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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Alex

Kinda a dumb question but I had a Veteran ask me this the other day at the VMC...I always go by the VBA to help other vets. and pass out Hadit Cards.

Is the SMC considered a rating? or is it just added in to help with the Veteran income for him & his family?

Looks like the Veteran would get the SMC When awarded his S.C. Disability's?

Maybe not as they need to be of a separate rating.

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AN, thanks for the guided trip down the SMC Rabbit Hole. Much easier to read this time.

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Buck-

SMCs are not ratings, per se. They are additional entitlements above and beyond a 100% (or TDIU) rating based solely on a specific subset of disabilities that create a higher level of disability and incur more extensive need for aid from a spouse or caregiver. Review the actual requirements for each succeedingly higher SMC entitlement and you can see how more disability (SC, of course) allows advance to a higher SMC. Sadly, as we all know, SMC is the least understood of all VA benefits. I've talked with raters and tried to impress on them why my client is entitled to a higher rating (especially r(1) and r(2) . I get the 1,000 yard stare. They profess ignorance on the subject and defer to (and swear by) the computerized drivel that comes out of the M 21 Cray computer telling them what you get. They do admit they're ignorant so that's a beginning. VSOs can't even spell SMC let alone tell you what it's for and why. Unfortunately, a lot of VA attorneys tell me they too have a hard time figuring it out. I guess I lucked out on brains because it seems like it's as easy as chopping wood. 

As most of you know, we Vietnam Vets have really heavy duty disabilities and many involved combat injuries. The majority of my clients are SMC situations based for the most part on lost or irrevocably injured/amputated appendages. It's what I know. I was there for two years and witnessed what happened to myself and others. It makes it far easier to help someone when you've walked in their shoes. 

There was a time way back from the 1970s to the 90s when a lot of VA raters were Veterans and understood the rigors of service and the "suck it up" mentality that allowed you to keep walking on a broken ankle in spite of the pain so you didn't look like a xxxxx. Now it's the M 21 assembly manual for idiots on how to deny or lowball you. Always remember. Ignore the M 21. Don't quote it. Don't cite to it. Ignore it. Pretend it doesn't exist. There are only two things that control your claim- 38 USC and how the VA Secretary translates it into 38 CFR. If you get down in the dirt with them on M 21 language, they'll tie you in knots and say the M 21 won't permit it. The M 21 is about a year behind most of the time. It's a set of instructions like how to assemble an Ikea bookshelf. It's not a statute or regulation entitled to any legal deference so do not accept its premise or validity. 

Period.

Got it?

If not, this is how VA's own describe the entitlement:

VBA assigns SMC to recognize the severity of certain disabilities or combinations of disabilities by adding an additional compensation to the basic rate of payment when the basic rate is not sufficient for the level of disability present. SMC represents payments for “quality of life” issues such as the loss of an eye or limb, or the need to rely on others for daily life activities, such as bathing or eating.

Edited by asknod

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Roger that Alex = (Got It)

Great information from Alex (asknod)  in above post!

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It maybe just me or my way of thinking from my experience anyway

  It seems after a Veteran has had his/her S.C. Disability's a few years  and files for another claim and presents  the claim in a well design form along with  the medical evidence being straight forward and a well prepared lay statment and files the FDC via e benefit's

  Usually the results are fairly fast and 90% of the time an Approval is warranted & if the criteria is warranted for the SMC or a Mandatory SMC is warranted  they usually give that...vs first time claims.

So my point is if any veteran has another disability that arises later on in life and feel it is a S.C. Disability  by all means file that as a FDC  ASAP.

They will combine your previous disability's to this separate and distinct  & new disability and rate you accordingly and a lot of times this is how the SMC kicks in...If they fail to give the SMC and its warranted and you meet the SMC Criteria  Call them out on it NOD or what ever you have to do  read up on the SMC Criteria and look for yourself if your entitled.

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