Are there funds available to help Victims of Crime?

Did you know you can seek assistance from a crime victims fund? That’s hopeful news for trauma victims and their loved ones faced with the financial stress that often—and all too soon—troubles those in charge of picking up the pieces. Insurance may pay for health care costs, property replacement, and the crime scene cleaning, but deductibles can add up and not everything lost or damaged might be covered. Family and friends can only help so much, which is why there are government funds to help pay for the aftermath of crime.

The Federal Crime Victims Fund

Crime Victim's FundCreated under the 1984 Victim of Crimes Act (VOCA), the Federal Crime Victims Fund channels money from fees and penalties paid by federally-convicted criminals, and from charitable donations. There are more than six billion dollars in the Fund for the sole purpose of easing crime victims’ financial burdens, distributed through state government agencies.


Who qualifies for the Federal Victims Fund?

Those who may be eligible for this victim compensation funding program include assault, rape, domestic violence, drunk driving, and child abuse survivors. Next-of-kin and legal guardians are also eligible for financial aid if the victim is deceased or a minor.  Victims of emotional injury including PTSD are also eligible for assistance. Here are the questions most crime victims ask:

How much money can I receive as a victim of crime?

A check from the Crime Victim's FundThe Federal Crime Victims Fund distributes funding through state programs, so funding limits vary. We generally see $25,000 as the average maximum payout.

It’s important to understand that this program only issues funds when the applicant has already exhausted other coverage avenues (called “collateral sources”), including property insurance, private health insurance, disability, Medicaid, and Medicare.

Who receives the money, and what will the funds cover?

Funding is sent directly to qualified and approved applicants to compensate them for non-medical or expenses not covered by auto or property insurance policies. This may include loss of wages during recovery or caregiving. Compensation for unpaid medical expenses not covered by health or disability insurance or workers’ compensation is sent directly to the care provider.

Each state has the final say in which expenses the victim compensation program will cover, but property loss (other than prescribed medical devices and mobility aids) is generally not covered. While many states will help pay the costs for crime scene cleanup, property damage is usually not covered. In most cases, the funds are available to offset or pay for funeral and burial costs.

How do I apply for Crime Victims Fund compensation?

Before you consider any financial aid or insurance compensation, make sure you’re keeping receipts and records of all your expenses. During this difficult time it can easily slip through the cracks, but  a journal of time spent looking after a loved one during their recovery should be kept as well. In most cases, you are required to file a police report within 72 hours and submit a copy with your application. Be sure to keep a second copy of the report with your records.

Victims apply for federal funding through state crime victim compensation programs. You can find a comprehensive list of state support here, and if you or a loved one is a victim of a crime directly affecting a number of people (a mass shooting, bombing, or hostage situation) you can find news of special emergency victim aid programs through the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Fund’s managing agency.

Additional Sources for Crime Victim Compensation

Many large cities or counties offer crime victim compensation funded by fees collected from locally-convicted criminals and other from other fines and penalties. Contact your city or county attorney’s office for more information. If no public funds are available at the local level, they may help you identify other funding opportunities through churches, civic groups, and private foundations.

So can we. At Crime Scene Clean Up, we understand the emotional and financial strain our customers experience, and we can help connect you with programs near you for assistance. We also work directly with auto and property insurance companies for faster processing and lower out-of-pocket costs. Please contact us today if you’re in need of crime scene cleanup.