Category R is given to veterans who qualify for Special Monthly Compensation under Category O, or under Categories N ½ and K together, and who requires the help of another person (aid and attendance) every day. If the veteran's condition does not qualify under these categories, even if aid and attendance is required, he does not qualify for Category R.
Additionally, a veteran only qualifies for Category R if he requires the help of another person every day to perform the following tasks:
- Dressing and undressing
- Cleaning and grooming
- Using the restroom
- Adjusting prosthetic or orthopedic appliances frequently. A veteran only qualifies for this if he is unable to adjust an appliance that most people could adjust on their own.
- Another person does not need to be with the veteran at all times for him to qualify. He just has to be unable to perform the majority of the above activities without help every day.
A veteran can also qualify if:
- The disability, physical or mental, requires that another person regularly care for him to keep him from harming himself or others, intentionally or accidentally.
- The veteran is bedridden. This means that his condition is severe enough that it requires him to always be in bed. He does not qualify if he chooses to remain in bed or if a physician prescribes him to a period of bed rest. It is also not enough for the veteran to just have to be in bed. To qualify for this special monthly compensation, he must also need the regular aid and attendance of another person.
Category R compensation is NOT given if the individual is hospitalized or in a care institution, only if they are being cared for at home. This is becuase the VA will already be covering the costs of hospitalization if a veteran is hospitalized for a service-connected condition. When the veteran is not hospitalized, however, this extra compensation helps support their need for daily care.
There are two different levels under Category R: Category R1 and Category R2.
Category R1: For this category, the veteran must have to have someone helping him/her every day to perform the above tasks, but that person does not have to be a professional. They can be a family member, friend, etc.
Category R2: For this category, the person helping the veteran must be a licensed medical professional or someone working on behalf of a licensed medical professional. In addition, the VA must judge that the veteran would have to be hospitalized, put in a nursing home, or otherwise institutionalized if he did not have this professional-level care at home.
Special Monthly Compensation under Category S is given if:
The veteran is completely and permanently housebound, meaning that the veteran cannot leave his area of abode (this can include his own home, a hospital ward, or a care facility) at all, and this is expected to be the case for the rest of his life
The veteran has at least one condition rated 100% and another, unrelated condition rated 60% (different body system or different type of disability—can’t both affect the arm, etc. This one does not have to be service related.)
This Special Monthly Compensation is given instead of Special Monthly Compensation under Categories L through O.