The ravages of war undeniably have serious lifetime effects on military service members. Many come home with serious medical conditions that cause permanent disability such as traumatic brain injury, musculoskeletal injuries, extensive hearing loss, PTSD, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the severity of these veterans’ conditions just isn’t captured by the VA’s disability rating criteria. What happens if a veteran’s disability is so unusually extreme or severe that no rating schedule considers all of the symptoms or residual effects? In these very unfortunate cases, veterans may be eligible for additional compensation benefits that take into account the severity of the disability, loss of functionality, and/or extra assistance that may be required.
Because standard disability compensation benefits may not be enough to fully compensate a veteran for the loss of use of a limb or limbs and for other severe disabilities, there is what is called special monthly compensation (SMC). And yes, this can be obtained even if the VA has already rated you as 100-percent disabled.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs considers you eligible for SMC for circumstances like:
- Loss of or the loss of the use of a hand or a foot
- Joint immobility or paralysis
- Loss of breast tissue
- Loss of a reproductive organ
- Blindness or deafness or inability to communicate through speech
Even higher rates are given to those with more extreme disabilities than listed, especially for those who were rendered completely blind or deaf; for veterans who have lost bladder and bowel control; and for those who are now suffering from paraplegia.
If you are completely bedridden due to health issues incurred in or caused by your military service, VA may also grant you a higher SMC. If you require assistance with daily functioning, you may also be granted extra compensation for aid and attendance.
So how do you get SMC? Applying for SMC is done through the same process as filing a claim. VA must consider whether you are eligible, be able to review medical records and opinions, and then make a decision as to whether you meet the criteria for the level of SMC you are seeking.
Do you think you qualify for SMC due to the severity of your service-connected disability? Contact the veterans lawyers at Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick for a free case evaluation. Our veterans disability lawyers have extensive experience assisting clients with the claims process for special monthly compensation.
Call for immediate help at 401-331-6300 or contact us online.