Special Monthly Compensation Benefits
Service-connected injuries can significantly affect the rest of your life. However, the federal government has recognized that some injuries are so severe that you may need assistance with everyday tasks, or lifelong accommodations for your disability.
To help veterans who have suffered the loss of certain organs, body parts, or who are catastrophically disabled, the VA provides Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) benefits in addition to normal VA disability payments. This additional money is meant both to compensate the veteran for the disability, and to help the veteran afford the additional care necessary after a severe injury.
Who Is Eligible?
SMC benefits are available for veterans whose injuries fall into certain categories; usually, their injuries involve the loss of a limb, an organ, a sense (like deafness or blindness) or result in catastrophic injuries which require constant care and assistance.
A veteran’s SMC rating will be determined by the VA. Veterans who are eligible for SMC payments are broken down into 9 groups, and are assigned a letter from K through T denoting their group. The later in the alphabet your letter group is, the more severe your injuries are considered to be.
For example, people rated as SMC (k) may have lost the use of one hand. If you have lost the use of both hands, you would be rated as SMC (m). Veterans who are 100% disabled usually fall into SMC (s), and those veterans who need around-the-clock care from a hospital or nursing home will generally fall into SMC (t).
How Do I Calculate My SMC Benefits?
Veterans eligible for SMC will receive additional money depending on their rate of disability, their marital status, and the number of children they support. SMC benefits can be paid directly to the veteran, or can be issued to the veteran’s caretaker.
To view the amount of compensation you could receive each month, visit the VA’s compensation rate tables and view the tables for your SMC or disability rating. Remember that your payment rate will change if you are married or have children.
How Do I Apply?
Any veteran with a service-connected disability should automatically be considered by the VA for SMC benefits. If the veteran is eligible for SMC benefits, these benefits will be awarded in addition to veterans disability benefits. If the VA did not automatically consider you for SMC benefits or if your disability or circumstances now warrant an eligibility consideration, Vets National Advocates can help you contact your local VA regional office and begin the process.
If your request for SMC benefits are denied, or if you believe you are rated incorrectly, you may be able to appeal the VA’s decision.