What Is VA “Special Monthly Compensation” And How Do You Qualify?

What Is VA "Special Monthly Compensation" And How Do You Qualify?

Even if you’re receiving VA disability payments, you may be eligible for additional tax-free benefits called Special Monthly Compensation, or SMC. This is in addition to regular VA disability compensation, and is made available to veterans with specific service-connected conditions such as the loss of extremities or specific organs. You may also be eligible for SMC for a combination of disabilities.

The reasoning for SMC is that some conditions or a combination of them are more disabling than just one. If you’re afflicted with multiple conditions, the VA will pay a higher rate.

SMC Conditions

Some of the disabilities that the VA will consider for special monthly compensation include:

  • Loss of a hand or foot, or loss of use
  • Loss of sight in an eye, with only light perception
  • Deafness in both ears with a lack of air/bone conduction
  • Loss of a reproductive organ, or loss of use
  • Loss of both buttocks (complete), or loss of use
  • Loss of verbal communication through complete organic aphonia (physical loss of voice, which is different from catatonia)
  • Partial or complete loss of tissue from one breast or a complete loss of both breasts attributed to radiation treatment or a mastectomy

Combinations of disabilities that are eligible for SMC can include:

  • Loss of multiple extremities, such as loss of feet, hands, arms, or legs, depending on the combination of losses
  • Bilateral blindness combined with severe hearing loss
  • Being housebound and requiring the assistance of someone else on a daily basis; the amount varies on the degree of assistance needed
  • Paraplegia that includes loss of control
  • Other service-connected conditions combined with these disabilities that can lead to higher benefit payments

Levels Of Disability

The VA divides these conditions into levels, which they decide using the above combination criteria.

  • Levels L through O covers specific conditions and disabilities
  • Level R is assigned if you need help from another person for daily activities such as eating, dressing and bathing
  • Level S applies if you are housebound as a result of service-connected conditions

The VA may consider other specific combinations of disabilities when deciding on an award for SMC. You can also see the VA’s currently available rate table for SMC as of 12/1/2019.

Applying For SMC

You may not realize that you qualify for this benefit unless someone told you about it. And you should also be issued SMC automatically if you qualify. If you believe you qualify for SMC but have not been awarded anything, contact the VA.

You can apply at the closest regional benefit office, or call the VA at 800-827-1000. You can also contact a disability law attorney who works with veterans to help them work with the VA and understands the process.

Be forewarned that the VA will still need to review all available medical evidence as they do for any claim prior to awarding SMC benefits.

Helping Houston Veterans With Special Monthly Compensation

Do you believe you may be eligible for SMC but don’t know how to find out?

William Herren is a disability attorney who has helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get the benefits they deserve, including veterans. We understand the VA system and can work on your behalf to make the applications and appeals process a lot easier. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You won’t owe a fee until we win your case.