Crime Victim Compensation: Financial Assistance after a Crime
The Crime Victim Compensation (CVC) Program is a government program that helps crime victims and their immediate families with the financial costs of crime. Every state has its own compensation program and eligibility is determined through an application process.
Each state’s crime victim compensation board decides what it will and what it won’t reimburse, as well as the length of time related expenses are eligible for reimbursement. Generally speaking, crime victim compensation covers the following costs associated with a crime:
- Medical and dental
- Funeral and/or burial
- Lost wages
Some state compensation programs pay for additional expenses, such as crime scene clean-up, travel costs for court proceedings, or relocation costs for individuals who are forced to move for safety reasons. Keep in mind that Crime Victim Compensation is a reimbursement-based program. In other words, you will pay for expenses out-of-pocket and then will be reimbursed for those expenses upon approval from the program.
Victims and survivors of violent crime, including gun violence, as well as their immediate families, can apply for compensation. However, it is important to know that each state has different eligibility requirements so applicants should inquire about those requirements at the time of application. If the person applying for assistance receives help for the same costs through another means, such as with insurance, they likely will not be eligible to receive compensation for the same cost through the CVC program. Frequently, states require that the crime was reported to the local authorities and an applicant must cooperate with a crime investigation to be eligible for CVC. Other rules apply.
How to Apply
Victims or survivors of violent crime, their immediate families, or others who have paid for related costs on behalf of the victim can complete and application for compensation. The time-frame in which to apply (i.e. within two years of the shooting incident) varies from state to state, so it is important not to delay your application. To do so, you must complete a crime victim compensation application in the state where the crime occurred. You can find a list of state crime victim compensation agencies here. The victim assistance program through your local district attorney’s office can assist you in your application and can answer questions you may have about the process. If you do not have a victim assistance program near you, you can also contact the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards for information. Because the rules of the CVC program vary from state to state, victims of gun violence are encouraged to apply. Neither an arrest or a conviction are required to make an application.
DISCLAIMER.This information does not and cannot constitute or substitute financial advice. Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund is an organization dedicated to educating and bringing awareness around the issue of gun violence prevention, and does not provide financial advice. This fact sheet merely provides general information.