Veterans with severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) often require extensive care due to the residual effects of their injury. When a Veteran requires assistance with dressing, feeding, bathing and other tasks of daily living as the result of TBI, they may be eligible for SMC (t)—a type of Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) specifically for Veterans with brain injuries. If eligible, a Veteran is awarded SMC (t) in place of monthly VA disability benefits.
SMC (t) Payment Amounts
The VA adjusts the payment amount for SMC (t) each year. In 2021, the rate for a single Veteran with no dependents was $9,004.64 per month. This is the same rate as SMC (r)(2), which is for Veterans needing a higher level of care above that covered in Aid & Attendance—including tasks such as performing physical therapy, changing sterile dressings, and administering injections.
SMC (t) is paid at the same rate as SMC (r)(2) because it recognizes a need for the same high level of care. However, due to the different ways in which Veterans are affected by TBI, they are often unable to meet the VA’s strict requirements for SMC (r)(2).
Eligibility for SMC (t)
To qualify for SMC (t), a Veteran must meet all of the following criteria:
- They require regular aid and attendance (A&A) for the residuals of their service-connected TBI.
- They are not eligible for SMC (r)(2).
- They would require hospitalization, nursing home care, or residential institutional care without in-home A&A services.
Applying for SMC (t)
A Veteran with a traumatic brain injury doesn’t need to apply for SMC (t). The VA should consider entitlement to special monthly compensation when a Veteran’s condition qualifies for the benefit. However, it is possible that mistakes could be made in the process or that an application could be evaluated incorrectly if it doesn’t make clear the extent of a Veteran’s TBI residuals.
If you have suffered a TBI and are having trouble accessing the VA disability benefits you earned in service of your country, the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.