As a Veteran, you are entitled to compensation for your disabilities. Once you get a VA rating and apply for monthly compensation, you may think that the process is over. However, you may be eligible for special monthly compensation depending on certain conditions.
This article will go over all of the details you need to know to obtain a special monthly compensation if you are eligible.
A special monthly compensation (SMC) is an extra amount added to the monthly compensation you are already receiving. This extra compensation is for those requiring additional assistance due to an arm or leg amputation or if the Veteran is completely deaf or blind.
In these cases, most Veterans are homebound. Due to the additional care it takes to help those Veterans, extra compensation may be added to the existing one.
Even if you have received a 100% total disability rating, the SMC will add to your current VA rating. This additional compensation means the amount you receive every month will be more than what you receive, even at 100%. Since homebound Veterans cannot work for a living, this helps compensate for that.
The SMC is designed to compensate for non-economic factors, including the severe nature of the disability, social inadaptability, or inconvenience. It is not meant to compensate for the effects that the disability causes for Veterans earning any living. That is the purpose of the typical monthly compensation that a disabled Veteran receives.
Like the VA rating, there are different levels of SMC that the VA will give to Veterans. They include the following:
All of the SMC are given to the Veteran instead of the standard VA rating that you get. The only one that is in addition to the VA rating is the K rating. You also will only receive one SMC rating for levels L through O.
SMC Level K is a different rating than the rest. This rating is given to those who have lost a body part through amputation or have lost the use of a body part in general. As stated above, this one differs since it is in addition to your current VA rating. You can receive multiple amounts of Level K since each body part is given a certain amount of compensation. The amount you receive, though it is in addition to the VA rating, will be capped if you are already receiving SMC Level L through O.
Certain body parts are rated under Level K. They include:
Any amputation or loss of function of these body parts will get you a Level K rating.
Some Veterans require assistance to do basic functions and tasks given their disabilities. Those who need aid can receive a Level R. If you need assistance with eating, going to the bathroom, dressing, or cleaning every day, you qualify for Level R. A Veteran can also qualify if they need assistance and aid from others to keep them from harming themselves or others.
A Veteran being cared for at a hospital or care center does not qualify for this rating. A Level R rating is only for those receiving care at home.
There are two different levels for Level R. R1 is for those who do not need a professional to assist them. If a family member or friend can do it, the Veteran will receive an R1 rating. However, if the Veteran needs a licensed medical professional, they will receive the R2 rating. For the Veteran to get this rating, the VA will have to judge that if they did not get the aid at home from a medical professional, they would have been otherwise hospitalized for their disability.
If you qualify for Level R, you will not be paid any other VA disability compensation.
This level is given to Veterans who are homebound for the rest of their life. The VA can also give it to a Veteran if they have a disability rated 100% and another rated 60%. Both ratings have to be service-connected and affect different areas of the body.
For example, both ratings cannot be given for the foot alone. One would have to affect the foot, and the other would affect the arm.
As with the rest of the SMC besides Level K, this rating is given instead of the VA compensation. You will not receive any other compensation on top of this unless you also qualify for Level K.
The current compensation for Level S is a little less than $3,500 a month if the Veteran does not have any dependents. If they do, the rate will increase depending on the number of dependents.
As with the VA rating, your disability has to be service-connected to get an SMC.
To get an SMC, you will have to ensure that your injury is service-related. Going through proper documentation is the best way to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
If you have any records that show that you were diagnosed with a disability while in the military, use that to show why you qualify for SMC. Training, combat, or duty could have caused these injuries. Certain injuries are exceptions to this, though.
Another way to show you deserve SMC is by relating disabilities to anything that might have aggravated it. Even if your military service did not directly cause certain disabilities, your time in the military might have worsened them. This means that if you had a condition before you started the military, it would not qualify for any compensation. However, if it got worse because of your service, you can receive compensation for it.
VA ratings are supposed to help you get the compensation you deserve. However, even with a rating of 100%, sometimes that is not enough to cover all of your needs. If you feel you are not getting the compensation you deserve, you can appeal to the VA to get a higher rating.
At Berry Law, we can assist you in getting better compensation for your disability. The appeal process has been improved to have better review, quicker responses, and supplemental claims. Though the process can still be complicated, you can get a free case evaluation so we can help you along in the process.
It can be challenging to receive the compensation you deserve as a Veteran. Certain disabilities require more attention and assistance. Even if you get a 100% Va rating for your disabilities, you may find that it is not enough to cover all the expenses that you need to live. SMC allows you to receive extra help for your disabilities. With the SMC, you can get the additional money and assistance you need to live comfortably.
Make sure that you get the proper documentation so that you get the compensation you deserve. If you feel you should be getting more due to the severeness of your disability and time in the service, you can always appeal the VA decision.
For any more questions regarding Veteran compensation, make sure to visit our website.
2022 VA Special Monthly Compensation Rates | Veterans Affairs
38 CFR § 3.350 – Special monthly compensation ratings. | CFR | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.