Service-connected disabilities and illnesses can prevent veterans from having a normal civilian life. They may experience having difficulty finding substantial employment, providing for their family’s needs, and getting medical treatment for their injuries and illnesses.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers several compensation programs for disabled veterans. Service members who suffered serious injuries or disabilities while on active military duty may qualify for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC).
In this article, we’ll be discussing the 2023 VA SMC rates, including the eligibility criteria for the different levels of SMC. Read the article below to learn more.
What Are SMC Rates?
VA Special Monthly Compensation Rates are the rates of supplemental compensation provided to veterans who have been rated as having a permanent and total disability or combination of disabilities by the VA. The VA SMC Rates are updated annually, based on economic trends such as inflation rates and increased living costs.
Overview Of VA Compensation
SMC is made available to veterans with severe, service-related injuries or disabilities that render them housebound or in constant need of aid and attendance. The VA recognizes that veterans who suffered debilitating injuries or combinations of disabilities do not receive adequate compensation under the VA Schedule For Rating Disabilities (VASRD).
However, unlike VA Unemployability, which compensates veterans for the negative impact of their service-connected disabilities on their earning potential, the SMC compensates veterans for the non-economic impacts, such as social inadaptability and personal inconvenience.
Types Of VA Compensation Based On SMC Rates
The VA SMC Rates are classified into three categories:
Special Monthly Compensation. This is a non-taxable additional benefit given to veterans with service-connected disabilities and their eligible dependents. This type of compensation has a higher rate compared to VA Disability Compensation due to the special circumstances that arise from specific disabilities, such as the loss of use of one leg or the loss of sight.
Special Monthly Pension. This is a need-based benefits program of the VA that provides pension and housebound benefits to veterans with non-service connected disabilities, but are considered totally and permanently disabled.
Special Monthly Allowance. Otherwise known as subsistence allowance, the SMA is provided to veterans who are unable to find and maintain substantial work due to their service-connected disabilities.
Basic Disability Compensation
The VA provides disability compensation to veterans for any injuries, diseases, or disabilities suffered or worsened during their active duty in the military. Monthly payments are also provided to eligible dependents, including spouses, children, and parents, as compensation for economic losses resulting from a veteran’s service-connected disability or death.
Eligibility Criteria For Basic Disability Compensation
To qualify for basic VA disability compensation, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have a physical or mental condition that was incurred or worsened during your military service
- You were in active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training when you suffered the disability or illness
- You were honorably discharged from duty
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Rates
Here is a chart showing the VA SMC rates for 2023, which include an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA):
Without Children, SMC-L through SMC-N
|Dependent Status||SMC-L||SMC-L ½||SMC-M||SMC-M ½||SMC-N|
|With 1 Spouse and 1 Parent||$4,870.85||$5,103.84||$5,337.77||$5,679.52||$6,022.03|
|With Spouse and 2 Parents||$5,032.92||$5,265.91||$5,499.84||$5,841.59||$6,184.10|
|With 1 Parent||$4,668.91||$4,901.90||$5,135.83||$5,477.58||$5,820.09|
|With 2 Parents||$4,830.98||$5,063.97||$5,297.90||$5,639.65||$5,982.16|
Without Children, SMC-N 1/2 through SMC-S
|Dependent Status||SMC-N ½||SMC-O/P||SMC-R.1||SMC-R.2/T||SMC-S|
|With 1 Spouse and 1 Parent||$6,354.85||$6,688.27||$9,400.90||$10,729.54||$4,418.13|
|With Spouse and 2 Parents||$6,516.92||$6,850.34||$9,562.97||$10,891.61||$4,580.20|
|With 1 Parent||$6,152.91||$6,486.33||$9,198.96||$10,527.60||$4,216.19|
|With 2 Parents||$6,314.98||$6,648.40||$9,361.03||$10,689.67||$4,378.26|
Note: Regardless of SMC levels, a spouse receiving aid and attendance is eligible for an additional amount of $185.21.
Levels Of SMC Benefits And Their Requirements
There are different levels of the SMC that may affect your monthly payment rate. First are the basic levels, designated as SMC levels (L) to (O/P). These levels cover certain disabilities and their contingent circumstances. SMC level (R), on the other hand, is awarded to veterans that require daily assistance from another individual for basic needs, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. SMC level (S) is given to veterans who are housebound due to their service-related disabilities.
SMC levels are designated based on varying combinations of disabilities and situations, which include the following:
- Amputated limbs or extremities
- The inability to use one or more limbs effectively
- The loss of one or both eyes
- The complete or partial loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Permanently bedridden
- Need for aid and attendance for simple tasks (eating, bathing, and dressing)
Veterans who have multiple impairments or special needs that contribute to a greater degree of overall disability may receive Special Monthly Compensation from VA. Determine your monthly benefit amount with the 2023 VA SMC Rates.
If you require further financial assistance for your service-connected disabilities, visit this article by Disability Help on SSDI and VA Disability in 2023.