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What other Benefits are Available to Veterans Receiving VA Compensation?

There are a variety of additional benefits available to veterans receiving compensation such as: SMC, burial benefits, special compensation for combat, housing adaptability grants, automobile and clothing allowances and special State benefits.

Understanding Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

VA can pay additional Compensation under Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) to a veteran who, as a result of military service, incurred the loss of or loss of use of specific organs or extremities. The governing code for SMC is Title 38 USC 1114.

Loss, or loss of use, is described as either an amputation or, having no effective remaining function of an extremity or organ. The disabilities VA can consider for SMC include:

  • loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot
  • immobility of a joint or paralysis
  • loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception)
  • loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ
  • complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks
  • deafness of both ears (having absence of air and bone conduction)
  • inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia)
  • loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment.

The Department will pay higher rates for combinations of these disabilities such as missing or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands, and arms, in specific monetary increments, based on the particular combination of the disabilities. There are also higher payments for various combinations of severe deafness with bilateral blindness. Additional SMC is available if a veteran is service connected for paraplegia, with complete loss of bowel and bladder control. In addition, if you have other service-connected disabilities that, in combination with the above special monthly Compensation, meet certain criteria, a higher amount of SMC can also be considered.

If a veteran is receiving Disability Compensation and is service connected at the 100% rate or is Individually Unemployable and is housebound, bedridden, or is so helpless to need the aid and attendance of another person, then an additional SMC rate is available. An aid and attendance allowance is also available to a veteran receiving SMC for whom a spouse needs aid and attendance or is housebound.

Number of                      Beneficiaries – 2017

Younger than 65

Age 65 and Older

Total all Ages

Average Monthly
 $ or % Total

Disability Compensation





DIC for Surviving Spouse





Veterans Pension





Survivors Pension for Spouse





100% Disabled





Individual Unemployability (Paid at 100% Disabled Rate)



Special Monthly Compensation 



Tinnitus and Hearing Loss – Most Prevalent Disabilities



Healthcare System Enrolled



9 million +

Source:  VA Annual Benefits Report 2017, DVA 2019 Budget Proposal

Disability Compensation Rate Table for 2020 (In Dollars)

Disability Percent











Veteran Alone











Veteran & Spouse









Vet – Sp – 1 Child











Vet  – 1 Child











Additional Child











Addt. Schoolchild











A&A for Spouse











If veteran has a spouse who requires A&A, add "A&A for spouse" to the amount of dependency & rate code above.

The various rates of payment in the table above correspond to the paragraph letter identifications found in Title 38 USC 1114. 2019 Rates for Burial, Special Benefits, Grants and Special Allowances.

Burial and Plot Rate Table 2020 – Effective October 1, 2019



(Reimbursement; veteran dies while hospitalized by VA)


(Reimbursement for Veterans not hospitalized by VA)


(Paid to a state veterans cemetery for the plot/burial)


(This amount will be paid to reimburse for a private-paid plot)


(If not provided by the Department)


A service-connected death is one where the veteran was receiving monthly payments for Disability Compensation and the death was due to the disability or condition for which the veteran was receiving pay. It is also possible to receive a service-connected death if the disability or condition was not the direct cause but the disability or condition contributed substantially to the death.

A non-service-connected death is one where the veteran was receiving monthly payments for Disability Compensation or Veterans Pension but the death was due to some other cause not related to the disabilities or conditions for which the veteran was receiving pay.

It should be noted that generally a non-service-connected death can produce $1,080 a month if the survivors have to pay for a funeral plot. Note that if the veteran died while hospitalized by VA and the survivor has to pay for a funeral plot the total amount available is $1,860.

Burial Benefits for Service-Related Death

An annual increase in burial and plot allowances for deaths occurring after October 1, 2011 began in 2013 based on the Consumer Price Index for the preceding 12-month period.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You paid for a Veteran's burial or funeral, AND
  • You have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased Veteran's employer, AND
  • The Veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, AND
  • The Veteran died because of a service-related disability, OR
  • The Veteran was receiving VA Pension or Compensation at the time of death, OR
  • The Veteran was entitled to receive VA Pension or Compensation, but decided not to reduce his/her military retirement or disability pay, OR
  • The Veteran died while hospitalized by VA, or while receiving care under VA contract at a non-VA facility, OR
  • The Veteran died while traveling under proper authorization and at VA expense to or from a specified place for the purpose of examination, treatment, or care, OR
  • The Veteran had an original or reopened claim pending at the time of death and has been found entitled to Compensation or Pension from a date prior to the date or death, OR
  • The Veteran died on or after October 9, 1996, while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home. NOTE: VA does not pay burial benefits if the deceased:
    Died during active military service, OR
    Was a member of Congress who died while holding office, OR
    Was a Federal prisoner

Evidence Requirements

  • Acceptable proof of death as specified in 38 CFR 3.211., AND
  • Receipted bills that show that you made payment in whole or part, OR
  • A statement of account, preferably on the printed billhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner. The statement of account must show:
    The name of the deceased Veteran for whom the services and merchandise were furnished, AND
    The nature and cost of the services and merchandise, AND
    All credits, AND
    The amount of the unpaid balance, if any

How to Apply

  • Complete and submit a VA Form 21-530, Application for Burial Allowance. You can find an office on our Facility Locator page, OR
  • Apply online using eBenefits, OR
  • Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR
  • Go to a VA Regional Office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your Regional Office on our Facility Locator page.

For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

CRSC provides tax-free monthly payments to eligible retired veterans with combat-related injuries. With CRSC, veterans can receive both their full military retirement pay and their VA Disability Compensation if the injury is combat-related. Of course, it should be noted that if the veteran is 50% or higher rated he or she is automatically entitled to full retirement pay.

Retired veterans with combat-related injuries must meet all of the following criteria to apply for CRSC:

  1. Active or Reserve component with 20 years of creditable service or medically retired.
  2. Receiving military retired pay.
  3. Have a 10 percent or greater VA-rated injury.
  4. Military retired pay is being reduced by VA disability payments (VA Waiver).

In addition, veterans must be able to provide documentary evidence that their injuries were a result of one of the following:

  • Training that simulates war (e.g., exercises, field training)
  • Hazardous duty (e.g., flight, diving, parachute duty)
  • An instrumentality of war (e.g. combat vehicles, weapons, Agent Orange)
  • Armed conflict (e.g. gunshot wounds, Purple Heart)

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP)

"Veterans receiving military retirement income cannot receive Disability Compensation at the same time except under certain conditions. This rule does not apply to veterans receiving military retirement and who are also receiving Pension. There is no such prohibition. Typically, the veteran receiving Disability Compensation will choose not to receive the equivalent amount from his or her military retirement. This is called an offset election. The reason for preferring Disability Compensation to retirement is that Compensation is nontaxable and retirement is.

CRDP does not restrict payment of military retirement for retirees with a 50% to 100% VA-rated disability. In other words, veterans rated 50% or higher have no offsetting income from their retirement pay.

To qualify, under CRDP veterans must also meet the following criteria:

  1. Have 20 or more years of active duty, or full-time National Guard duty, or satisfactory service as a reservist, or be in a retired status.
  2. Be receiving retired pay.

Retirees do not need to apply for CRDP. Payment is coordinated between VA and the Department of Defense (DoD)." Taken from "A 21st Century System for Evaluating Veterans for Disability Benefits, Committee on Medical Evaluation of Veterans for Disability Compensation 2006"

Housing Adaptability Grants

SAH Grant, Eligibility for up to $85,645 for 2019
VA may approve a grant of not more than 50 percent of the cost of building, buying, or adapting existing homes or paying to reduce indebtedness on a currently owned home that is being adapted, up to a maximum of $85,645. In certain instances, the full grant amount may be applied toward remodeling costs. Veterans and service members must be determined eligible to receive Compensation for permanent and total service-connected disability due to one of the following:

  • Loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes or a wheelchair.
  • Loss or loss of use of both upper extremities at or above the elbow.
  • Blindness in both eyes, having only light perception, plus loss or loss of use of one lower extremity
  • Loss or loss of use of one lower extremity together with (a) residuals of organic disease or injury, or (b) the loss or loss of use of one upper extremity which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without the use of braces, canes, crutches or a wheelchair.
  • Severe burn injuries

SHA Grant, Eligibility for up to $17,130 for 2019
VA may approve a grant for the cost, up to a maximum of $15,462, for necessary adaptations to a veteran's or service member's residence or to help them acquire a residence already adapted with special features for their disability, to purchase and adapt a home, or for adaptations to a family member's home in which they will reside.

To be eligible for this grant, veterans and servicemembers must be entitled to Compensation for permanent and total service-connected disability due to one of the following:

  • Blindness in both eyes with 5/200 visual acuity or less.
  • Anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands.
  • Severe burn injuries.

Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA)
A temporary grant may be available to SAH/SHA eligible Veterans and Servicemembers who are or will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member. The maximum amount available to adapt a family member's home for the SAH grant is $37,597 and for the SHA grant is $6,713 for 2019.

The first adjustment occurred on Oct. 1, 2009, with future adjustments each Oct. 1 thereafter. These adjustments will increase the grant amounts or leave them unchanged; they will not decrease the grant amounts. The maximum amount for a TRA grant is not indexed and remains unchanged.

The property may be located outside the United States, in a country or political subdivision which allows individuals to have or acquire a beneficial property interest, and in which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in his or her discretion, has determined that it is reasonably practicable for the Secretary to provide assistance in acquiring specially adapted housing.

Supplemental Financing
Veterans and service members with available loan guaranty entitlement may also obtain a guaranteed loan or a direct loan from VA to supplement the grant to acquire a specially adapted home.


Total lifetime amount HISA benefit up to $6,800 may be provided for veterans and service members who have a service connected condition rated 50% or more service connected.

Lifetime benefit up to $2,000 may be provided for Veterans who have a non-service connected condition.

Applying for a HISA Grant
The veteran must be registered with VA health care. In order to receive a HISA grant, the Veteran must first have a prescription from a VA physician in the VA health care system. This must include:

  • The diagnosis with medical justification
  • The Veteran's name, address, SSN, and phone number(s)

To apply, the Veteran must first provide:

  • A completed VA Form 10-0103, VETERANS APPLICATION FOR ASSISTANCE In Acquiring Home Improvement and Structural Alterations
  • If a leased or rented property, written permission from the owner
  • Quotes from licensed contractors (if required by state law), to include:
    The contractors name, address, telephone, and Federal tax ID number or social security number
    The Veteran's name, address, and telephone number
    Plans and drawings
    An itemized list of estimated materials, cost, and labor cost
    All permits required (it is the contractors responsibility to obtain these)  A picture of the work site prior to construction

Following are the types of projects that HISA grants will pay for. This is not all inclusive and other appropriate projects may be approved.

  • Roll-in showers
  • Construction of wooden or concrete, permanent ramping to provide access to the home
  • Widening doorways to bedroom, bathroom, etc., to achieve wheelchair access
  • Lowering of kitchen or bathroom counters and sinks
  • Improving entrance paths and driveways in immediate area of home to facilitate access to
  • the home
  • Construction of concrete pads and installation of exterior types of wheelchair lift
  • mechanisms if the installation cost exceeds $500.00
  • Interior and exterior railing deemed necessary for patients with ambulatory capability or
  • for veterans rated legally blind if the installation cost is over $500.00
  • Improvements to plumbing or electrical systems made necessary due to the installation of
  • dialysis equipment in the home
  • Any cost associated with permits, inspection fees, etc., that are required by local
  • ordinances.

HISA will not pay for:

  • Walkways to exterior buildings
  • Widening of driveways (in excess of a 7ft x 6ft area)
  • Spa, hot tub, or Jacuzzi
  • Exterior decking (in excess of 8ft x 8ft)

Special Benefit Allowances

Other benefits may be available after an award for Compensation has been received. Here is a list of these special benefits



Date Rate Changed


Automobile Allowance

$21,058.69 once



I will will not only Clothing Allowance



Medal of Honor Pension




Automobile Allowance
This one-time allowance can be used toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if the veteran has service-connected loss or permanent loss of use of

  • one or both hands or feet or
  • permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to a certain degree, or
  • ankylosis (immobility) of one or both knees or one or both hips.

The veteran may also be eligible for adaptive equipment, and for repair, replacement, or reinstallation required because of disability or for the safe operation of a vehicle purchased with VA assistance.

Clothing Allowance
Any veteran who is service-connected for a disability for which he or she uses prosthetic or orthopedic appliances may receive an annual clothing allowance. This allowance also is available to any veteran whose service-connected skin condition requires prescribed medication that irreparably damages outer garments. To apply, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest VA medical center.

Medal of Honor Pension
This income is available to any Medal of Honor recipient.

State Benefits for Veterans Receiving Disability Compensation
All states offer veterans special services, tax breaks and fee waivers. Many available benefits are unique to each state. But in general, all states offer at least the following programs.

State Veterans Homes
Veterans Homes are generally available to former active duty veterans but some states have beds for people who served with the reserves or National Guard and for the spouses of veterans. The majority of these homes offer nursing care but some may offer assisted living or domiciliary care. Generally there is no income or asset test. Most veterans in most states would qualify. Many states have waiting lists of weeks to months for available beds. Each facility has different eligibility rules and there is an application process.

You cannot simply walk in the door and arrange for nursing care on the spot. You must contact the veterans home you are interested in to find out the availability of beds and the application process. For veterans who are on Disability Compensation or are currently in the VA healthcare system, there are significant subsidies available from the Department of Veterans Affairs. For veterans who are not on claim, there may be co-pays for the services of a State Veterans Home depending on the income of the veteran or the spouse who might also be eligible for a bed.

State Veterans Homes fill an important need for veterans with low income and veterans who desire to spend their last years with "comrades" from former active-duty. The predominant service offered is nursing home care. VA nursing homes must be licensed for their particular state and conform with skilled or intermediate nursing services offered in private sector nursing homes in that state. State Homes may also offer assisted living or domiciliary care which is a form of supported independent living.

Every state has at least one veterans home and some states like Florida and Texas have eight of them. There is great demand for the services of these homes, but lack of federal and state funding has created a backlog of well over 70 major renovations to existing homes and approximately 22 new homes that are waiting to be built. We will discuss this problem in the section entitled "Challenges Facing the Construction of New Homes".

Unlike private sector nursing homes where the family can walk in the front door and possibly that same day make arrangements for a bed for their loved one; State Veterans Homes have an application process that could take a number of weeks or months. Many State Homes have waiting lists especially for their Alzheimer's long term care units.

No facilities are entirely free to any veteran with an income unless the veteran is also receiving Disability Compensation at a certain disability rating. The veteran must pay his or her share of the cost. In some states the veterans contribution rates are set and if there's not enough income the family may have to make up the difference. Federal legislation, effective 2007, also allows the federal government to substantially subsidize the cost of veterans with service-connected disabilities in State Veterans Homes.

Burial in State Veterans Cemeteries
At least 43 states have established state veterans cemeteries. Some states only have one cemetery while other states such as Hawaii offer as many as 8 different cemeteries. Eligibility is similar to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national cemeteries, but may include residency requirements. Even though state cemeteries may have been established or improved with Government funds through VA's State Cemetery Grants Program, state veterans cemeteries are run solely by the states.

Motor vehicles and License Plates
Motor vehicle registration, sales tax on a vehicle and license plates are generally free in those states where veterans are receiving disability grants from VA towards purchase or modification of a motor vehicle. In most states special design license plates identifying status, discharge or other service status of a veteran are available at no charge or additional charge. In most states, veterans who are disabled can receive license plates and registration for free.

Other Available State Benefits

  • free hunting or fishing licenses for disabled veterans
  • free admission to state parks sometimes for all veterans but typically only for disabled veterans
  • free copies of vital records for veterans making application for benefits
  • free drivers licenses for disabled veterans
  • free recording of discharge papers by County recorders
  • free copies of certified discharge papers by County recorders
  • tuition assistance for veterans, National Guard and dependents
  • property tax exemptions for certain disabled veterans as well as for their widows
  • partial property tax exemptions sometimes for any veteran but generally for those who are disabled
  • one time grants and stipends for certain veterans or any veteran up to $3,000 in one state
  • archiving of discharge records
  • state income tax exemption for certain veterans or veterans recently discharged
  • disability parking placards for disabled veterans
  • honorary high school diplomas for World War 2 or Korean veterans
  • in some states disabled veterans are exempt from payment of occupational taxes, administration fees, and regulatory fees imposed by local governments for peddling, conducting a business, or practicing a profession or semi profession.

Please refer to the table of contents in the top right column of this page for more topics on VA Disability Compensation.