Veterans Court: What constitutes loss of use of a reproductive organ for purposes of SMC?
March 2nd, 2021
Contributor: Chris Attig
In January 2021, the loss of use of a reproductive organ for SMC purposes was the focus of a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals Veterans Claims issued a precedential opinion in Bria v. Wilkie.
The panel consisted of Judge Meredith (who wrote the opinion for the Veterans Court), Judge Pietsch and Judge Greenberg.
The case involved the claim by a US Army veteran, service-connected for hepatitis-C, who sought entitlement to Special Monthly Compensation for the loss of his ability to use his reproductive organs. Specifically, he argued that wearing a condom to prevent the transmission of hepatitis-c constitutes a loss of use for SMC purposes.
The controlling law for entitlement to Special Monthly Compensation is found at 38 U.S.C. §1114(k) and 38 C.F.R. §3.350.
In its decision, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims discussed what constitutes a loss or loss of use of a reproductive organ for the purposes of Special Monthly Compensation (SMC).
The Court found that the veteran failed to establish, as a matter of fact, that wearing a condom constitutes as a loss of use for SMC purposes.
However, the Court held open for another day the issue of whether wearing a condom to prevent the transmission of disease constitutes the anatomical loss or functional loss of use of reproductive organ(s).
In this video, attorney Chris Attig with the law firm of Attig | Curran | Steel, PLLC, discusses the Court's decision and what it means not just for veterans with a loss or diminishment of functioning of their reproductive organs, but for the attorneys, advocates, agents and VSOs who represent them.
If you believe you are entitled to Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for loss or loss of use of a reproductive organ, or if the VA or BVA denied you - as a male or female veteran - SMC(k) for loss of use of a reproductive organ, request a consult at BVAappeals.com.