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Special Monthly Compensation Series: SMC(l & l1/2)

Special Monthly Compensation Series: SMC(l & l1/2)

In this series of blogs detailing Special Monthly Compensation from the VA, we have covered SMC(k) and SMC(s). Included in this blog series we will outline each type of SMC, the compensation awarded for each, and the criteria required to qualify for each level.

A&A

In order to fully understand these levels of SMC (i.e. level L+), we must first cover the concept of aid and attendance (A&A). If a veteran requires A&A, it means that he or she requires regular assistance from another person; this person does not have to be a medical professional, and the aid they provide does not have to constant, just regular.

Some factors that would play a part in a veteran requiring regular A&A are:

  • The inability to dress oneself
  • The inability to keep oneself clean and presentable
  • Frequent need to adjust a prosthetic device(s), which cannot be done without aid
  • The inability to feed oneself
  • The inability to go to the bathroom alone
  • Requiring care and assistance to protect the veteran from dangers in their daily environment.

There is no requirement that all of these factors be met in order for a veteran to require A&A.

SMC(l)

SMC(l) encompasses a specific group of service-connected conditions that would qualify a veteran for SMC. Each letter and a “½” increase represents an increased severity of the service-connected condition(s) and symptoms. The rate of compensation for a single veteran without dependents at the SMC(l) level is $3,700.43 per month.

The following conditions will qualify a veteran to receive SMC(l) benefits:

  • Amputation of both feet (below the knee)
  • Loss of use of both feet (below the knee)
  • Amputation of one foot (below the knee) and loss of use of the other foot
  • Amputation of one hand (below the elbow) and one foot (below the knee)
  • Amputation of one foot (below the knee) and loss of use of one hand
  • Amputation of one hand (below the elbow) and loss of use of one foot
  • Blindness in both eyes with a 5/200 visual acuity or less
  • Permanently bedridden
  • In regular need of another person to help dress, clean, feed, and use the restroom by themselves.

 

SMC(l ½)

The level of SMC(l ½) represents an increase in severity of the amputation and/or loss of use (e.g. above vs. below the knee amputation). As you saw in SMC(l), the loss or loss of use of a limb is listed as below the knee; this means that the functionality of the knee or elbow remains. The conditions regarding loss or loss of use of limbs in the SMC(l ½) category cause loss of the limb/functionality above the knee or elbow. The rate of compensation for a single veteran without dependents SMC(l ½) is $3,891.72 per month.

The following conditions will qualify a veteran to receive SMC(l ½) benefits:

  • Amputation of one foot and amputation of the other knee
  • Loss of use of one foot and amputation of the other knee
  • Amputation of one foot and loss of use of the other knee
  • Loss of use of one foot and loss of use of the other knee
  • Amputation of one foot and amputation of one elbow
  • Amputation of one foot and loss of use of one elbow
  • Loss of use of one foot and amputation of one elbow
  • Loss of use of one foot and loss of use of one elbow
  • Amputation of one knee and amputation of one hand
  • Amputation of one knee and loss of use of one hand
  • Loss of use of one knee and amputation of one hand
  • Loss of use of one knee and loss of use of one hand
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light
  • Blindness in both eyes and loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD less than 50%)

Category: Veterans Law

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