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October 16, 2022

2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Pay Rates

Last updated on October 29, 2022

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Today, I’ll reveal and explain the new 2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) pay rates.

Generally, Special Monthly Compensation is additional monthly compensation given to veterans with combinations of disabilities or special needs that result in a higher level of overall disability.

2023 VA SMC Rates

The VA acknowledges that veterans with certain disabilities or combinations of disabilities are more debilitating than accounted for by the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

For example, SMC R2/T pays more than $10,000 per month, nearly triple the monthly compensation of 100% scheduler VA disability.

2023 VA SMC Rates Table (Official)

2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation Pay Rates

The approved VA SMC rates 2023 pay chart with dependents is shown below for reference.

The official VA Special Monthly Compensation pay rates for 2023 include the COLA increase of 8.7%.

SMC CategoryKLL ½MM ½NN ½OR1R2/TS
Just You$128.62$4,506.84$4,739.83$4,973.76$5,315.51$5,658.02$5,990.84$6,324.26$9,036.89$10,365.53$4,054.12
You & 1 Child$128.62$4,641.89$4,874.88$5,108.81$5,450.55$5,793.07$6,125.89$6,459.31$9,171.94$10,500.58$4,189.17
You & 1 Parent$128.62$4,668.92$4,901.90$5,135.84$5,477.58$5,820.09$6,152.91$6,486.34$9,198.97$10,527.61$4,216.19
You & Spouse$128.62$4,708.79$4,941.77$5,175.71$5,517.45$5,859.96$6,192.78$6,526.21$9,238.84$10,567.48$4,256.06
You, 1 Parent, & 1 Child$128.62$4,803.96$5,036.95$5,270.88$5,612.63$5,955.14$6,287.96$6,621.38$9,334.01$10,662.65$4,351.24
You & 2 Parents$128.62$4,830.99$5,063.97$5,297.91$5,639.65$5,982.16$6,314.98$6,648.41$9,361.04$10,689.68$4,378.26
You, Spouse, & 1 Child$128.62$4,856.67$5,089.66$5,323.59$5,665.34$6,007.85$6,340.67$6,674.09$9,386.72$10,715.36$4,403.95
You, Spouse, & 1 Parent$128.62$4,870.86$5,103.85$5,337.78$5,679.52$6,022.03$6,354.85$6,688.28$9,400.91$10,729.55$4,418.13
You, 2 Parents, & 1 Child$128.62$4,966.04$5,199.02$5,432.96$5,774.70$6,117.21$6,450.03$6,783.46$9,496.09$10,824.73$4,513.31
You, Spouse, 1 Parent, & 1 Child$128.62$5,018.74$5,251.73$5,485.67$5,827.41$6,169.92$6,502.74$6,836.16$9,548.79$10,877.44$4,566.02
You, Spouse, & 2 Parents$128.62$5,032.93$5,265.92$5,499.85$5,841.59$6,184.11$6,516.92$6,850.35$9,562.98$10,891.62$4,580.20
You, Spouse, 2 Parents, & 1 Child$128.62$5,180.82$5,413.80$5,647.74$5,989.48$6,331.99$6,664.81$6,998.24$9,710.87$11,039.51$4,728.09
  • Note 1: Except for SMC-K, all additional children under 18 receive $101.43 each.
  • Note 2: Except for SMC-K, all additional dependent children 18-23 receive $324.12 each.
  • Note 3: Aid and Attendance (A/A) for a spouse is $185.20.

2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation SMC Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

#1. What Is Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is additional monthly compensation given to veterans with combinations of disabilities or special needs that result in a higher level of overall disability.

The VA acknowledges that veterans with certain disabilities or combinations of disabilities are more debilitating than accounted for by the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities.

SMC pay rates 2023 go up to more than $11,000 per month.

#2. How Do I Qualify for VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

There are many ways to qualify for VA Special Monthly Compensation. 

It’s important to note that most Special Monthly Compensation rates are awarded in lieu of standard VA disability compensation rates, except for SMC-K.  

The VA pays SMC-K each month in addition to regular VA disability compensation pay.

The VA assigns Special Monthly Compensation levels based on very specific situations and/or combinations of situations, including but not limited to:

  • The loss of use of a creative organ
  • The amputation of one or more limbs or extremities
  • The loss of use of one or more limbs or extremities (meaning you have no effective function remaining)
  • The physical loss of one or both eyes
  • The loss of sight or total blindness in one or both eyes
  • Being permanently bedridden (unable to get out of bed)
  • Needing daily help with basic needs (like eating, dressing, and bathing), also called “Aid and Attendance”

How to Qualify for SMC-L:

You may receive an SMC-L designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had both feet amputated, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have lost the use of the other foot, or
  • You’ve had one hand and one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have lost the use of one hand, or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, and have lost the use of one foot

Or:

  • You’ve lost the use of both feet, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand and one foot

Or:

  • You’ve lost sight in both eyes (blindness), or
  • You’re permanently bedridden, or
  • You need daily help with basic needs (like eating, dressing, and bathing)

How to Qualify for SMC-L 1/2:

You may receive an SMC-L 1/2 designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had one foot and the other knee amputated, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have lost the use of the other knee, or
  • You’ve had one foot and one elbow amputated, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have lost the use of one elbow, or
  • You’ve had one knee and one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve had one knee amputated, and have lost the use of one hand

Or:

  • You’ve lost the use of one foot, and have had the other knee amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot, and have had one elbow amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot and one elbow, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one knee, and have had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one knee and one hand

Or:

  • You have blindness in one eye and total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light, or
  • You have blindness in both eyes, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling)

How to Qualify for SMC-M:

You may receive an SMC-M designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had both hands amputated, or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, and have lost the use of the other hand, or
  • You’ve had both knees amputated, or
  • You’ve had one elbow and one knee amputated, or 
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have lost the use of one arm at the shoulder, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis

Or:

  • You’ve lost the use of both hands, or
  • You’ve lost the use of both knees, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one elbow and one knee, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot and the use of one arm at the shoulder, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis

Or you have blindness in one eye, and:

  • You’ve physically lost the other eye, or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, or
  • You have total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light, and have total deafness in one ear, or
  • You have total blindness in the other eye with only the ability to perceive light, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling)

Or: 

  • You have blindness in both eyes that’s considered total blindness, with only the ability to perceive light, or
  • You have blindness in both eyes that requires you to have daily help with basic needs (like eating, dressing, and bathing)

Or you have blindness in both eyes, and: 

  • You have deafness in both (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling)

How to Qualify for SMC-M 1/2:

You may receive an SMC-M 1/2 designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had one knee amputated, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one knee amputated, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one elbow amputated, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one hand and one elbow amputated, or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, and have lost the use of one elbow

Or:

  • You’ve lost the use of one knee, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one knee, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one elbow, and have had one leg amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost of use of one hand, and have had one elbow amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand and of one elbow

Or you have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light:

  • In one eye, and have physically lost the other eye, or
  • In one eye, and have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, or
  • In both eyes, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling)

Or you have blindness in one eye, and:

  • You’ve physically lost the other eye, and have total deafness in one ear, or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have total deafness in one ear, or
  • You have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have had one foot amputated, or
  • You have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling), or
  • You have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have had one hand amputated, or
  • You have total blindness with the only ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have lost the use of one hand

Or: 

  • You have blindness in both eyes and total deafness in one ear, or
  • You have blindness in both eyes that requires you to have daily help with basic needs (like eating, bathing, and dressing), and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling)

How to Qualify for SMC-N:

You may receive an SMC-N designation if any of these situations are true for you.

  • You’ve had both elbows amputated, or
  • You’ve had both legs amputated so close to the hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve had one arm and one leg amputated so close to the shoulder and hip that you can’t wear a prosthesis on either, or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, and one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis

Or:

  • You’ve lost the use of both elbows, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis

Or:

  • You’ve physically lost both eyes, or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light

Or you have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye, and:

  • You’ve physically lost the other eye, and have deafness in both ears (rated as 10% or 20% disabling), or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have deafness in both ears (rated as 10% or 20% disabling), or
  • You’ve physically lost the other eye, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling), or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling)

Or you have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in both eyes, and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling)

Or you have blindness in one eye, and:

  • You’ve physically lost the other eye, and have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling)

Or you have blindness in both eyes that requires you to have daily help with basic needs (like dressing, eating, or bathing), and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand, or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% disabling)

How to Qualify for SMC-N ½:

You may receive an SMC-N 1/2 designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had one elbow amputated, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one elbow, and have had one arm amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You’ve physically lost both eyes, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50% disabling), or
  • You have total blindness without the ability to see light, and have lost the use of one foot (rated as less than 50%)

Or you have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye, have physically lost the other eye, and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand

Or you have total blindness with only the ability to perceive light in one eye and total blindness without the ability to perceive light in the other eye, and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand

How to Qualify for SMC-O:

You may receive an SMC-O designation if any of these situations are true for you:

  • You’ve had both arms amputated so close to the shoulder that you can’t wear a prosthesis, or
  • You have complete paralysis of both legs that’s resulted in being unable to control your bladder or bowels

Or:

  • You have hearing loss in both ears (with at least one ear’s deafness caused by military service) that’s rated as 60% or more disabling, and you have blindness in both eyes, or
  • You have hearing loss in both ears (with at least one ear’s deafness caused by military service) that’s rated as 40% or more disabling, and you have blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light, or
  • You have total deafness in one ear as well as blindness in both eyes with only the ability to perceive light

Or you have total blindness without the ability to see light, and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand

Or you have physically lost both eyes, and:

  • You have deafness in both ears (rated as 30% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one foot amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one foot (rated as 50% or more disabling), or
  • You’ve had one hand amputated, or
  • You’ve lost the use of one hand

#3. Can I Apply for VA Special Monthly Compensation?

The short answer is: yes, you can apply for Special Monthly Compensation,

Typically, the VA automatically awards Special Monthly Compensation to qualifying veterans.

Thus, you don’t have to apply for it. 

The VA is supposed to consider SMC when deciding any claim for disability compensation.

However, it doesn’t aways happen that way.

If the VA doesn’t award SMC with your VA claim, you can always open a new claim on the VA.gov website and create a new disability for “Request for Special Monthly Compensation.”

#4. What are the Current Special Monthly Compensation Rates?

Current Special Monthly Compensation rates depend on the SMC category and the number of dependents the veteran has.

All of the current 2023 VA Special Monthly Compensation rates can be found in our Special Monthly Compensation Rates table at the beginning of this post.

#5. Do My Conditions Qualify for VA SMC?

No short answer for this, but you can find out today by comparing your conditions and circumstances to the requirements for each level of SMC on Military Disability Made Easy’s Special Monthly Compensation page.

#6. Are Special Monthly Compensation Rates Paid “In Addition To” or “Instead Of” My Regular VA Disability Payments?

Most Special Monthly Compensation rates replace your regular monthly payments.

If you qualify for SMC, then you will only receive the Special Monthly Compensation rates each month.

The only exception to this rule is SMC-K.

The amount for SMC-K is added to your regular VA disability, if you qualify.

#7. What If I Qualify for Multiple SMC Categories?

If you qualify for multiple categories, then the VA will pay you at the category with the highest Special Monthly Compensation rates.

You cannot receive multiple categories.

The exception to this is SMC-K, which can be given in addition to other categories.

The amount for SMC-K is added to the monthly amount for the other category.

#8. Can the VA Take Away Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)?

It is extremely rare for the VA to award SMC and later take it away, however, it can happen.

If your conditions improve to the point that you no longer qualify for SMC, then the VA will only compensate you at the level for which you qualify.

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About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reese is a VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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