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Glossary

Special Monthly Compensation Definition

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a tax-free benefit that can be paid to veterans with especially serious conditions or combinations of conditions.  The idea is that certain conditions and combinations of conditions are more debilitating than regular disability compensation rates account for, so VA pays a higher rate of compensation if you have them.  In other words, SMC 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.

There are several ways to qualify for SMC and the different types of compensation are split into levels based on severity.  For example, Level K provides SMC for veterans who have experienced the loss (amputation) or loss of use of a creative organ; this level of SMC is paid in addition to your monthly disability compensation per your combined rating.   Level R provides SMC for veterans who need daily aid and attendance from another person.  All SMC rates are given instead of the standard VA disability compensation rates, except for Level K, which is given in addition to the standard monthly compensation rate.