Did you know that if you are a victim of a violent crime, there are benefits available to you? Crime doesn’t pay, but in Texas, criminals do. Crime victim compensation is a government program to reimburse victims of violent crimes– such as assault, homicide, rape, and, in some states, burglary – as well as their families for many of their out-of-pocket expenses.
The Crime Victims’ Compensation program is available to assist victims of violent crime with expenses associated with the crime. In order to receive financial assistance from the fund, victims must complete an application for benefits. The fund is able to pay for a variety of expenses including:
- medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care
- psychiatric care or counseling
- loss of earnings or support
- loss of wages due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes, and travel
- care of a child or a dependent
- funeral and burial expenses
- crime scene clean-up
- replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation
- reasonable 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
- one time relocation expenses for domestic violence victims or for those sexual assault victims attacked in their own residence
In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, the victim may be eligible for $75,000 in benefits for:
- 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
Reimbursement for property damage or theft is not an eligible expense
The amount of compensation available for crimes that occur after September 1, 1997, is $50,000. Crimes that occurred before that date have a $25,000 maximum.
Who is eligible?
Victims of violence and their families must deal with the emotional, physical, and financial aftermath of crime. The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund helps victims and their families when they have no other means of paying for the financial cost of crime.
The Fund is administered by the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program of the Office of the Attorney General. The money in the Fund comes from people who break the law.
If you are a victim of violent crime, you may be eligible for benefits. Please read the following information carefully before filling out the Crime Victims’ Compensation application form.
Basic Qualification Requirements
- The crime must occur in Texas to a Texas resident or a United States resident, or
- the crime must involve a Texas resident who becomes a victim in another state or country that does not have crime victims’ compensation benefits for which the victim would be eligible.
Reporting the Crime
The crime must be reported to the appropriate 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.
Filing for Compensation (TCCP, Art.56.37.)
You must file the application within three years from the date of the crime. The time may be extended for good cause, including the age of the victim or the physical or mental incapacity of the victim.
Cooperation (TCCP, Art.56.45.)
A claim may be denied or reduced if the claimant or victim has not cooperated with the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Who May Qualify (TCCP, Art.56.32.)
- An innocent victim of crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm or death
- an authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim
- a person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim
- a dependent of a victim
- an immediate family member or household members related by blood or marriage who require psychiatric care or counseling as a result of the crime
- an intervenor who goes to the aid of the victim or a peace officer
- a peace officer, fire fighter, or individual whose employment includes the duty of protecting the public
What Crimes Are Covered (TCCP, Art.56.32.(4))
Crimes involving “criminally injurious conduct,” which is defined as conduct that occurs or is attempted, poses a substantial threat of personal injury or death and is, or would be, punishable by fine, imprisonment or death. This includes sex offenses, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, assaultive offenses, arson, homicide and other violent crimes in which the victim suffers physical or emotional harm or death.
The following motor-vehicle-related crimes are also covered: Failure to Stop and Render Aid, DWI, Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault.
Who Is Not Eligible
Benefits may be reduced or denied if the behavior of the victim contributed to the crime.
Benefits shall be denied if the victim or claimant:
- knowingly or willingly participated in the crime
- is the offender or accomplice of the offender
- was incarcerated in a penal institution at the time of the crime
- knowingly or intentionally submits false or forged information to the attorney general
An award of compensation to the claimant or victim will be denied if it would benefit the offender or an accomplice of the offender.
Note: Every state has a crime victim compensation program.
Every state has a crime victim compensation program.