In most cases, the VA disability rating system determines the amount of monthly compensation that disabled Veterans receive. However, according to the VA, some disabilities are so severe that the normal ratings system does not really apply. Generally, SMC payments are in lieu of, and not a supplement to, other VA disability payments.
These benefits are available if the Veteran has certain disabilities, and this disability is service-related. Generally, that means the disability was caused or aggravated by military service. Exposure-related disabilities, mostly Agent Orange exposure, are also acceptable in some cases.
Technically, the VA must offer SMC benefits if they are available. Veterans need not ask for these benefits and go through the application and appeals process. If you think you are eligible for SMC and the VA has not reached out to you, a VA disability lawyer can speed up the process.
Category K (Special K or Even More Money)
This category is the only SMC category that provides supplemental benefits. Normally, these benefits are in addition to a Category L through O injury. The total amount of compensation cannot exceed Category O compensation. Examples of Special K eligibility include loss of use of a reproductive organ, loss of speech, or loss of buttocks use.
Category L through O
L is the lowest SMC category, and O is the highest one. For the most part, these ratings depend on the type of injury as opposed to the percent of loss of use. The primary injury categories are:
- Category L: Amputation or loss of use of both feet below the knee or both hands below the elbow, or a combination of conditions (e.g. one foot and one hand amputation), partial blindness, or bedridden to the extent that the Veteran needs A&A (Aid and Attendance).
- Category L1/2: Amputation or loss of use of the leg to the knee and/or the arm to the elbow, total blindness is one eye and near-total blindness in the other eye, or a combination of blindness and leg amputation.
- Category M: Amputation of a leg to the hip or an arm to the shoulder, if the Veteran cannot wear a prosthetic device, blindness in both eyes, deafness in both ears, or some combination of these disabilities.
- Category M1/2: This category is essentially the same as M, with the exception of an added A&A requirement.
Category N through O classifications normally require the physical loss of an eye or ear, as opposed to blindness or deafness, along with an inability to wear a prosthetic device.
Category R (Aid and Attendance)
Generally, Veterans are entitled to A&A benefits if they have a Category L through O disability which requires daily help in areas like dressing, cleaning, grooming, and frequent prosthetic adjustments. A&A benefits essentially help disabled Veterans afford in-home care.
Category S (Housebound Benefits)
These benefits are available if the Veteran is completely and permanently housebound and the Veteran has one disability rated at 100%, or the Veteran has a 100% disabling condition and a 60% disabling condition or group of conditions that together rate 60%. These two disabilities must affect different parts of the body.
Category T (Traumatic Brain Injury)
Veterans are eligible for Category T brain injury benefits if they would be institutionalized without A&A care and they are ineligible for Category R benefits.
Count on Experienced Attorneys
SMC benefits take up where standard disability benefits leave off. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.