What Can the Crime Victim Compensation Program Do for Me and My Family?
The Division of Victim Compensation provides financial assistance to innocent victims of violent crime and their eligible family members. The goal of the program is to reduce the financial burden of crime by repaying out-of-pocket, crime related expenses not covered by any other source of benefits (insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, disability benefits, Workers' Compensation, etc.).
Who Can Receive Compensation?
Compensation may be awarded to the victim, survivors, dependent(s) of a deceased victim or a person authorized to act on behalf of the victim and/or surviving dependent(s).
What Expenses Are Covered by the Compensation Program?
Benefits and limits vary. The following benefits and limits apply for crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007.
- Medical expenses not covered by other sources, up to $15,000 per claim.
- Transportation costs to obtain medical and/or mental health services that are at least 45 miles one way from the victim/claimant's residence, up to $500 per claim.
- Mental health counseling for the victim/victim's family members, up to $3,500 per claim.
- Lost wages for the victim, up to $600 per week for 52 weeks; not to exceed $20,000 per claim.
- Funeral expenses, up to $6,500 and transportation costs to make arrangements or to attend funeral, up to $800 per claim.
- Lost wages for claimant to make arrangements or to attend funeral, up to $600 per claim for one week.
- Loss of support for dependents of a deceased victim, up to $600 per week for 52 weeks, not to exceed $20,000 per claim.
- Domestic Violence Relocation Assistance, up to $2,000 one time benefit. *To request this benefit, an application and other required documents must be submitted within 30 days from the date of the crime.
- Domestic Violence Temporary Housing Assistance, up to $500 one time benefit. *To request this benefit, an application and other required documents must be submitted within 30 days from the date of the crime.
- Court related travel reimbursement, up to $1,000 per claim.
- Repair/replacement costs for damaged windows, locks doors and/or other security devices for residential dwelling, up to $500 per claim.
- Crime scene cleanup, up to $1,000 per claim. (Homicides only)
- Execution travel, up to $1,000 per claim.
- Maximum Award is $20,000
What Are the Requirements for Compensation?
- The victim must report the crime to law enforcement officials within 72 hours after the crime or show good cause for not reporting.
- Application must be filed within 36 months after the date of the crime. For crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007, the director, for good cause, may extend the time period allowed for filing a claim for an additional period not to exceed 12 months . For crimes occurring before July 1, 2007, the application must be filed within 24 months after the date of the crime.
- In cases of child sexual abuse, the application must be filed within 36 months after the crime was reported or before the child's 21 birthday. *For crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007, the director, for good cause, may extend the time period allowed for filing a claim for an additional period not to exceed 12 months . For crime occurring before July 1, 2007, the application must be filed within 24 months after the crime was reported or before the child's 21 birthday.
- The victim or claimant must fully cooperate with law enforcement investigation and prosecution.
- The victim must not have contributed, provoked or in any way caused the injury or death; in such cases, benefits may be reduced or denied.
Who May be Eligible to Receive Compensation?
Individual must be the victim of a violent crime who has suffered personal injury, death or extreme psychological trauma as a result of the crime. Types of crimes include: assault, homicide, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, domestic violence, stalking, armed robbery, and DUI crashes. For violent crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007, additional types of crime include, injuries or death due to hit-and-runs by leaving the scene, injuries or death due to offender fleeing apprehension by law enforcement, injuries or death as a result of (1) going to the aid of another person or a duly sworn law enforcement officer or (2) while attempting to prevent a crime from occurring.
Those eligible to receive compensation include:
- Dependents of a deceased victim.
- Family members of the victim who incur mental health expenses.
- Persons authorized to act on behalf of the victim or dependents of a deceased victim.
- Persons who have assumed responsibility for funeral expenses.
- A Mississippi resident who is a victim of a violent crime in a foreign country which does not provide crime victim compensation.
Who Cannot Receive Compensation?
- A victim who is engaged in illegal conduct.
- The offender and/or the accomplice to the offender.
- Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident unless the vehicle was used by the offender (1) intentionally as a weapon, (2) in a hit & run, (3) while driving under the influence (DUI), or (4) in an attempt to flee from law enforcement.
- Anyone incarcerated in a penal institution when the crime occurred.
- For crimes occurring prior to July 1, 2007, a victim or claimant who, after filing an application with the program, is convicted of any felony involving the Controlled Substances Act, the use or possession of a weapon, personal injury or attempted personal injury and the conviction becomes known to the program.
- For crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007, a victim or claimant who, after filing an application with the program is convicted of any felony and the conviction becomes known to the program.
- For crimes occurring on or after July 1, 2007, a victim or claimant who has two prior felony convictions.
What Expenses Are Not Covered by the Crime Victim Compensation Program?
- Stolen or damaged property.
- Pain and suffering.
- Attorney fees.
- Expenses paid by an insurance plan, public funds, the offender or other sources.
How Do I Apply for Compensation?
Compensation Application Forms are available here. under FORMS.
Applications are also available from the District Attorney's Office, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child advocacy agencies, survivor of homicide agencies and MADD.
What Happens After I Mail in my Application?
After receiving an application and related documentation, including a complete offense report, the Division of Victim Compensation reviews the information to determine if the victim and/or claimant are eligible for compensation. This process involves verifying all the information presented in the application. A decision about whether the victim or claimant is eligible is usually made within 90 days. If the application is approved, a staff member is then assigned to the case to review expenses incurred as a result of the crime and to determine expense(s) eligibility. Payment of awards may be made directly to the service providers or to the victim/claimant. The victim or claimant is notified in writing of the decision to award or deny the claim.
If I Don't Agree With the Decision, What Can I Do?
If the Division of Victim Compensation makes a decision which the victim or claimant disagrees, the victim or the claimant has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. The victim or claimant must notify the Division of Victim Compensation in writing of the reason for their dissatisfaction and provide additional information in the reconsideration process. If the victim or claimant disagrees with the outcome of the reconsideration, the victim or claimant may request a contested hearing before a hearing officer. If the victim or claimant does not agree with the outcome of the contested hearing, the victim or claimant may appeal to circuit court. Note: Victim/claimant must submit request for reconsideration, contesting hearing or circuit court hearing within a specific time frame.
How Is the Compensation Funded?
The Office of the Attorney General operates the Division of Victim Compensation without tax dollars - the program is 100% offender funded. Revenue for compensation payments and administrative costs is derived from fees/fines imposed on criminals. Funds are generated through (1) mandatory assessments on felonies, misdemeanors and DUI infractions; (2) fees collected from felony offenders on probation and parole and; (3) other assessment fees imposed on convicted felons at the time of sentencing.
Additional sources of revenue for the program are court-ordered restitution, reimbursement through subrogation rights and donations. The Division of Victim Compensation also receives a federal grant, Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The VOCA grant funds are also derived from fees/fines imposed on criminals.