The purpose of the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Program is to help eligible victims of crime with some of the expenses needed for medical bills, counseling, time lost from work, or even funeral bills.

Task Force

Basic Qualification Requirements

All terms effective for crimes occurring after September 1, 1995. Crimes before that date may be subject to different terms.

Residency: 

  • The crime must occur in Texas to a Texas resident or a United States resident, or 
  • The crime must involve a Texas resident who becomes a victim in another state that does not have a crime victim compensation program for which the victim would be eligible.

 

Reporting the Crime: 

  • The crime must be reported to a law enforcement agency within 
    72 hours
    after the incident unless the victim is under 18 years of age or there is a good reason why the crime was not reported within this time period.

 

Filing for Compensation: 

  • The application must be filed within a year of the crime unless the victim is under 18 years of age or there is good reason why the application was not submitted within this time period.

 

Cooperation:

  • The victim and/or claimant must cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

 

Who May Qualify ?

  • An innocent victim of a violent crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm or death.
  • A person who legally assumes the obligations or voluntarily pays certain expenses related to the crime on behalf of the victim.
  • Immediate family members needing counseling as a result of the crime against the victim.
  • Household members related to the victim by marriage or blood and requiring counseling as a result of the crime against the victim.

 

What Crimes Are Covered ?

  • Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Assault
  • Homicide
  • Other violent crimes in which the victim is injured and suffers physical or emotional harm or death.

Only the following motor vehicle related crimes are covered:

  • Failure to Stop and Render Aid
  • DWI
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide
  • Aggravated Assault

Who Is Not Eligible ?

  • A victim whose own behavior contributed to the crime. In those cases, benefits may be reduced or denied.

  • A victim or claimant who knowingly and willingly participated in the criminally injurious conduct.

  • A victim or claimant who was engaged in illegal activity at the time of the crime.

  • An offender or an accomplice of the offender.

  • Anyone who was incarcerated in a penal institution when the crime occurred, or who was on probation or parole for a felony involving criminally injurious conduct.

  • Victims of motor vehicle accidents except those listed in "What Crimes are Covered".

 

What Expenses Are Eligible ?

Reimbursement for property damage or loss is not an eligible expense.

Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following only if they are related to the crime:

  • Reasonable medical, prescription, and rehabilitation expenses.

  • Mental health counseling.

  • Funeral expenses.

  • Loss of earnings or support.

  • Child or dependant care to enable a victim, spouse, or surviving spouse of a deceased victim or guardian to continue employment.

  • Reasonable attorney fees for assistance in filing the application and in obtaining benefits, if the claim is approved.

  • Reasonable costs associated with crime scene clean-up.

  • Reasonable replacement costs for clothing or bedding taken as evidence or made unusable as a result of the criminal investigation.

 

Limits On Awards

Total recovery may not exceed $25,000 unless the victim suffered a total and permanent disability.

Victims who suffer a total and permanent disability as a result of their victimization may qualify for an additional $25,000 which may only be used for costs associated with:

 

  • Making a home or car accessible.
  • Providing job training and vocational rehabilitation.
  • Training in the use of special appliances.
  • Home health care.
  • Reimbursement of lost wages.

 

Other Sources

The Crime Victims' Compensation Fund is regarded as "the payer of last resort". It is a secondary source that pays for certain out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime that the victim has no other way to pay. Other sources that have to pay first include:

 

  • HMO/health insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Vacation time, sick leave or other types of leave paid by an employer
  • Workers' compensation benefits
  • Social Security
  • Medicare or Medicaid

The staff at Crime Victims' Compensation will work with victims and claimants to make sure all available resources, including the fund, work in the best interests of the victims.

If, as part of a criminal sentence, the court orders the offender to make restitution to the victim for an expense Crime Victims' Compensation has already paid, the victim may be required to reimburse the Fund.

If the victim or claimant recovers money as a settlement in a civil suit against the offender or a third party, the victim or claimant may have to reimburse the Fund for expenses already paid by the Fund.

 

How To Apply

Every law enforcement agency in Texas is required to provide victims of crime with information about the Crime Victims' Compensation program and an application. Applications are also available from the prosecutor's offices. Their victim assistance coordinators are required to provide assistance to victims who ask for help filling out the form. Hospitals and medical centers may also have the application.

You may also get an application directly from the Crime Victims' Compensation Division of the Office of the Attorney General by calling 1-800-983-9933.

 

Application Review

After receiving an application and related documentation including a complete offense report, the Attorney General's Crime Victims' Compensation Division reviews the information to see if the crime, the victim and/or claimant are eligible for the program. This process involves verifying all the information presented in the application. Witnesses to the crime, law enforcement officers and prosecutors involved in investigating and prosecuting the crime, physicians, counselors, hospitals, and employers may be contacted for additional information. A decision about whether the victim or claimant is eligible is usually made within 45 days. A staff member is then assigned to the case and will work with the victim or claimant to review expenses incurred as a result of the crime and determine which ones are eligible for reimbursement or payment.

 

Your Right To Appeal

 If the Crime Victims' Compensation Division makes a decision in which the victim or claimant disagrees, the victim or claimant has a right under the law to ask that the decision be reconsidered. The victim or claimant must notify the Division of the reason for their dissatisfaction and provide the Division with additional information in this RECONSIDERATION process. If the outcome of the reconsideration process is not satisfactory, the victim or claimant may request a final ruling hearing from the compensation division. If the victim or claimant does not agree with the outcome of the final ruling, an appeal may be made to District Court.

For more information on this program, contact the Sheriff's Department Crime Victim Liaison or:

Office of the Attorney General
Crime Victim's Compensation Division 
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas  78711
1-800-983-9933

 


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