VA Disability Ratings Over 100 Percent: Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
Emma Peterson: Welcome to CCK Live under 5:00. I’m Emma Peterson, and today we’re reviewing VA ratings higher than 100 percent: Special Monthly Compensation.
So, Special Monthly Compensation, or SMC, is paid to qualifying veterans with especially serious disabilities. The idea is that certain disabilities and combinations of disabilities are more debilitating than accounted for by the regular disability compensation rates.
There are many different levels of SMC, of special monthly compensation. They’re usually referred to casually by letters that associate with where they fall in the statute for special monthly compensation.
So, levels L through O refer to conditions that get increasingly more severe. So, Level L refers to the least severe conditions and has a lower special monthly compensation rate, whereas O is one of the most severe levels and has a higher rate. These rates can range from about $3,900 a month to $5,000 a month for veterans with no dependents. Someone with an O would have maybe loss of use of the lower extremities and the hands, perhaps vision or extreme hearing impairment.
Additionally, there’s a level of SMC-K, that’s provided for veterans who experienced loss or loss of use of body parts or functions. For example, if you have a singular loss of use of one hand, one foot, or creative organ, you qualify for K. This is the only level of SMC that’s paid in addition to your disability compensation. It’s about a $117 a month kicker, but you get extra on top of whatever your combined rating is.
The other levels of SMC that we were just talking about L to O are paid on their own, they’re not paid in addition to your disability compensation. So, for example, if you’re getting TDIU a little over $3,000 a month and you also qualify for SMC-L, you’re not going to get $3,000 plus $3,900, you’re just going to get the $3,900 each month.
Finally, we also have probably the most severe level, which is Level R, which provides compensation for veterans who mean daily aid and attendance from another person in addition to some other serious impairment. It’s divided into Level R1 and Level R2. And R2 applies to veterans who require regular aid and attendance from a healthcare professional. These rates can range from $7,800 up to the max, about $9,000 a month.
Included in there, and kind of piggybacking off of R is SMC-T, Level T. That’s similar to the R rate, but for veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injuries and require regular aid and attendance. And they provide the same amount of monthly compensation as the R2 level.
We also have a level called SMC-S, which is provided in two ways. One, it’s provided for veterans who are housebound, they can’t leave the house due to their service-connected disabilities. Or if you have a single disability that a 100 percent, and that could be TDIU. You could have TDIU due to one disability. The remainder of your disabilities combined to 60 percent, you’re going to get that extra kicker, and that brings you up to around $3,500 a month.
To be eligible for SMC, you need to be service-connected for the disabilities that are causing that level of impairment. Just remember that you’re going to receive an SMC instead of your disability rate, not together. We have lots more information about SMC. It gets quite complicated in terms of adding up the different levels of impairments.
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