VA Disability compensation, in itself, is a vast area of discussion and there is always so much more to learn. This blog was established seven years ago, and hundreds of topics have been discussed during that time, but there is still so much more to examine, especially regarding Special Monthly Compensation. A few of our Intake team members recently attended a resource fair, and many Veterans wanted more information about Special Monthly Compensation. There is not a lot of information about Special Monthly Compensation available online. In fact, even the VA website has limited information.
So, what is Special Monthly Compensation?
First, let’s look at what Special Monthly Compensation is not. It is not a VA Disability rating. Here is how the VA defines Special Monthly Compensation (SMC):
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses caring for an ailing veteran, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
The VA definition of SMC mentions the loss of a hand or foot as an example, but there are additional disabilities which qualify. Here is a complete list:
- loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot
- immobility of a joint or paralysis
- loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception)
- loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ
- complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks
- deafness of both ears (having an absence of air and bone conduction)
- inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia)
- loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment
Our firm frequently encounters Veterans who need to file for SMC due to “loss of use of a creative organ.” Typically, this applies to Veterans who have been diagnosed with and treat erectile dysfunction. In this situation, the organ is still attached to the body, but it cannot perform for the purposes of reproduction. If a Veteran is experiencing this issue and meets the criteria, they could be eligible for Special Monthly Compensation.
If you are a Veteran who has filed for Disability compensation, or if you are curious about Special Monthly Compensation, you should also know that the VA will offer SMC on a combination of other conditions.
Here are some examples:
- The VA will pay higher rates for combinations of these disabilities such as loss or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands, and arms based on a combination of the disabilities.
- There are also higher payments for different combinations of severe deafness with bilateral blindness.
- Additional SMC is available if a Veteran is service-connected for paraplegia, with complete loss of bowel and bladder control.
- In addition, if you have any other service-connected disabilities that, in combination with the above Special Monthly Compensation, meet certain criteria, a higher amount of SMC can also be considered.
- If you are 100% service-connected and housebound, bedridden, or so helpless to need the aid and attendance of another person, then SMC can be paid. The amount of SMC will vary depending on the level of aid and attendance needed.
We know how confusing this process can be. It helps to work with someone who knows how to cut through the red tape. If you would like to know more about the services we provide, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so a member of our team can call you at a better time.