Planning a funeral can be stressful, especially if the death was unexpected. One day the person is ‘as healthy as an Ox’ and the next they have been taken from you as a result of crime. Deaths that result from any variation of homicide may qualify you or your family for Crime Victim Assistance and Compensation. The loss of income, the cost of the funeral, and even the expenses for counseling may be covered if you qualify for the crime victims assistance and compensation program.
What is crime victims assistance and compensation?
Crime Victims Assistance programs help victims and their families after they have been effected by a crime. The assistance the victims and/or their families may receive range from compensation for funeral expenses to relocation expenses. State commission offices offer to help families file their claims for crime victim assistance for free. The National Center for Victims of Crime describes crime victim compensation as 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.”
What is the purpose of crime victim assistance?
The purpose of crime victims assistance is to help ease the financial burden placed on a family that has resulted from a crime, and in the case of death, help cover the unexepected funeral or burial expenses.
Who is eligible for crime victim assistance?
Victims of rape, assault, child sexual abuse, drunk driving, and domestic violence, as well as the families of homicide victims may be eligible for crime victim assistance.
Where does the money that funds crime victim assistance come from?
A majority of the money that funds crime victims assistance programs comes from the offenders. Although, about 35% of the money comes from federal grants and funding.
What does crime victim assistance pay for?
Crime victim compensation programs will generally pay for:
- Medical and dental expenses
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Counseling expenses
- Loss of support
- Relocation expenses
- Crime-scene clean-up
- Money stolen or defrauded from individuals on a fixed income, such as Social Security or a pension
How to obtain financial assistance for/ as a crime victim?
Every state has a crime victims compensation program in place. Although the benefits vary from state to state the criteria for eligibility is consistent.
According to the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards, “Generally, the victim must (a) report the crime promptly to law enforcement, and cooperate with police and prosecutors (many states allow exceptions to this requirement, particularly for child victims); (b) submit a timely victim compensation application (again, some exceptions may be possible); (c) have a cost or loss not covered by insurance or another government benefit program (victim compensation programs pay only after other collateral sources are used); and (d) not have committed a criminal act or some substantially wrongful act that caused or contributed to the crime (the eligibility of family members generally depends on the behavior of the victim when programs assess this requirement). Apprehension or conviction of the offender is not required.”
How to find a complete list of resources for crime victim compensation by state?
See the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards website for a full list of websites of state crime victim compensation programs.
For more information on crime victim assistance visit the following websites:
- The National Center for Victims of Crime
- PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency
- National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards
For more information on Paying for a Funeral funeral planning and resources to guide you through planning a funeral, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.