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National Crime Victim Law Institute

How can I get financial help to cover costs that I had to pay that were caused by the crime?

April 15, 2010

Crime victim compensation is money paid by the government to assist victims of crime for many of their un-reimbursed out-of-pocket costs resulting from the commission of a violent crime. Compensation is different from restitution, which is money from the offender that a court may order a defendant to pay at the end of a criminal trial if defendant is found guilty of the crime.


Every state in the country offers crime victim compensation benefits. Each state has its own eligibility requirements. Some of the most common requirements for eligibility are that a victim must:

  • Promptly report the crime to law enforcement;

  • Cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the crime;

  • Be innocent of any of the criminal activity or misconduct that led to the injury or death; and

  • File a timely application with the compensation program in the state where the crime occurred.

Examples of expenses that may be covered include:

  • Medical and hospital care, and dental work to repair injury to teeth;

  • Mental health counseling;

  • Lost earnings due to crime-related injuries;

  • Loss of support for dependents of a deceased victim; and/or

  • Funeral and burial expenses.

For more information about crime victim compensation, and to find the contact information for you state crime victim compensation board, please visit NCVLI’s victim resource map.