and attendance.
- Loss of use: a body part cannot function any better than it would if it was to be amputated and prosthetic devices were to be used. For example, if a veteran’s hand cannot grasp an object, this can be considered as a loss of use. Also, if a veteran’s leg was shortened by 3 1/2 inches or more, this is also considered to be a loss of use for their foot.
- Permanently bedridden: the veteran’s condition is so severe that the veteran cannot get out of bed. This does not include periods of time that is prescribed by a physician as bed rest. If the veteran is permanently bedridden, then they may qualify for a rating of Aid and Attendance and the rating will continue even if the veteran is or becomes hospitalized.
- Blindness: for VA purposes, an eye is considered to be “blind” if it has 5/200 vision or worse, or the field of vision is 5 degrees worse
- Basic needs: eating, using the restroom, getting dressed, basic hygiene, and more.
- Housebound: the veteran’s condition makes it so that he or she cannot leave the house at all, and this is expected to be the case for the rest of their life.
Common Disabilities that May Qualify for Special Monthly Compensation
These disabilities may qualify a veteran for Special Monthly Compensation but they are not limited to just these:
- Loss or loss of use of a hand or foot
- Immobility of a joint or paralysis
- Loss of sight of an eye
- Loss or loss of use of a reproductive organ
- Complete loss or loss of use of both buttocks
- Deafness of both ears
- Inability to communicate by speech
- Service-connected paraplegia with a complete loss of bowel and bladder control
- Service-connected disability rated at 100 percent or be housebound, bedridden or in need of aid from another person
There are different categories that determine the type and amount of Special Monthly Compensation. Each one has different requirements for the kind of conditions that qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under that category. A condition must first be service-connected by the VA to qualify for Special Monthly Compensation.
How does the VA rate Special Monthly Compensation?
There are basic levels that range from K to S that lead to the higher levels of Special Monthly Compensation that range from L to O. The basic levels include loss of use of a creative organ, loss of use of a hand or foot, blindness in one eye, deafness, loss of speech, housebound, or aid and attendance.
The VA should automatically grant a veteran Special Monthly Compensation if they qualify for it, however, there are many cases where the VA will overlook this information and fail to grant a veteran the benefits that they deserve.