Can I Get Tax-Free “Special Monthly Compensation” (SMC) from VA?

"<a href="">2nd day post op after amputation of left leg due to liposarcoma</a>" by <a href="//;action=edit&amp;redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Unklekrappy (page does not exist)">Unklekrappy</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>. Licensed under <a href="" title="Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication">CC0</a> via <a href="">Commons</a>.What is “Special Monthly Compensation”?

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents.   SMC is paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

It’s Important to Understand SMC

SMC eligibility can materially assist Veterans and their families, including spouses, children, and parents.   Here is just one of the SMC monthly compensation rate tables posted by VA (with rates effective as of 12/1/2014).


With Children, SMC-L through SMC-N

Dependent Status L L 1/2 M M 1/2 N
Veteran with Spouse and One Child $3,897.79 $4,084.77 $4,272.51 $4,546.77 $4,821.66
Veteran with One Child $3,725.41 $3,912.39 $4,100.13 $4,374.39 $4,649.28
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and One Child $4,027.85 $4,214.83 $4,402.57 $4,676.83 $4,951.72
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and One Child $4,157.91 $4,344.89 $4,532.63 $4,806.89 $5,081.78
Veteran with One Parent and One Child $3,855.47 $4,042.45 $4,230.19 $4,504.45 $4,779.34
Veteran with Two Parents and One Child $3,985.53 $4,172.51 $4,360.25 $4,634.51 $4,909.40
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18. See footnote $80.52 $80.52 $80.52 $80.52 $80.52
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18. See footnote (a) $260.13 $260.13 $260.13 $260.13 $260.13
Additional A/A spouse. See footnote (b) $148.64 $148.64 $148.64 $148.64 $148.64

Given the important, tax-free assistance at stake, it can be worthwhile to consult with an advocate who can help you understand VA’s complex system and assist you in pursuing all the disability compensation benefits to which you or your Veteran are entitled.

SMC is in addition to any benefit a Veteran is entitled to under VA’s Schedule of Rating Disabilities (VASRD).  While the types of injuries eligible for SMC have expanded over the decades, so has the complexity with which VA determines who is eligible for what.

Interestingly, unlike other service-connected disabilities under the VASRD, SMC rates consider non-economic factors such as personal inconvenience, social inadaptability, and the profound nature of the SMC-eligible disability.  Therefore, in addition to receiving SMC for a loss, loss or use, and/or certain combinations of loss/loss of use, there are additional situations which may also merit grant of SMC.

Here’s a little “for instance” about VA’s SMC schedule.  There are 9 SMC Letter Categories and All Kinds of Category Permutations.

  1. SMC(k)
  2. SMC(l) – (l ½)
  3. SMC(m) – (m ½)
  4. SMC(n) – (n½)
  5. SMC(o)
  6. SMC(p)
  7. SMC(r) – (r-1) (r-2)
  8. SMC(s)
  9. SMC(t)

The SMC eligibility requirements are so complex – because they use specific technical language and because there are all sorts of combinations – that you practically have to talk to an expert to determine what level of SMC you qualify for.

Let’s just take one of the categories.  Here’s how SMC (o) is defined:

  • “o” = One of the following:  Loss of both arms so near the shoulder as to prevent use of a prosthetic appliance, bilateral deafness rated at least 60% disabling with service-connected blindness calculated as visual acuity of 20/2000 or less in both eyes, complete deafness in one ear or bilateral deafness rated at least 40% disabling together with service-connected blindness in both eyes, paraplegia-paralysis of both lower extremities together with bowel and bladder incontinence, helplessness due to a combination of loss (or loss of use) of two extremities with deafness and blindness, or a combination of multiple injuries causing severe and total disability

That’s just one of the letter categories.  Now, multiply that by nine plus subparts, plus combinations.

You won’t be shocked to discover that you practically need a higher math degree to figure out VA’s SMC schedule.  That’s why having an advocate who is knowledgeable about all this can be helpful in ensuring you receive the disability compensation to which you are entitled.

Are you a Veteran? Are you a Veteran’s spouse or parent?  If you believe you or your Veteran are eligible for Special Monthly Compensation, contact  today for your FREE consultation.


Public Law 109-461 allows Veterans to hire attorneys to appeal VA benefits rulings.  The Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. is one of the few VA-accredited Veteran attorney firms in the United States.


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