VA Housebound Benefits: Special Monthly Compensation
Kayla D’Onofrio: Welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00. I’m Kayla D’Onofrio and in this video, I’ll be explaining VA Housebound Benefits.
VA offers benefits for housebound veterans as part of special monthly compensation, or SMC, specifically at the level designated under the statute 38 USC § 1114(s) or more simply SMC(s).
Importantly, most special monthly compensation rates are awarded in place of standard VA disability compensation rates, except for SMC(k) which is based on the loss of use of a creative organ, one hand or one foot or both buttocks, blindness in one eye, deafness in both ears, inability to communicate by speech, or loss of breast tissue. And that would be paid to you in addition to your regular 0 to 100% rating.
But otherwise, special monthly compensation is a higher rate than just your normal 0 to 100% and it would be paid in place of your normal disability combined rating.
Unlike the disability rating schedule, SMC is not meant to compensate a veteran for the effects that their disability has on earning potential, but rather for the non-economic factors such as personal inconvenience, social inadaptability, or the profound nature of a disability. Meaning things like you need aid and attendance or you have a loss of use of your feet or your legs and you are wheelchair-bound. So, depending on the severity of those situations, you may be entitled to higher levels of special monthly compensation.
For SMC(s) specifically, there are two different ways that you may be able to qualify for this benefit. The first is based on housebound status and the other is based on qualifying ratings. And I’ll go over both of those different things in just a second. But first, as of 2022, the SMC(s) monthly compensation rate is $3,729.64 per month for a single veteran with no dependents.
Now getting into the different ways to qualify, like I said, the first is by being housebound. If a veteran is considered permanently housebound, it means that they’re unable to leave their home, hospital board, or a care facility due to their service-connected disability or combination of their service-connected disabilities.
Housebound veterans are expected to remain this way for the rest of their lives. So that is something that VA is going to take into consideration when granting this benefit. The other way is like I said to have qualifying ratings. So what that means is that you would have to have one disability that’s rated independently at 100% or you have TDIU based on just one single disability.
And then you have additional service-connected disabilities that would combine to 60% or more. So, for example, if you have PTSD that independently is rated at 100%, and then you’re also separately service-connected for, let’s say, sleep apnea, a back condition, and bilateral hearing loss, and those three conditions separately combined to 60%. This is a benefit that you would be entitled to.
When granting this benefit, VA should automatically be granted if it is something that you qualify for, especially if it’s being granted based on those qualifying ratings, so you shouldn’t have to apply for it. But letting VA know that you’re interested in it is always a good idea just to make sure that they’re it’s on their radar and it is something that they’re going to address when the time comes for them to do so.
If, however, you believe you might qualify for it, but you’re not receiving it, you can contact your local VA Regional Office. It may be something that they’re just able to change quickly. Or you can contact the VSO or an attorney if it’s not something you’re comfortable doing on your own.
For more information about other levels of SMC and how to qualify, you can check out our website. We have a lot of different content that’s dedicated specifically to SMC and the different levels.
But thank you so much for joining us today and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more veterans-related news and videos.
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