Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a benefit established through statue that is paid in addition to the basic rates of compensation payable under the Schedule for Rating disabilities. SMC is paid to compensate veterans for service-connected disabilities that involve anatomical loss or loss of use, such as loss of use of a hand or a foot, or impairment of the senses, such as loss of vision or hearing. While the basic rates of compensation are predicated on the average reduction in earning capacity, special monthly compensation benefits are meant to provide additional compensation based on noneconomic factors such as personal inconvenience, social inadaptability, or the profound nature of the disability.
This blog is to discuss Special Monthly Compensation that is paid to a veteran to reimburse for expenses incurred due to the aid and attendance (A&A) that must be given to the veteran because of his service connected disability. A veteran who is in need of regular aid and attendance from another to perform the personal functions of daily living can receive increased compensation. The following factors are considered by the VA when determining whether a veteran qualifies for SMC based on A&A:
- Inability of claimant to dress or undress without assistance;
- Inability To keep ordinarily clean and presentable without assistance;
- Inability of claimant to fee himself or herself without assistance;
- Inability to attend to the wants of nature; and
- Incapacity that requires care or assistance on a regular basis to protect the claimant from the hazards or dangers of his/her surrounding environment.
Not all of the above disabling conditions must be present for a finding of a need for regular A&A and the requirements for SMC based on A&A do not require that the Veteran be rated as 100% disabled. If a recent VA examination shows that the disability is so severe as to demonstrate a need for regular A&A, the VA regional office has a duty to evaluate potential entitlement to A&A. This means that the claim does not have to explicitly raised for the VA to have a duty to evaluate entitlement to the benefit.
The aid and attendance can be provided by the spouse, family member, or neighbor of the veteran – it does not have to be provided by a professional or an outsider. Whether the veteran pays for regular assistance does not matter.
Our office is open for calls and online assistance and will continue to help our Veterans in any way possible. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama.