Crime Victims' Compensation
Crime Victims’ Compensation is a financial assistance program that helps eligible victims of crime with certain expenses related to the crime. Money for this program comes from court costs paid by criminals and deposited by each Texas County into the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program is available after primary sources of payment - such as health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, auto insurance, or Texas Workers’ Compensation - have been exhausted.
If the court orders the offender to pay restitution to the victim for an expense that Crime Victims’ Compensation has already paid, the victim may be required to reimburse the Fund. If the victim or claimant recovers money through the settlement of a civil suit against the offender or a third party, he or she may also have to reimburse the Fund.
TO BE ELIGIBLE A PERSON MUST:
- Be a resident of Texas or another state with the crime occurring in Texas, or a Texas resident who becomes a victim in another state or in a country without a compensation program.
- Report the crime to a law enforcement agency within a reasonable period of time, but not so late as to interfere with or hamper the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
- File the application within three years of the date of the crime.
WHO MAY QUALIFY?
- An innocent victim of crime who suffers substantial threat of physical and/or emotional harm or death.
- A dependent of a victim.
- An authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim.
- An intervenor who goes to the aid of a victim or peace officer.
- A person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim.
- Immediate family or household members related by blood or marriage who require counseling as a result of the crime.
- A peace officer, firefighter, or individual who has a duty to protect the public and who is injured in a crime.
WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE?
Benefits may be reduced or denied if the victim:
- Participated in the crime.
- Engaged in illegal activity.
- Contributed to the crime.
- Was an inmate at the time of the crime.
- Knowingly or intentionally submitted false or forged information to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
- Did not cooperate with the appropriate law enforcement agencies
WHAT CRIMES ARE COVERED?
Crimes covered by Crime Victims’ Compensation are those in which the victim suffers substantial threat of physical or emotional harm or death. These may include sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, assault, homicide, and other violent crimes.
Vehicular crimes that are covered include failure to stop and render aid, DWI, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated assault, intoxication manslaughter, and intoxication assault.
WHAT TYPE OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE?
Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. In the case of extraordinary pecuniary losses resulting in a total and permanent disability, victims may be eligible for an additional $75,000 in benefits.
Upon approval, benefits may be awarded for the following:
- Medical, hospital, physical therapy, or nursing care.
- Psychiatric care or counseling.
- One-time relocation assistance for victims who are assaulted in the victim’s place of residence, including victims of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.
- Loss of earnings or support.
- Loss of wages and travel reimbursement due to participation in or attendance at the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes.
- Care of a child or dependent.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Crime scene clean-up.
- Replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or other property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as the result of the investigation.
- Attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims’ Compensation application and in obtaining benefits if the claim is approved.
- Loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment or counseling.
Additional benefits for victims who have suffered an extraordinary pecuniary loss include • making a home or car accessible • job training and vocational rehabilitation • training in the use of special appliances • home health care • reimbursement of lost wages • rehabilitation technology, long-term medical expenses and durable medical equipment Reimbursement for property damage or theft is not an eligible expense. Please note that financial assistance may be limited or unavailable depending on laws in effect when the crime occurred.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Every law enforcement agency and prosecutor’s office in Texas is mandated to provide victims of crime with information about the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program application for benefits. When contacting these agencies, please ask for the victim assistance liaison or coordinator, who can provide assistance in completing the application. Hospitals and medical centers may also have applications and materials. Applications for benefits can be obtained directly from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program in the Office of the Attorney General by calling (800) 983-9933. The professional staff at the division are also available to answer any questions and provide assistance in completing the application. An application can be completed online or downloaded from www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS TO APPEAL WHEN BENEFITS HAVE BEEN REDUCED OR DENIED?
If the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program makes a decision with which the victim or claimant disagrees, he or she has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. In order to appeal a decision, the victim or claimant must notify Crime Victims’ Compensation in writing within 30 days, stating the reason for dissatisfaction. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, the victim or claimant has 30 days to request a final ruling hearing from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. Should the victim or claimant not agree with the outcome of the hearing, he or she has 40 days from the date of the final hearing to file with the attorney general a written notice of dissatisfaction and 40 days thereafter to file a lawsuit in district court.