Matthew Hill: Hello, this is Matthew Hill from Hill and Ponton, along with Carol Ponton. And, we’re here to talk to you today about Special Monthly Compensation.
Matthew Hill: We’ve done a few blogs, video blogs, on this so far. And, we talked about, kind of, the lower ones, the SMC for Aid and Attendance. And, well, we’ve talked about some of the maximum ones, the SMCT for TBIs. And what we want to talk-
Carol Ponton: Traumatic Brain Injury.
Carol Ponton: The VA, I mean, if you don’t know all these acronyms, it’s easy to get lost.
Matthew Hill: Yeah, you start talking a different language.
Matthew Hill: And, what we want to talk to you today are about the Special Monthly Compensations for Amputation or Loss of Use.
Matthew Hill: So, just to kind of give a background real quick: Another interesting thing of the VA is that 100% is not 100%.
Matthew Hill: You can get 100% rating and get paid $3,000/month or so and think, “Okay, I’ve done everything I need to do. It’s over.”
Matthew Hill: Well, in the majority of cases, that is over. That is the private max that is out there. But, there are some cases that are so severe that the Veteran’s Administration will actually pay above that.
Matthew Hill: It’s what I hear Veterans refer to as “100% Plus.” And so, the Special Monthly Compensations we want to discuss revolve around the Amputations and Loss of Use.
Carol Ponton: And, the confusing thing is, what the regulation talks about, it talks about “loss of feet” or “loss of hands,” but also “loss of use of feet and hands.” And, that’s why a lot of people don’t realize this is available to them.
Carol Ponton: Particularly people who have Parkinson’s, who have-
Matthew Hill: Multiple Sclerosis.
Carol Ponton: Multiple Sclerosis. They have very bad neuropathy because of diabetes. There are a lot of people out there who have lost their ability to use their hands or their feet.
Carol Ponton: Now, what does that mean?
Carol Ponton: If you can’t stand on either foot, balance on a foot, or if you can’t push off on a foot without losing your balance, or you don’t have the strength to do that. Then, you probably are entitled to SMC for Loss of Use of Feet.
Carol Ponton: And, your hands: A lot of things what they’re looking for is can you pick up a coin off the center of the table or do you have to slide it to the edge?
Carol Ponton: If your hands are so numb that you can’t do that, then you may be entitled to Loss of Use of Hands. And, these are significant benefits.
Matthew Hill: The way the VA does the math, they consider what Special Monthly Compensation you’d be entitled to.
Matthew Hill: For one of these problems, for one of these issues is very difficult. It’s just not straight-forward. So, for Loss of Use of one Leg, it could be a 60% rating, and a Special Monthly Compensation K, which is a loss of use of an organ, which is $130. But, it’s when you start combining them.
Matthew Hill: And, something like Parkinson’s, which affects your whole body, especially your extremities, and you have Loss of Use of a Hand, and Loss of Use of a Foot, that’s when your ratings- [crosstalk 00:02:53]
Carol Ponton: Or both feet, or both hands.
Matthew Hill: Yeah. Start to go up much more significantly.
Carol Ponton: Exactly.
Matthew Hill: And, we’re talking the difference between $3000/month to $4000, to $4500 to $5000.
Carol Ponton: $65… I mean, it goes up a lot.
Matthew Hill: It’s very significant.
Carol Ponton: And, so, these are the kind of people… You know, one of the sad things is, I will see, or know someone who they say, “Oh, it’s wonderful. He got his 100% right away.”
Carol Ponton: Well, yeah, he did. But, he certainly was entitled to, like, $8500 because his injuries were so catastrophic. But, no one tells him that.
Matthew Hill: Right.
Carol Ponton: And, this is why when you have these injuries, you know someone who has these disabilities, get in there and file for SMC.
Matthew Hill: Right. So, it’s just important to do a self evaluation on top of what VA’s done, as far as your, how… I don’t know how to say that. How useful your extremities still are.
Matthew Hill: And, then, that’s where you make the decision to see if you’re entitled to more than just the 100%.
Carol Ponton: Right.
Matthew Hill: Thanks for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you again on this space soon.