VA Special Monthly Compensation

Posted: May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
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It is possible to be compensated at a level above 100 percent for service-connected disabilities through VA’s special monthly compensation (SMC) program. Conditions that rate SMC are identified by letters ranging from (k) to (s). Refer to rate tables at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp02.htm. For example, a SMC(k) rating provides an additional $99 per month above whatever your disability payment is already. Some SMC ratings provide $8,000+ support beyond the amount awarded for a 100 percent disability rating. Medical conditions for which SMC applies include the specific loss or loss of use of organs or extremities — either an amputation or having no effective remaining function in an extremity or organ. VA lists these disabilities as eligible for SMC:
 Loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot.
 Immobility of a joint or paralysis.
 Loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception).
 Loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ.
 Complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks.
 Deafness of both ears (having absence of air and bone conduction).
 Inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia).
 Loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment.
VA will pay more for combinations of these disabilities such as loss or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands and arms. The distinction between “loss of a limb” and “loss of use of a limb” is important — you don’t have to undergo an amputation to qualify for SMC. For example, if a veteran cannot balance or push off his foot, he may be considered to have lost the use of that foot, and so would qualify for SMC. Similarly, if a veteran cannot pick up objects with his hand, he may qualify for SMC for loss of use of that hand. In addition, veterans rated 100 percent disabled by VA who are housebound, bedridden or need the aid and attendance of another person also may be eligible for SMC. The amount of payment in these instances varies depending on the level of aid required. SMC payments aren’t meant to compensate for potential loss of earnings from a disability but rather for noneconomic factors such as personal inconvenience, social inadaptability or the profound nature of a disability. In determining qualifications for SMC, the VA must review the medical evidence regarding the loss or loss of use and then make a decision regarding the level of SMC to be paid. Contact your nearest VA regional office for more details on SMC or you can call VA’s main benefits information hotline toll free at 800-827-1000. VA also has a SMC fact sheet listed at http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/benefits/factsheets/. [Source: Command Master Chief Alex Keenan, USCG (Ret) article 23 Apr 2012 ++]

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