Special Monthly Compensation

Special monthly compensation is given for severe cases and combinations of disabilities.

Topics:

Overview
Categories L through O
Housebound Benefits (Category S)
Even More Money (Category K)
Aid and Attendance (Category R)
Traumatic Brain Injury (Category T)
Rating the Appropriate Category (IMPORTANT!)
Special Monthly Compensation Pay Rates

Note: All Special Monthly Compensation applies ONLY TO VA Disability, not DoD.

The VA should automatically give you Special Monthly Compensation if you qualify for it. You do not have to apply. If, however, you feel that you qualify and you are not receiving, contact your local VA office.


Overview

Extra VA Disability (special monthly compensation) is given for especially serious disabilities or combination of disabilites. The basic idea is that the VA wants to give additional disability pay in cases where the disability is so severe that the regular ratings just don’t cut it. For example, the loss of one hand and a foot is more serious than just the lost of one hand.

Note: All Special Monthly Compensation Rates are given instead of the standard VA Disability Rates, except for Category K. Category K is given in addition to your standard disability pay. All Special Monthly Compensation is tax-free.

There are different categories that determine the type and amount of Special Monthly Compensation. Each one has different requirements for the kind of conditions that qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under that category.

VERY IMPORTANT! For a condition to qualify under any category, it must be determined by the VA to be service-connected.

Any VASRD rating requirements for each category noted below can only be fulfilled by a VA Disability Rating, not DoD. So, if the DoD rates a condition at 100%, but the VA only rates it at 60%, then 60% is the only rating that can be used to qualify for a category. The majority of categories do not have VASRD rating requirements.

If the VA did not give Special Monthly Compensation in a case that qualifies, the veteran can request for their case to be reviewed, and Special Monthly Compensation will then be given dating back to the original VA Rating Decision.

Once you know what category of Special Monthly Compensation you qualify for, you can find the exact monetary amount you’ll receive for that category on our Special Monthly Compensation Rates page.

Before we discuss the different categories and conditions that qualify for Special Monthly Compensation, here are a few important definitions:

  • Loss of use means that the body part cannot function any better than it would if it were amputated and a prosthetic device used. Basically, if the hand cannot grasp objects or if the foot cannot push off or balance, it would be considered loss of use. If a leg is shortened by 3 ½ inches or more, it is also considered to be loss of use of that foot.
  • Aid and attendance means that the condition is so severe that it requires regular (not necessarily constant) supervision by another person. This person could be a family member, home nurse, or nursing home facility. Hospitalization does NOT qualify as aid and attendance. If a condition qualifies for aid and attendance, it is not rated at all on the VASRD, but is rated entirely on the Aid and Attendance section below.
  • Permanently bedridden means that the condition is so severe that the individual cannot get out of bed. This does not include periods of bed rest prescribed by a physician since the individual could still actually get out of bed. If an individual is permanently bedridden, then they qualify for rating as Aid and Attendance, but unlike Aid and Attendance, the rating continues even if they are hospitalized.
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Categories L through O

A few guidelines before jumping into the categories:

1.) Only one Special Monthly Compensation rating can be given for Categories L through O. Category L is the lowest Special Monthly Compensation, and Category O is the highest. Pick the highest category that best fits the conditions. (Remember to check Category K, below, because even if your condition doesn’t qualify under Categories L through O, you might still qualify under K. Category K also gives ADDITIONAL money for conditions that qualify under L through O, so make sure to check it out.)

2.) Once the proper category is determined, if there are additional conditions rated by the VA that are not used to qualify for that category and they together equal a rating of 50% or more (again, not including the conditions used to qualify in the category), then the category is moved up to the next ½ category. For example, let’s say an individual has both feet amputated (100% rating), arthritis in the wrist (30%), and asthma (30%). The amputated feet qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under Category L. The arthritis and asthma do not qualify for Special Monthly Compensation, but since together they equal a 50% rating (see the VA Math section to make sure you are adding the ratings together correctly—a 30% rating and a 30% rating equal a 50% rating, not a 60%), the Category L for the feet is pushed up to a Category L ½ (an L ½ would move up to M, etc.). The highest category for this principle is Category O. Nothing can be pushed up higher than O, so if it already qualifies for a Category O, then it cannot be raised further.

3.) Instead of a 50% rating, if there is a single condition that is not used to qualify for SMC and it is rated 100% by itself (and not including unemployability), then the category is moved up an entire step instead of a ½ step. So, if an individual has both feet amputated (SMC-L) and ALS independently rated at 100%, the Category L would move up to a Category M (or L ½ to M ½, etc.). Again, the highest category for this principle is Category O.

4.) If the conditions that qualify for Special Monthly Compensation are caused by a disease, then that disease cannot count as the 50% or 100% rating to increase the Special Monthly Compensation category.

5.) If three extremities (two legs and one arm, or one leg and two arms) qualify for Special Monthly Compensation, then the category for only two extremities is raised to the next ½ category. So, if a veteran has both feet amputated (Category L) and one hand amputation, then it would be rated under Category L ½.

6.) If separate conditions qualify for ratings under two or more different categories between L and N ½, then only one Special Monthly Compensation is given under Category O. A single condition can only be used to qualify under ONE category. For example, let’s say that a veteran has both feet (below the knee) amputated, Category L, and both hands (below the elbow) amputated, Category M. There isn’t a category that lists amputation of all four extremities (if it did, it would have to be rated there instead of Category O), so since these conditions qualify under two different categories, one Special Monthly Compensation is given under Category O.

One last thing to know: If it says “amputation of the knee”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that knee itself has to be removed. Basically, the requirement is that the amputation is at such a place that the use of the knee is impossible. So, technically, the leg could be amputated below the knee, but as long as the knee cannot be used at all, it qualifies as “amputation of the knee.” This goes for any joint.

On to the categories.

Category L

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category L:

  • Amputation of both feet (below the knee)
  • Loss of use of both feet (below the knee)
  • Amputation of one foot (below the knee) and the loss of use of the other foot
  • Amputation of one hand (below the elbow) and one foot (below the knee)
  • Loss of use of one hand (below the elbow) and one foot (below the knee)
  • Amputation of one foot (below the knee) and the loss of use of one hand
  • Amputation of one hand (below the elbow) and the loss of use of one foot
  • Blindness in both eyes
  • Permanently bedridden
  • In regular need of another person to help dress, clean, feed themselves, and use the restroom (aid and attendance)

Category L ½

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category L ½:

  • 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 M

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category M:

  • Amputation of both hands (below the elbow)
  • Loss of use of both hands
  • Amputation of one hand (below the elbow) and the loss of use of one hand
  • Amputation of both knees
  • Loss of use of both knees
  • Amputation of one elbow and one knee
  • Loss of use of one elbow and one knee
  • Amputation of one foot and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one foot and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one foot and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one foot and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one foot and loss of use of one arm at the shoulder
  • Loss of use of one foot and loss of use of one arm at the shoulder
  • Amputation of one hand and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one hand and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with his basic needs (eating, using the restroom, dressing, etc.)
  • Blindness in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and total deafness in one ear
  • Blindness in both eyes and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Blindness in both eyes and amputation of one hand
  • Blindness in both eyes and loss of use of one hand
  • Blindness in both eyes and amputation of one foot
  • Blindness in both eyes and loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at 50% or more)
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at less than 50%)

Category M ½

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category M ½:

  • Amputation of one knee and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one knee and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one knee and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one knee and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one elbow and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one elbow and amputation of one leg so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one hand and amputation of one elbow
  • Amputation of one hand and loss of use of one elbow
  • Loss of use of one hand and amputation of one elbow
  • Loss of use of one hand and loss of use of one elbow
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye
  • Blindness in both eyes and total deafness in one ear
  • Blindness in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and total deafness in one ear
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and total deafness in one ear
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD less than 50%)
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with their Basic Needs and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD less than 50%)
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and the amputation of one foot
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at 50% or more)
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light and the amputation of one hand
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with the only ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one hand

Category N

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category N:

  • Amputation of both elbows
  • Loss of use of both elbows
  • Amputation of both legs so close to the hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Amputation of one arm and one leg so close to the shoulder or hip that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis on either
  • Amputation of one hand and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one hand and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Physical loss of both eyes
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated at 10 or 20% by the VASRD)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated at 10 or 20% by the VASRD)
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Blindness in both eyes to such a degree that the veteran has to have someone help with their Basic Needs and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Blindness in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Blindness in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and the amputation of one hand
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one hand
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with their Basic Needs and the amputation of one hand
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with their basic needs and the loss of use of one hand
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and the amputation of one foot
  • Total blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD 50% or more)
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with their basic needs and the amputation of one foot
  • Blindness in both eyes that requires the veteran to have someone help with their basic needs and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD 50% or more)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at less than 50%)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at less than 50%)

Category N ½

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category N ½:

  • Amputation of one elbow and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Loss of use of one elbow and amputation of one arm so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Physical loss of both eyes and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD less than 50%)
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD less than 50%)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and the amputation of one foot
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at 50% or more)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and the amputation of one foot
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD at 50% or more)
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and the amputation of one hand
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and the physical loss of the other eye and the loss of use of one hand
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and the amputation of one hand
  • Total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye and the loss of use of one hand

Category O

The following conditions qualify for a rating under Category O:

  • Amputation of both arms so close to the shoulder that it is impossible to wear a prosthesis
  • Hearing loss in both ears (only one ear has to be caused by military service) that is rated 60% or more by the VASRD, and Blindness in both eyes
  • Hearing loss in both ears (only one ear has to be caused by military service) that is rated 40% or more, and blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light
  • Total deafness in one ear, and blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light
  • Total paralysis of both legs with the inability to control urination and defecation
  • Physical loss of both eyes and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and deafness in both ears (rated by the VASRD 30% or more)
  • Physical loss of both eyes and the amputation of one foot
  • Physical loss of both eyes and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD 50% or more)
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and the amputation of one foot
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and the loss of use of one foot (rated by the VASRD 50% or more)
  • Physical loss of both eyes and the amputation of one hand
  • Physical loss of both eyes and the loss of use of one hand
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and the amputation of one hand
  • Total blindness without the ability to see light and the loss of use of one hand
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Housebound Benefits (Category S)

Special Monthly Compensation under Category S is given if the veteran has at least one condition rated 100% and one or both of the following:

  • The veteran is completely and permanently housebound because of their service-connected conditions, meaning that the veteran cannot leave their area of abode (this can include their own home, a hospital ward, or a care facility) at all, and this is expected to be the case for the rest of their life.

-OR-

  • The veteran has another condition rated 60% or group of conditions together rated 60% that are unrelated to the 100% condition (They affect different body system, or are a different type of disability, etc. For example, they can’t both affect the arm.)

This Special Monthly Compensation is given INSTEAD of Special Monthly Compensation under Categories L through O.

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Even More Money (Category K)

Category K gives extra Special Monthly Compensation based solely on the loss of (amputation or removal) or loss of use of a body part or function. This is in addition to:

  • Regular VA Disability compensation, even if you do not qualify for any other type of Special Monthly Compensation. The total amount of compensation received, however, cannot be more than the amount of compensation given for Category L.
  • Special Monthly Compensation under Categories L through N 1/2, as long as it doesn’t add up to be more than the amount given under Category O. Category O is the top limit for these categories.
  • Category S
  • Category R, but only if the condition that qualifies for Category K is not the same condition that qualifies for Category R. If Category K is added to Category R, the total Special Monthly Compensation cannot be more than the highest amount given for Category R1.

Category K can be given even if the condition does not qualify for any other Special Monthly Compensation. A single amount is given for EACH body part that is lost or cannot function, so in theory, you could add up as many Category K amounts as you have qualifying conditions as long as the total Special Monthly Compensation does not exceed the limits noted above.

The following body parts can be rated under this category:

  • Amputation of a hand
  • Amputation of a foot
  • Loss of use of a hand
  • Loss of use of a foot
  • Physical loss of one eye
  • Total blindness in one eye to such a degree that the individual only has the ability to perceive light or less
  • Physical loss of a creative organ, including ovaries, uterus, testicles, etc. If the loss of the creative organ was caused by an operation that was not performed by the DoD or VA or a referred physician, it does not qualify for rating unless the surgery was performed to correct a service-connected condition. For one testicle to qualify it must be one of the following: 1.) 1/3 the size of the other testicle, 2.) ½ or less the size of the other testicle and significantly harder or softer than the other, or 3.) tests prove that it is no longer producing sperm.
  • Loss of use of a creative organ
  • Inability to speak without the help of a prosthesis because of damage to the muscles or nerves that control the voice
  • Complete deafness in both ears (must be both in this case, not just one). The VA rating for this condition must be 100% to qualify.
  • Loss of use of BOTH buttocks (For “loss of use” in this case, the veteran must be unable to rise to their feet and remained balanced without using their arms or assistance, and the condition is rated at least 50% under VASRD code 5317.)
  • Loss of 25% or more of breast tissue in one or both breasts combined, or after radiation treatment to the breast tissues
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Aid and Attendance (Category R)

A veteran qualifies for Aid and Attendance if they require the help of another person every day to perform the following tasks:

  • Dressing and undressing
  • Cleaning and grooming
  • Feeding
  • Using the restroom
  • Adjusting prosthetic or orthopedic appliances frequently. A veteran only qualifies for this if they are unable to adjust an appliance that most people could adjust on their own. 

Another person does not need to be with the veteran at all times for them to qualify. They just have to be unable to perform the majority of the above activities without help every day.

A veteran can also qualify if:

  • Their disability, physical or mental, requires that another person regularly care for them to keep them from harming themselves or others, intentionally or accidentally.
  • They are bedridden. This means that their condition is severe enough that it requires them to always be in bed. They do not qualify if they choose to remain in bed or if a physician prescribes a period of bed rest. It is also not enough for the veteran to just have to be in bed. To qualify for this special monthly compensation, they must also need the regular aid and attendance of another person.

There are two different categories that take into consideration Aid and Attendance: Category L and Category R (this category). Category R requires a number of additional circumstances in order for the veteran to qualify. If the veteran meets the requirements discussed above but does not meet the ones discussed below, then they only qualify for Category L.

Category R is given to veterans who qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under Category O, or under Categories N ½ and K together, and who requires the help of another person (aid and attendance) every day. If the veteran’s condition does not qualify under these categories, even if aid and attendance is required, they do not qualify for Category R.

In order to receive any type of Aid and Attendance, a veteran must submit VA Form 21-2680 that has been completed by their physician.

Category R compensation is NOT given if the individual is hospitalized or in a care institution, only if they are being cared for at home. This is becuase the VA will already be covering the costs of hospitalization if a veteran is hospitalized for a service-connected condition. When the veteran is not hospitalized, however, this extra compensation helps support their need for daily care. In order to apply for care at a care facility, the veteran must submit VA Form 21-0779 that has been completed by the care facility.

There are two different levels under Category R: Category R1 and Category R2.

Category R1: For this category, the veteran must have to have someone helping them every day to perform the above tasks, but that person does not have to be a professional. They can be a family member, friend, etc.

Category R2: For this category, the person helping the veteran must be a licensed medical professional or someone working on behalf of a licensed medical professional. In addition, the VA must judge that the veteran would have to be hospitalized, put in a nursing home, or otherwise institutionalized if they did not have this professional-level care at home.

Note: The amounts shown in the Special Monthly Compensation Rates table for Categories R1 and R2 are the total amount the veteran receives each month if they qualify for Category R. They do not also receive standard disability compensation or compensation for other categories (except Category K).

Additional Category K Special Monthly Compensation can be given, but ONLY if it is based on a different condition than the one that qualifies them for Category R. For example, if the veteran has extremely severe dementia that qualifies them for aid and attendance under Category R, and they had one leg amputated, then the amputated leg does qualify for additional Special Monthly Compensation under Category K since it was not needed to qualify them for Category R.

Note: There are two different things that the VA refers to as “Aid and Attendance.” Please note that the Aid and Attendance discussed here is only for veterans with service-connected disabilities. The VA also gives Aid and Attendance to veterans who receive pensions. That Aid and Attendance is similar, but does have significant differences than the one described here.

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Traumatic Brain Injury (Category T)

Veterans with chronic symptoms caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI) may qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under Category T if they meet all of the following:

  • they require Aid and Attendance as described in Category R
  • they are not eligible for Category R(2)
  • they would need constant institutional care without in-home Aid and Attendance

Note: The amount shown in the Special Monthly Compensation Rates table for Category T is the total amount veterans receive each month if they qualify for Category T. They do not also receive standard disability compensation or compensation for other categories.

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Rating the Appropriate Category

It is important to understand how all these categories work together.

A condition can only be categorized under ONE of the categories between L and O.

If a condition qualifies under Category S, then it is categorized just under S, and not under Categories L through O.

Category K can be given in addition to any category except Category R unless the condition that qualifies for Category K is not used to qualify for Category R. You can’t use the same condition to qualify for both Category K and Category R.

Category R is unique. It completely replaces any other rating for any condition. If you qualify for Category R, then you will only receive compensation for that category, and won’t receive any other disability pay from the VA, including the normal VASRD disability rating pay. The only thing you can receive in addition to Category R is Category K for entirely separate conditions.

That’s the entire Special Monthly Compensation system. Again, once you know what category you fall under, you can find the exact amount you should be receiving on our Special Monthly Compensation Rates page.

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Special Monthly Compensation Pay Rates

To find the current pay rates, check out the table on our Special Monthly Compensation Rates page.

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FAQs

What is Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

SMC is additional monthly compensation given to veterans with combinations of disabilities or special needs that result in a higher level of overall disability. There are various SMC categories that cover multiple circumstances from the need for regular assistance (Aid and Attendance) to the loss of both legs, etc.

What are the current SMC rates?

Current SMC rates depend on the SMC category and the number of dependents the veteran has. All of the current rates can found in our Special Monthly Compensation Rates page.

How are the SMC rates determined?

Congress decides the exact rates of all VA Disability compensation, including SMC. Every few years or so, Congress will increase the rates to reflect inflation and the cost of living.

Do my conditions qualify for SMC?

No short answer for this, but you can find out today by comparing your conditions and circumstances to the requirements for each level of SMC on our Special Monthly Compensation page.

Is SMC in addition to or instead of my regular VA Disability payments?

Most SMC categories replace your regular monthly payments. If you qualify for SMC, then you will only receive the SMC rate each month. The exception to this is SMC-K. The amount for K is added to your regular VA disability, if you qualify.

What if I qualify for multiple SMC categories?

If you qualify for multiple categories, then the VA will pay you at the category with the highest rate. You cannot receive multiple categories. The exception to this is SMC-K, which can be given in addition to other categories. The amount for SMC-K is added to the monthly amount for the other category.

Can the VA take away my SMC?

It is extremely rare for the VA to award SMC and later take it away, however, it can happen. If your conditions improve to the point that you no longer qualify for SMC, then the VA will only compensate you at the level for which you qualify.

I qualify, but am not receiving SMC. What do I do?

If your conditions have worsened and you now qualify for SMC, you can submit a claim for an increased evaluation (check the box). Make sure to submit medical records and other evidence that proves that you qualify for SMC. If you already submitted a claim, but it was denied, you can submit an appeal.

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