Loss of Use of Hands Benefits
Have you been having trouble holding onto objects? Are you unable to pick up certain items? Do you notice yourself dropping things often? The VA’s benefit for Loss of Use of Hands is granted in the form of Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). SMC is a monthly benefit for veterans who have a severe impairment due to service-connected conditions, in this case, the inability to use one’s hands. This could be impairment due to numbness from Peripheral Neuropathy, intense pain from Carpal Tunnel, tingling from Radiculopathy, a permanent physical injury from an explosion, etc.
How Does the VA Rate Loss of Use of Hands?
Ratings for the loss of use of a hand often qualify veterans to receive benefits similar to those due to veterans whose injuries have required amputation of that limb. Even where a veteran is already entitled to a 100% rating, a loss of use rating may qualify the veteran for special monthly compensation above that 100% rating.
How Does the VA Define Loss of Use of Hands?
The VA defines Loss of Use of Hands for the purpose of special monthly compensation when no effective function remains other than that which would be equally well served by an amputation stump at the site of election below the elbow with use of a suitable prosthetic appliance. The determination will be made on the basis of the actual remaining function of the hand and whether the acts of grasping or manipulation of an object are possible.
Could You Qualify For These Benefits?
To make the VA definition easier to understand, let’s take a look at an example: picture a coin on the center of your kitchen table. Are you able to pick the coin right up with your fingers, or do you need to slide the coin to the edge of the table and push it until you can allow it to fall into your hand? If you’re unable to grasp the coin immediately, that is an indicator that your hands may not have a substantial remaining function.
When considering whether you may qualify for Loss of Use of Hands, some other questions to ask yourself are:
- Do I have problems lifting pots and pans in the kitchen?
- Do I frequently drop my eating utensils?
- Is it difficult to wash myself in the shower due to lack of control of my hands?
- If someone places something in my hand, can I feel it?
- Am I able to type on a computer?
- Can I pick up a pen and write a grocery list?
- When I am driving, do I have full control over the steering wheel?
- Am I able to button my own shirt?
- Can I tie my shoes?
Keep in mind, the loss of use of your hands may also help you qualify for Aid and Attendance. If you require the assistance of a spouse or other person to help you with daily activities due to the loss of function in your hands, you may also want to consider filing for this special monthly benefit. For more information on the different levels of Special Monthly Compensation benefits, you may qualify for, click here, Special Monthly Compensation: Explained.