Special Monthly Compensation Rates
Below is the table with all the current Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) rates. These are the new rates that were updated on December 1, 2020. You don’t have to do anything to get the new rates. Your next check will already reflect them. SMC is only given for VA Disability. To figure out what category you qualify for, see our Special Monthly Compensation page.
How to Read the Special Monthly Compensation Rates Table
The Special Monthly Compensation rates table can be a bit complicated to read, so let’s cover some basics first. All the rates for SMC are given instead of the regular VA Disability compensation. So if you qualify for SMC N, then you would not receive your normal disability compensation but just receive the amount noted for SMC N below. However, SMC K is given in addition to all other compensation. It’s vital that you understand exactly how SMC works and what categories you qualify for before trying to figure out exactly how much you’ll receive for your conditions. To do this, carefully read our Special Monthly Compensation page.
Once you know which category(ies) you can get, then you’re ready to read the table.
The rates noted in the table are the amount that the VA pays every month. Like regular VA Disability Benefits, this money is not taxable.
Down the left side of the table, you’ll find that the number of legal dependents you have can increase your rate. These dependents can be a spouse, children, and parents. For these people to count, they must be dependent on your for their support. Just because you have a mother doesn’t mean she counts as a dependent.
There are two different divisions for dependent children: under 18, and 18-23. If your child is 18-23, they must be single and in school to qualify as a dependent. Many of the situations already have 1 child figured into the rate. If you have additional children, then you would add the additional amount in the additional children rows to your rate for each additional child. So if you have 3 children under the age of 18, then one is already counted, and you would then add the correct rate twice for the two additional children.
When choosing which situation is correct for you, you need to know that if a child is already figured in, the child used is under 18. If you only have 1 child, and they’re over 18 and qualified, then don’t choose the situation for you and 1 child, instead choose the one for just you, and then add the additional amount for a child over 18.
For example, Barney qualifies for SMC Category L and has two children that qualify, one under 18 and one over 18. Since one is under 18, he would choose the “You and 1 Child” situation for Category L ($4,032.46). He would then add the additional amount for a child over 18 ($281.57). His total SMC would be $4,314.03 ($4,032.46 + $281.57 = $4,314.03).
Another quick example, Bertha qualifies for SMC Category M and has 3 kids that qualify, all over 18. Since none are under 18, she would choose the rate for just herself ($4,320.76). She would then add 3 over 18 children ($281.57 x 3 = $844.71). Her final SMC rate would be $5,165.47 ($4,320.76 + $844.71 = $5,165.47).
When considering spouses, it is pretty straightforward unless you have a spouse who needs regular Aid and Attendance. This means that your spouse needs regular help with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, eating, etc. Your spouse only qualifies for this if they are not hospitalized or institutionalized, but does qualify if they receive any home-care, like a home nurse or family member.
The additional amount noted in the row for an Aid and Attendance Spouse is just added directly to whatever rate you qualify for. For example, Barbara qualifies for SMC Category L, and her husband qualifies for Aid and Attendance. She would then take the rate for her and her husband ($4,090.57) and add the amount for Aid and Attendance ($160.89). Her final SMC rate would be $4,251.46 ($4,090.57 + $160.89 = $4,251.46).
Special Monthly Compensation Rates Table
The amount for Category K is the same no matter how many dependents you have: $111.74.
All additional children under 18 receive $87.17 each.
All additional dependent children age 18-23 receive $281.57 each.
Aid and Attendance for a Spouse is $160.89.
Congress updates these rates every few years.
Special Monthly Compensation Rates 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 Special Monthly Compensation rates?
Current Special Monthly Compensation rates depend on the SMC category and the number of dependents the veteran has. All of the current Special Monthly Compensation rates can found in our Special Monthly Compensation Rates chart.
How are the Special Monthly Compensation 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.
Are Special Monthly Compensation Rates paid in addition to or instead of my regular VA Disability payments?
Most Special Monthly Compensation rates replace your regular monthly payments. If you qualify for SMC, then you will only receive the Special Monthly Compensation rates 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 Special Monthly Compensation rates. 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 my correct Special Monthly Compensation rates. What do I do?
If you are not receiving the correct Special Monthly Compensation rates, you can submit a new claim for an increased evaluation or an appeal if you have already applied while qualified. 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.