Every state has a crime victim or criminal injuries compensation program to help pay some of the out-of-pocket expenses for victims of crime. Most programs are limited to victims of violent crimes, but some programs will also pay the counseling costs for victims of major financial crimes. Every state sets limits on the overall amount that can be paid to a victim and on the amount paid for each type of expense. Victim compensation only pays where there is not insurance coverage or some other type of payment available.
What expenses does Crime Victim Compensation cover?
Victim compensation programs will often pay for the following expenses after a crime has occurred:
- Medical or dental costs
- Lost wages
- Funeral or burial expenses in cases of homicide
Victim compensation usually does not cover the following:
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
What are the requirements to be eligible for Crime Victims Compensation?
In order to be eligible, most programs require that victims:
- Report the crime to police within a certain amount of time following the crime
- Cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the case (this requirement may be minimal in some sexual or domestic violence cases)
- File a compensation claim within a certain amount of time
- Have no responsibility for the crime being committed
- In cases of homicide or in certain other cases, family members of the victim may be eligible for counseling or other benefits.
What Can I do?
- File a Claim – Victims and survivors may file a claim in the state where the crime occurred. Some states also provide compensation to their residents even if the crime occurred in another state or outside the country.
- Use an Advocate for Support – You may find it helpful to have the assistance of a crime victim advocate to help you through the process of filing a claim. Advocates are often available in the county prosecutor’s office or in the offices of local victim support service providers.
- Look for Other Means of Emergency Assistance – Victims Compensation is not a source of immediate or emergency funding. Look to local social service agencies or churches if you are in need of crisis funding.
Contact the VictimConnect Resource Center by phone at 1-855-484-2846 or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services that can help you with victim compensation.
Find your state’s crime victim compensation program through the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards.