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February 23, 2024

Qualifying for VA SMC for Mental Illness

Last updated on March 6, 2024

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Once a veteran gets to 100% VA disability, are there any more benefits they qualify for? 

The answer is yes! 

One HUGE possible benefit is known as Special Monthly Compensation (SMC).

In this post, we’ll examine VA SMC for mental illness, including VA Special Monthly Compensation for PTSD.

We’ll also break down SMC eligibility and SMC compensation rates and provide some links to other helpful resources. 



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VA SMC for Mental Illness

Mental health challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety disorders, are considered disabilities under the VA system if they are service-connected.

But can you get VA SMC for mental illness?

Yes, you can. If you become service-connected for a mental health condition, it’s possible to also qualify for VA SMC for mental illness, such as Special Monthly Compensation for depression.

Maximizing SMC for 100% Disabled Veterans with Mental Health Challenges

Veterans become entitled to many more benefits once they have been determined to be 100% disabled by the VA. One of the main extra benefits available for veterans is VA SMC—which could provide additional tax-free monthly compensation for you and your dependents.


SMC Eligibility for 100% Disabled Veterans

To be eligible for SMC, a 100% VA disability rating must have already been granted. Veterans who have a combined VA rating of 100% or TDIU for one single condition and rated 60% for their other combined conditions are eligible for SMC based on the severity of their conditions. 

VA Special Monthly Compensation for PTSD

While many of the provisions do not address mental health, veterans with mental health disabilities like PTSD can gain VA SMC for PTSD if they are in need of aid and attendance or are housebound. There are also special provisions for veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).


Types of VA SMC Compensation

Once a veteran has been determined to have a 100% VA disability rating, they may be eligible for different types of VA SMC compensation. The specific type of compensation a veteran is eligible for depends on the severity of their disability and the level of care required. 

The VA identifies several different types of SMC compensation, including: 

  • Aid and Attendance (AA)
  • Housebound (HB) and 
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC-K) for loss of use of a creative organ 

For veterans with major TBIs and residuals, sometimes additional care is needed, and SMC-T is useful for providing extra financial support for these needs. Each type of compensation provides additional financial assistance to help offset the challenges faced by disabled veterans.

Understanding Compensation for VA SMC for Mental Health

The VA system supports and provides compensation for disabled veterans, including those facing mental health challenges. VA SMC for mental illness is a critical component of this support, offering additional financial assistance to veterans who have reached a 100% disability rating. 

Understanding the ins and outs of VA SMC compensation is key to maximizing the benefits available to 100% disabled veterans.

See also: 2024 VA Special Monthly Compensation Rates

Calculating VA SMC Compensation

Unlike typical service-connected disability compensation, SMC is not based upon reference to loss of earning capacity for employment but is based on the actual disability and its severity. These rates are subject to change and are adjusted annually. The amount a veteran receives can vary. The amount of VA SMC for Mental Illness you receive will depend on the type of SMC and the severity that is determined by the VA. 

The 2024 SMC rates range from $132.74 per month for SMC-K to as high as $10,697.23 per month for SMC-R/2 and SMC-T for a single veteran with no dependents. So, it is well worth looking into by all veterans who think they may be eligible.

VA SMC Rates

The VA sets specific compensation rates for each type of SMC based on the severity of the disability and the level of care required. Veterans need to stay informed about the current compensation rates to ensure they are receiving the appropriate level of benefits. 

Pay rates for all the Special Monthly Compensation categories can be found in our guide to 2024 Special Monthly Compensation Rates and on the official VA website. These rates can vary depending on each claim and the number of dependents.


Supporting Documentation for VA SMC Claims

To maximize VA SMC compensation, veterans need to provide thorough and accurate documentation of their disabilities and care needs. This documentation should include medical records, treatment history, and any other relevant documentation that supports your claims. 

It’s also important to provide statements from medical professionals who can attest to the severity of the veteran’s disabilities and the level of care required. By providing comprehensive supporting documentation, veterans can strengthen their SMC claims and increase their chances of receiving the maximum compensation they are entitled to. 

Additional Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans

In addition to SMC compensation, 100% disabled veterans are eligible for a range of additional benefits. These benefits include healthcare coverage through the VA system, access to educational opportunities, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, and home loan guarantees. 

Veterans need to explore and take advantage of these additional benefits to maximize their overall support and well-being. Navigating the VA system and maximizing SMC compensation can be a complex and challenging process for disabled veterans with mental health challenges. 

However, with a thorough understanding of the eligibility requirements, types of compensation, and factors affecting compensation, veterans can take steps to receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to. Most importantly, if you’re a 100% disabled veteran with mental health challenges, know that you may be eligible for VA SMC for mental illness.

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Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, are not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we educate you on how to take control of the claims process so you may get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. 

If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! 

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you in building a fully developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

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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