Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

There are situations where 100% disability pay is not enough to provide a quality standard of living for disabled veterans. For those veterans, the VA offers an additional benefit called “special monthly compensation.”

What is Special Monthly Compensation?

Special monthly compensation (SMC) is a tax-free benefit offered that is over and above 100% disability. It is intended, primarily, to compensate disabled veterans for non-economic damages - disability issues that reduce their quality of life. Extra money can help by providing funds for things like a handicapped equipped van, an aide to help care for the individual, equipment to enhance communication, the means to travel away from the home and experience the world.

The VA is obligated to provide the maximum benefit to which the veteran is entitled. People who believe they are entitled to SMC can submit a claim.

What Disabilities May Qualify A Veteran for SMC? 

The single disabilities the VA can consider for SMC include:

  • Loss or the loss of use of a hand or a foot
  • Immobility of a joint or paralysis of one or more limbs
  • Loss of sight in one eye (having only light perception)
  • Loss of use of a creative organ
  • Complete loss or loss of use of both buttocks
  • Deafness in both ears (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 from radiation treatment

SMC may also be available for certain combinations of disabilities, including:

  • Loss or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands, and arms, based on the particular combination of disabilities.
  • Severe deafness combined with bilateral blindness.
  • Paraplegia with complete loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • A service-connected disability at the 100% rate that causes the veteran to be housebound, bedridden or in need of help for the normal activities of daily living, or in need of daily health care services.
  • Other service-connected disabilities combined with those listed above.

Are There Different Levels of SMC? 

There are a number of levels of SMC, ranging from L to T. Those various levels offer different payment amounts, depending on the veteran’s injury and their family circumstances. The monthly amount received will vary depending on whether the veteran is single or married, whether there are dependent children and how many dependent children are in the family. Those family issues coupled with the type and severity of injury determine the monthly payment allowed. For more information about the levels of SMC, Click Here.

After reviewing the levels of SMC that relate to specific disabilities and situations, you can determine the monthly payment for a level and family situation using the VA’s compensation tables.

Special Monthly Compensation for Family - Aid and Attendance Benefits 

Spouses and other qualified family members may be entitled to SMC if they have assumed the role of caregiver for the disabled veteran. The VA refers to this benefit as “Aid and Attendance.” The aid and attendance benefit may be available even to those veterans whose income is too large to entitle them to a VA disability pension. Veterans and surviving spouses are limited to one aid and attendance benefit at a time - for example, if a veteran is already receiving the housebound benefit, the family cannot also receive the aid and attendance benefit.

How Do I Make a Claim for SMC or for Aid and Attendance? 

First, you must meet the qualifications. The qualifications for SMC or for Aid and Attendance are:

  • The veteran must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
  • The veteran has been injured or became ill during military service or had an illness or injury before service that was significantly aggravated by service.
  • The veteran has a disability related to active-duty service.

You must gather all the evidence required to substantiate your claim. This may include medical records, x-ray studies, physician reports, lab and physical therapy reports. You may also need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate and the birth certificates for each of your children. You will need your DD 214.

The instructions for filling out your claim can be found Here.

You can make an appointment at your local VA office to get assistance with your application and with putting together the documentation for your claim. To find your local VA office, Click Here.


This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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