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Veterans Law

2022 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Rates

Bradley Hennings

November 10, 2021

Updated: June 20, 2024

2022 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Rates

What Is Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awards special monthly compensation (SMC) to veterans with service-connected conditions so severe that they warrant a rating higher than 100 percent.  The idea is that certain disabilities or combinations of disabilities are more debilitating than accounted for by the regular rating schedule.

How to Qualify for VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

There are several ways to qualify for special monthly compensation.  The different types of SMC are split into levels:

  • Levels L through O list specific conditions and combinations of conditions that qualify a veteran to receive SMC.  Level L contains the least severe of these conditions and lower SMC rates, while Level O contains more severe conditions and higher SMC rates.
  • Level K provides SMC to veterans who experienced a loss or loss of use of an extremity or organ.  For example, the loss of a hand, the loss of use of a foot, or the loss of use of a creative organ would all qualify a veteran for SMC(k).
  • Level R provides compensation to veterans who need daily aid and attendance from another person.  It is divided into levels R-1 and R-2, with the latter requiring regular aid and attendance from a healthcare professional.
  • Level S provides compensation to veterans who are completely and permanently housebound, meaning they cannot leave their home or care facility and are expected remain this way for the rest of their life.
  • Level T provides compensation to veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and require regular aid and attendance.  SMC Levels R-2 and T provide the same amount of monthly compensation.

Importantly, most special monthly compensation rates are awarded in place of standard VA disability compensation rates, except for SMC(k).  VA offers SMC(k) in addition to standard disability pay.

VA Disability Ratings Over 100 Percent: Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

2022 Cost-of-Living Adjustment and VA Compensation

In October 2021, the Social Security Administration determined that the 2022 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is 5.9 percent.  This is the biggest increase since the 5.8 percent COLA adjustment in 2009.  Veterans who qualify for disability compensation will see the 5.9 percent increase reflected in their VA monthly payments starting December 31, 2021.

For reference, the figure below shows the changes in compensation rates over the years based on a single veteran with no dependents.

Combined VA Rating2022 VA Compensation Rates (5.9% increase)2021 VA Compensation Rates2020 VA Compensation Rates

VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Rates for 2022

Based on the COLA increase of 5.9 percent, veterans will see an increase in VA SMC rates come December 2021.  The 2021 SMC rates can be used as a baseline to calculate estimates for 2022 VA SMC rates.  Take the 2022 COLA of 5.9 percent, multiply it by the 2021 SMC compensation rate, and then add that number to the rate.  This adjusted figure is your 2022 VA monthly payment.

The table below shows the 2022 VA special monthly compensation (SMC) rates for a single veteran without any dependents:

SMC Level2022 Monthly Compensation Amount
L ½$4,360.47
M ½$4,890.07
N ½$5,511.35

*SMC(k) is added to a veteran’s standard disability pay.

It is also important to note that veterans may qualify for higher special monthly compensation rates if they have eligible dependents.  Eligible dependents include:

  • A spouse
  • Dependent parents
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children between the age of 18 and 23 who are in school
  • A child who was permanently disabled before the age of 18

Did VA Deny You Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

If you believe you are entitled to special monthly compensation but VA denied your claim, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help.  The experienced and knowledgeable veterans’ advocates at CCK have decades of demonstrated success in representing veterans before VA and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  Reach out to CCK today at 800-544-9144 for a complimentary consultation.

About the Author

Bio photo of Bradley Hennings

Bradley Hennings joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick as an attorney in January 2018 and currently serves as a Partner in the firm. His practice focuses on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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