What It Is
Victims of violent crimes may be eligible to receive benefits from the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund. The Crime Victims’ Compensation Act was passed in 1979, effectively creating the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund and the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program. The fund’s main goal is to get victims to participate in the capture and prosecution of criminals, as well as provide monetary compensation for certain expenses, to those who are victims. It is a route for these victims to obtain money they need when it otherwise isn’t possible.
An example could be an automobile accident caused by a drunken driver without insurance. This fund can help alleviate some on the bills that will inevitably fall on the innocent victim. The Office of the Attorney General of Texas is responsible for heading up the program.
How It’s Funded
The program is supported financially from a number of different sources.
- State court costs submitted for felony and misdemeanor convictions
- Parolee supervision fees paid out at $8 a month from each offender. The offender’s parole officers are tasked with collecting these fees.
- Jurors are given the option to donate their daily jury duty reimbursements to the fund.
- When a victim of a crime is awarded money in a civil suit, the Attorney General is obligated to ask them to reimburse the fund for the amount they received. This is labeled as subrogation.
- When it comes to federal convictions, the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) allows the collection of fines, fees and forfeitures.
- Courts may order offenders to repay the fund for payments made to their victims as part of restitution.
General Rules/Important Notes
Before a victim can apply for compensation from this fund, they must first have exhausted all other possible sources of payment, including their health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare if they have it, their car insurance or even Worker’s Compensation if it is offered in their state.
Crimes Covered by the Fund
Generally speaking, any crime that causes or could cause substantial bodily harm or death that is normally punishable by fines, a prison sentence or the death penalty would apply.
- Sexual assault;
- Other violent crimes.
- Vehicular crimes including: aggravated assault, criminally negligent homicide, DWI, intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault, failure to stop and render aid, and manslaughter
Before filling out an application, you need to make sure you qualify and that the expenses you are seeking compensation for are included in the approved lists.
You do NOT qualify if you:
- Knowingly participated in the crime as an accomplice;
- Were incarcerated when the crime was committed;
- Submitted false info to the Attorney General.
You MAY qualify if:
- The crime took place in Texas to a resident of Texas or the US
- The crime took place in another state or country but involved a Texas resident AND this state or country does not offer crime victim compensation benefits.
- The crime must be reported to local law enforcement within a reasonable time period;
Who Qualifies to Receive Funds
Here is a list of those that are eligible for funds pulled from the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website:
- 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;
- someone 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 Expenses Qualify for Reimbursement
One thing to know before starting out is that the statue does NOT reimburse for property damage or losses that are associated with property crimes. Also be aware that those successfully completing a claim can receive funds of $50,000. Those with permanent disability may get another $75,000.
Here is the list of qualifying expenses, again straight from the DPS site:
- medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care;
- psychiatric care or counseling;
- loss of wages due to medical treatment;
- care of a child or a dependent;
- loss of support;
- funeral and burial expenses and;
- 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.
If a victim suffers devastating injuries that leaves them with a complete and permanent disability, the fund has additional allowances for added expenses.
How to Apply
Greg. "What You Need to Know About the Texas Crime Victims' Fund - Baumgartner Law Firm." Baumgartner Law Firm. February 29, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2016. https://baumgartnerlawyers.com/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-texas-crime-victims-fund/.
"Crime Victims' Compensation." Crime Victims. Accessed April 21, 2016. https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cvs/crime-victims-compensation.
"TxDPS - Crime Victims' Compensation." TxDPS - Crime Victims' Compensation. Accessed April 21, 2016. http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/staff_support/victimservices/pages/crimevictimscompensation.htm.