Special Monthly Compensation
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) program may provide you with benefits in addition to, or instead of, your disability compensation if you have loss (or loss of use of ) a limb, sight, speech, hearing, mobility, sexual organ or functioning, or if you have certain other disabilities?  You may also be eligible for SMC if you are unable to leave your house or bed without help, or in need of regular help from another person in your daily activities.

Somewhat different from the VA’s disability compensation program, which compensates you for lost wages, SMC compensates you for non-economic losses, such as your personal inconvenience and loss of use of a body part, or body system. Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is one of the most complex VA programs currently in existence. Let’s take a brief look at the program. 


There are approximately 60 levels of SMC divided into 9 letter categories which consist of: “K,” “L,” “M,” “N,” “O,” “P,” “R,” “S,” and “T.”  If you are awarded SMC, the VA will inform you which of these categories of SMC you qualify for. Some of the letter categories also have “half” levels, which are displayed as “½” symbol after the letter.

Eligibility for Specific Levels of SMC

To receive an SMC (k) award you must have one of the following:

Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of:

  • One hand
  • One foot
  • Both buttocks (where the applicable bilateral muscle group prevents the individual from maintaining unaided upright posture, rising and stooping actions)
  • One or more creative organs used for reproduction (absence of testicles, ovaries, or the creative organ, ¼ loss of tissue of a single breast or both breasts in combination) due to trauma while in the service, or as a residual of service-connected disabilities
  • One eye (loss of use includes specific levels of blindness)
  • Complete organic aphonia (constant loss of voice due to disease)
  • Deafness of both ears that includes absence of air and bone conduction


To receive an SMC (l) award you must have one of the following:

Anatomical loss (or loss of use) of: 

  • Both feet
  • One hand and one foot
  • Blindness in both eyes with visual acuity of 5/200 or less
  • Permanently bedridden
  • Regular need for aid and attendance 

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