Special Monthly Compensation Series: SMC(s)
Special Monthly Compensation can be a tricky VA benefit to decode. In our SMC series, we will break down each level of Special Monthly Compensation, the amount of compensation awarded for each, and the criteria one must meet to qualify. Click here to read our last blog covering SMC(k).
Today’s Special Monthly Compensation series will focus on SMC(s). The amount of compensation for a single veteran without dependents at the SMC(s) level is $3,521.85 per month as of December 2020. This compensation can be provided in addition to SMC(k) as long as the service-connected disabilities are not the same in both claims.
There are two different paths that can make a veteran eligible to receive SMC(s) benefits:
- You are entitled to receive SMC(s) if you have at least two service-connected disabilities with the first rated totally disabling (100%) and the second rated at least 60%. If you are receiving TDIU for one disability, this may meet the criteria of having one service-connected disability rated totally disabling. The important thing to keep in mind here is that the disability for which you are receiving TDIU must be entirely separate from the second service-connected disability (or disabilities) rated at 60% or more. In other words, you must have at least two completely separate, yet both very severe, disabilities in order to be eligible for this benefit.
- The second qualifying factor for SMC(s) is if the veteran is rendered housebound due to a service-connected disability. If a veteran is unable to leave his or her house, hospital ward, care facility, etc. and the medical condition is not expected to improve, the veteran may qualify for SMC(s).
Since qualification for the second (2) type of SMC(s) is fairly clear regarding being housebound, we will provide some examples of the first (1) qualifier:
- If the veteran receives 100% for Ischemic heart disease and 60% for intervertebral disc syndrome (back condition), he/she would be eligible for SMC(s)
- If a veteran has a 70% schedular rating for PTSD, and is receiving TDIU based solely on the PTSD, and also has a 60% rating for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), he/she will qualify to receive SMC(s).
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