What is a Crime Victim Compensation Program?


A crime victim compensation program helps reimburse victims who have incurred expenses due to crime. Examples of such expenses include mental health counseling, medical support, lost wages, loss of support, and funeral and burial costs. As much as every state has a program for crime victims, each is governed differently. Still, the eligibility requirement and the benefits are similar. Note that one only receives compensation after other financial resources like the offender’s restitution and private insurance have been exhausted. Some expenses like damage, property loss, and theft are not covered by most compensation programs.

Who is Eligible For This Compensation?

Anyone within US state territories is eligible and can apply. To receive compensation, you have to comply with the set rules. That means cooperating with all requests from law enforcement and submitting your application to the compensation program on time.

What Happens After Submitting Claims?

After you have filed your claim, the program will review the application to ensure that you are eligible. There are policies that govern the process for you to get compensated finally. Besides the claim form, some other documents will be needed to help support your case. To find out what is required from you, you can visit the VCF website, then check on the ‘Forms and Resources’ page. If any of these documents are missing on your application, the program sends you a letter informing you that you have missing information. If, within 60 days, you fail to send the missing documents, then your claim will be denied. To get compensation, ensure that you submit all the requested documents.

Waiting Period

Generally, claims are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Therefore, claims that have been sitting on the desk for longer are reviewed first before newer submissions. The program has been working towards shortening the waiting period, ensuring that each claim is determined within one year of submission. Also, keep in mind that each claim is reviewed individually. Some cases are complex, hence the process can take longer. For instance, a case like 9/11 is complex, requiring a ton of information and documentation before compensation is awarded.

Can the Review process Be Accelerated for Particular Claims?

In certain cases where there are significant financial challenges or a terminal condition is involved, one can request that their review process be hastened. Financial hardship can include situations like utility cut-offs and eviction notices. If you want your case to be expedited based on these circumstances, you can contact the program and ensure you have the proper documentation to support your case. The program will review your request and get back to you within 48 hours, informing you if your request has been accepted. If your request is granted, then you can get your compensation within a month. Each state has its information for victims of crime, ensuring that you get compensation for the damage caused. 

Being a victim of crime, whether directly or losing a loved one, is an unfortunate event. And while the crime victim compensation program cannot undo the issue, it can ensure you at least get compensation to make your life easier.

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