|What is Crime Victims' Compensation?||Top
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 administered by the Office of the Attorney General and is dedicated to ensuring that crime victims receive every possible assistance.
The Crime Victims' Compensation Program is "the payer of last resort" 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 the 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:||Top
Be a United States resident with the crime occurring in Texas or a Texas resident who becomes a victim in a state or country without a compensation program; United States citizenship not required.
Report the crime to a law enforcement agency within a reasonable time, but not so late as to interfere with or hamper the investigation and prosecution of crime.
File the application within three years of the date of the crime
|Who may qualify?||Top
An innocent victim of crime who suffers substantial threat or physical and / or emotional harm or death.
A dependant of a victim.
An authorized individual acting on behalf of the victim.
An intervener 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 to blood or marriage who require counseling as a result of the crime.
A peace officer, fire fighter or individual who has a duty to protect the public and is injured in a crime.
|Who is not eligible?||Top
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?||Top
Crimes covered by the 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, intoxicated manslaughter and intoxication assault.
|What type of financial assistance is available? ||Top
Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. In the case of catastrophic injuries 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 of family violence or a victim of sexual assault who is assaulted in the victim's place of residence.
Loss of earnings or support.
Loss of wages and travel reimbursement due to participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecution and judicial process.
Care of a child or dependant.
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 Crimes Victims' Compensation application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved.
Loss of wages and travel to seek treatment or counseling.
Additional benefits for victims who have suffered a catastrophic injury 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 medical equipment.
Reimbursement for property damage or theft is not an eligible expense.
|How do I apply?||Top
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 coordinator or liaison, who can provide assistance in completing the application. (For Precinct 5 Constable's Office contact Deputy Mark Richie or Sergeant Marilyn Rucker at 281-578-2513.) 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 1-800-983-9933. Professional staff at the division are also available to answer any questions and provide assistance in completing the application.
|What are my rights to appeal when benefits have been reduced or denied? ||Top
If the Crime Victims' Compensation Program makes a decision with which the victim or claimant disagrees, he or she has the right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. In order to appeal the decision, the victim or the claimant must notify Crime Victims' Compensation in writing within 60 days, stating the reason for dissatisfaction. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, the victim or claimant has 60 days to request a final ruling hearing from the Crime Victims' Compensation Program. Should the victim or the claimant not agree with the outcome of the hearing, he or she may file an appeal with the district court within 40 days of the final ruling.