VA Special Monthly Compensation

VA special monthly compensation is financial assistance that is paid to eligible veterans who are living with disabilities attributed to their time in service.

This type of tax-free aid is available in addition to disability compensation for veterans who are living with debilitating disabilities that have changed their lifestyles. To receive special monthly compensation, a veteran must apply for disability compensation and meet additional eligibility requirements. If a veteran applies for this aid and meets these requirements, he or she will receive additional payments along with disability compensation.

Veterans may qualify for special monthly compensation for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) if they can provide evidence that they suffer from this disease and that it severely affects their daily lives. There are additional diseases, injuries or conditions that can qualify veterans to receive this additional compensation. To find out more about the VA special monthly compensation categories, who is eligible to receive this compensation and how to apply for this additional financial assistance, review the following information.

What is VA special monthly compensation?

VA special monthly compensation is not provided in lieu of disability compensation but in addition to this financial assistance. Veterans must first qualify for benefits through the VA disability program before they can attempt to receive this special type of compensation. These benefits are issued in addition to the disability compensation that a veteran already receives.

The special compensation VA program was designed to ensure that veterans dealing with severe disabilities and debilitating conditions are adequately compensated. Veterans who apply for benefits through this program are required to prove they need these additional special benefits. This additional financial assistance can be used to pay a home caretaker or to compensate a family member who assists the veteran in completing basic daily activities.

Additionally, VA special monthly compensation categories may also include veterans’ spouses and surviving spouses. Veterans’ parents may also apply for special compensation benefits if they qualify to receive these funds. When family members apply for special compensation, these benefits are often referred to as “aid and attendance” benefits. The amount of monthly benefits paid through the program are usually enough to cover the necessary aid and attendance provided by another person for the family.

Who can receive special monthly compensation?

When a veteran applies to receive special monthly compensation for PTSD or another condition, his or her application and documentation is reviewed by a VA representative on a case-by-case basis. Any circumstances that require a veteran to seek the aid of another person on a daily basis due to a disability directly related to his or her service should qualify him or her for increased disability compensation.

Related Link: Eligibility for VA Health Care Benefits

Veterans who feel they may qualify for VA special monthly compensation should apply for disability compensation and provide additional documentation that details their disabilities, conditions, injuries or diseases incurred through service. More specifically, some of the most common conditions that generally make a veteran eligible for this added compensation include:

  • The loss of a hand, arm or foot during service.
  • Paralysis.
  • Blindness.
  • PTSD that prevents or restricts employment.

To claim special VA compensation, a veteran must prove that he or she is either bedridden due to a condition or disability directly related to military service or needs the aid of another person to perform basic daily tasks. These daily tasks may include:

  • Relieving him or herself.
  • Protecting him or herself from daily hazards.
  • Utilizing prosthetic devices.
  • Eating.
  • Breathing.
  • Getting dressed.

A veteran may also prove eligibility for special compensation monthly payments by showing evidence that he or she is 100 percent disabled due to a service-related incident and an additional 60 percent disability related to service. Additionally, a veteran may become eligible for this additional compensation if he or she has a 100 percent service-related disability that confines him or her to the immediate premises permanently.

Applying for VA Special Monthly Compensation

A veteran who wishes to apply for VA special monthly compensation must first follow the steps to apply for disability compensation. To qualify for additional benefits, an applicant must ensure he or she qualifies to receive disability compensation. By describing his or her severe disability or other special circumstance throughout the application process, the veteran can plead his or her case for receiving special compensation benefits.

To see if a veteran falls into one of the VA special monthly compensation categories, he or she must fill out the disability compensation application, attach evidence of service history and medical records and also attach additional documentation. The additional evidential documentation that the VA needs to analyze special compensation eligibility may vary, depending on the condition of the veteran. However, a veteran attempting to obtain additional compensation through disability benefits should generally submit the following with his or her application:

  • Additional medical records showing a debilitating disability
  • Medical opinions of personal doctors or treatment centers
  • Evidence of being bedridden or needing aid and attendance for daily tasks, if applicable
  • Proof of the correlation to this condition and time in service

To qualify for increased special monthly compensation for PTSD, a veteran must provide records from a treatment center or therapist that proves his or her daily life is affected by the disease. Veterans who are housebound must provide additional medical proof of their disability percentages to meet eligibility criteria for additional benefits. If a veteran is unable to provide this documentation with his or her application, information on the treatment centers, hospitals or medical centers that he or she utilizes should be included with the application.

Special Monthly Compensation Rates

VA special monthly compensation benefits are paid in addition to disability benefits. Therefore, qualifying veterans can review the VA rating chart to learn how much monthly disability compensation they will receive from the program once approved. This monthly figure is based on a veteran’s disability rating and the number of dependents or children in the household. Veterans who are eligible for special compensation monthly and who have been approved by the program will receive additional financial assistance each month.

The amount of special monthly compensation provided in addition to disability benefits depends on the severity of the veteran’s condition and his or her needs. The VA representative considers the assistance and aid a veteran requires in his or her daily life when calculating the amount of additional benefits issued monthly.

Eligible veterans are rated into VA special monthly compensation categories when determining additional benefits. These categories are ranked from a simple debilitating disability, such as the loss of a foot or hand, to a severe disability, such as being bedridden, and are listed as follows:

  • SMC (K)
  • SMC (Q)
  • SMC (L) through SMC (N)
  • SMC (N1/2) through SMC (S)

For the least severe special compensation category, SMC (K), the additional special compensation rate is $105.61. If a veteran qualifies for this additional compensation, he or she will at least receive this monthly amount in addition to his or her disability compensation. Veterans who seem to require additional care but still fall into the SMC (K) category may receive two or three times this additional amount each month. Therefore, currently, the most additional compensation a veteran in the SMC (K) category can be awarded through this additional compensation is $316.83.

Related Link: Aid and Attendance and Housebound 

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