VA Special Monthly Compensation:
Table of Contents:
Benefits and Services
Getting Benefits and Services
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is very difficult to understand – even experts in veterans benefits can find it confusing. So you are not alone if you find the SMC program difficult to figure out. This article introduces the SMC program. However, it cannot explain every detail. For additional questions, see the Vets101 article on Getting Local Help to find a qualified representative.
There are about 60 levels of SMC divided into 9 letter categories: -K, -L, -M, -N, -O, -P, -R, -S, and -T. If you get SMC, the VA will tell you which of these categories of SMC you qualify for. Some of the letter categories also have in-between levels, which are shown by a “½” symbol after the letter. Here we’ll introduce the basic eligibility requirements for the main categories of SMC benefits.
Many of the eligibility requirements use specific technical language that may be difficult to understand. You may need to talk to an expert to figure out exactly what level you qualify for.
Eligibility for Specific Levels of SMC
To receive an SMC (k) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of:
Both buttocks (where the applicable bilateral muscle group prevents the individual from maintaining unaided upright posture, rising and stooping actions)
One or more creative organs used for reproduction (absence of testicles, ovaries, or the creative organ, ¼ loss of tissue of a single breast or both breasts in combination) due to trauma while in the service, or as a residual of service-connected disabilities
One eye (loss of use includes specific levels of blindness)
Complete organic aphonia (constant loss of voice due to disease)
Deafness of both ears that includes absence of air and bone conduction
To receive an SMC (l) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of:
One hand and one foot
Blindness in both eyes with visual acuity of 5/200 or less
Regular need for aid and attendance
To receive an SMC (m) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of:
Both legs at the region of the knee
One arm at the region of the elbow with one leg at the region of the knee
Blindness in both eyes, having only light perception
Blindness in both eyes resulting in the need for regular aid and attendance
To receive an SMC (n) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of both arms at the region of the elbow
Anatomical loss of both legs so near the hip that it prevents the use of a prosthetic appliance
Anatomical loss of one arm so near the shoulder that it prevents the use of a prosthetic appliance, along with the anatomical loss of one leg so near the hip that it prevents the use of a prosthetic appliance
The anatomical loss of both eyes, or blindness in both eyes that includes loss of light perception
To receive an SMC (o) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss of both arms so near the shoulder that it prevents the use of a prosthetic appliance
Bilateral deafness (both ears) rated at least 60% disabling, along with service-connected blindness with visual acuityof 20/2000 or less in both eyes
Complete deafness in one ear or bilateral deafness rated at least 40% disabling, along with service-connected blindness in both eyes that includes loss of light perception
Paraplegia-paralysis of both lower extremities, along with bowel and bladder incontinence
Helplessness due to a combination of loss (or loss of use) of two extremities with deafness and blindness, or a combination of multiple injuries causing severe and total disability
To receive an SMC (p) award you must have one of the following:
Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of a leg at or below the knee, along with the anatomical loss (or loss of use) of the other leg at a level above the knee
The anatomical loss (or loss of use) of a leg below the knee, along with the anatomical loss (or loss of use) of an arm above the elbow
The anatomical loss (or loss of use) of one leg above the knee and the anatomical loss (or loss of use) of one hand
Blindness in both eyes, meeting the requirements listed for SMC (l), (m) or (n)
To receive an SMC (r) award you must:
Be receiving the maximum SMC (o) benefits and require:
Aid and attendance, or
Aid and attendance of another person without which you would require hospitalization, nursing home care or other residential type care
To receive an SMC (s) (Housebound) award, you must either:
Meet all of the following:
You have a service-connected disability rated at 100%
You have a qualifying, additional service-connected disability (or disabilities) that is completely separate from the first disability and is independently rated at 60%
You are approved for VA disability compensation
Your disabilities must directly cause you to be substantially confined to your home and the immediate premises or, if you are in an institution, to the ward or clinical areas
Also, it must be reasonably certain that your disability or disabilities and confinement will continue for the rest of your life
To receive an SMC (t) award you must:
Need regular Aid and Attendance (A&A) for the residuals of (results of) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Not be eligible for a higher level of A&A under SMC (r)(2)
Need hospitalization, nursing home care, or other residential institutional care without in-home A&A
Eligibility for Aid and Attendance
Usually, you may qualify for regular Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefits based on any of the following circumstances:
You need the regular help of another person to perform everyday living activities, adjust prosthetic devices, or protect yourself from the hazards of your daily environment. Even if you are able to perform some of those functions, you may still be able to qualify for A&A, because the VA will consider the particular personal functions that you are unable to perform in connection with your condition as a whole.
You are bedridden because your disability (or disabilities) requires you stay in bed, not because of any treatment you have had, such as surgery; OR
You are a patient in a nursing home because of a mental or physical incapacity; OR
You are blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or have concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
For more information on disabling conditions that the VA considers for A&A, read the glossary entry for Disabling Conditions Relevant to Aid & Attendance.
When you apply for A&A, your evidence must show that you actually need personal assistance from others. But you don’t need to show that you need it all the time, just that you need it regularly.
Certain spouses may also qualify for A&A benefits. If you are a veteran with a 30% or greater combined VA service-connected disability rating, and your spouse needs the aid and attendance of another person, you may be entitled to get a spouse-related A&A payment.
Usually, if you get VA disability compensation and you qualify for A&A benefits, the VA will pay you at the SMC-L rate instead of your normal monthly disability compensation. There are exceptions to this, which can sometimes get you even more compensation. These exceptions can be read in the glossary entry for Exceptions to the SMC-L Rate for Aid & Assistance. If the VA finds you eligible for SMC-L, your monthly compensation from the VA will come on or about the first day of each month and will not be subject to federal or state taxes.
Mark Shumaker is a 43 year old Veteran who receives 150% Service connected Disability Compensation. Who just recently was approved for SSDI. There are certain things you should know which no one bothers telling you about Disability Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance. Which can greatly approve your chances of being awarded what you have put in a lot faster then the system awarded me. Please take time to review my website. Unlike everyone else, I am not charging anything for anything.
7215 Central Ave
Lemon Grove CA 91945
All Rights Reserved.
Up until recently I have been seeking full time employment with my current Service related issue from the military and life. I was just approved for SSDI, after three years.
There are certain forms the social security administration looks for which I never was told up until the time I got a disability Lawyer. These forms were the difference between being approved and being denied again and again. I am not saying your win without a lawyer but having all your i's dotted and t's crossed while waiting for the Social Security Administration to award you.
"This guy knows his stuff."
- IGNATIUS J. REILLY
"Why should you use your GI bill if Chapter 31 will pay for your BA degree."
- GEORGE BOWLING
"I have two kids and I am 100% Disabled, Ask about DEA Education Benefits. "
- TIM DOYLE