Demystifying Special Monthly Compensation: How to Ensure Veterans are Properly Compensated for Loss of Quality of Life Due to Service-Connected Disabilities (Attorney)
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Presenter: Ron Abrams
Length: 93 minutes
Recorded: October 2020
Approved for 1.5 CLE credits by the Virginia State Bar
Special monthly compensation (SMC) is a VA benefit meant to compensate veterans for the loss of the quality of their life caused by service-connected disabilities. It is paid in addition to disability compensation, which is based on the assigned rating percentage that represents average impairment of earning capacity. While a single veteran with a 100 percent disability rating is entitled to about $3,200 per month in disability compensation, a veteran who qualifies for the highest level of SMC is entitled to over $9,000 per month.
SMC should be paid to veterans when service-connected disabilities cause them to be housebound or need the regular aid and attendance of another person, or have caused them to lose or lose the use of certain body parts. Unfortunately, the VA rules associated with SMC are complicated and confusing, particularly for the higher levels of SMC that require the loss or loss of use of multiple body parts or severe residuals of traumatic brain injury. The VA often fails to award the proper amount of SMC. Therefore, it is critical that advocates understand the criteria for entitlement to the different types of SMC, so they can ensure that the veterans they represent are correctly compensated by the VA.
This 90-minute webinar will break down the rules related to the numerous categories of SMC and provide you with an easy-to-apply formula that will help you determine the level of SMC a veteran should be assigned. It will help participants understand one of the most complicated areas of veterans law by covering, among other things:
• The relevant statutes and regulations regarding SMC
• The types of disabilities that entitle a veteran to SMC, such as anatomical loss of extremities, loss of use of extremities, and impaired vision
• The different levels of SMC and how veterans can establish entitlement to each level
• How housebound status or need for aid and attendance can qualify a veteran for SMC
• How some veterans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may be eligible for SMC(t), the highest level of SMC
• How to file claims for SMC and seek retroactive benefits when the VA erroneously failed to award SMC in a decision that has become final