According to studies, violent crime increased by 3% in 2020 in the US, and there were 25% more murders recorded in 2020.
If you’re the victim of a crime, you may be eligible for financial assistance from a crime victim compensation program.
Unfortunately, not all crimes result in financial assistance, and the process of applying for compensation can be difficult.
But don’t worry. Keep reading as our guide provides detailed information about joining a victim compensation program in the United States.
What Is Crime Victim Compensation?
Crime victim compensation is a program that can provide financial assistance to people who have been a victim of crime. This program gets its money from the victims, insurance, and also taxpayers.
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Who Qualifies for These Benefits?
In general, all persons injured or killed because of a crime can qualify for crime victims’ compensation benefits. But only if they report the incident to police within 72 hours.
Victims who do not report the crime within 72 hours might still be eligible if they fall into special categories, such as minors or if their injuries prevent them from reporting the crime.
How Do You Apply for These Benefits?
Applicants must file a claim with the state or local agency that administers the program in their area. It is best to contact several programs to find out if they cover losses before filling out paperwork.
Each state’s program has different requirements, such as what expenses are covered and who is eligible.
Applicants should be aware that not all programs will provide financial assistance for lost wages, pain, and suffering, relocation, mental health counseling, and funerals, for example.
How Do You Know Which Expenses Are Covered?
Most states allow crime victim compensation to cover all un-reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses caused by the crime. This includes medical bills and job loss.
Other expenses that might be covered include moving costs, child care or disabled services, lost wages, or funeral expenses. Some programs limit benefits to $25,000.
Others allow victims to apply for up to $100,000 in financial assistance and criminal compensation.
How Is an Award Determined?
Every state has different requirements for awarding compensation benefits. Some states use a schedule of reimbursement amounts.
Other programs determine awards based on actual expenses submitted by the victim.
It’s best to contact your local program or talk with a program official to find out how benefits will be paid.
What Happens if the Crime Happened in Another State?
A claimant can file a claim with his or her local program. This will apply even if the incident happened in another jurisdiction.
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) maintains a list of state compensation programs on their website that includes links to websites and telephone numbers, as well as instructions for filing claims.
Learn More About Crime Victim Compensation
Although the process of seeking and receiving crime victim compensation can be daunting, it is worth knowing that these programs exist to help victims of violent crimes. Don’t hesitate to find help.
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