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FAQ: How does victims compensation work?

Posted April 16, 2014

Who is eligible to receive compensation?

  • The victim
  • A dependent of a deceased victim
  • A person who is authorized to act on behalf of a victim or dependent.
  • A third person who provided benefits to the victim or his/her family other than in the course or scope of his employment, business or profession.

Who is not eligible?

  • The offender
  • A victim who is participating in criminal activity or contributory misconduct.
  • A victim who is a prisoner in any state, county or city prison, correctional, youth services or juvenile facility, or local confinement facility, or halfway house, group home or similar facility.

What expenses can be covered?

  • Medical expenses (i.e. doctors, hospitals, lab tests, ambulance, therapy)
  • Counseling
  • Loss of wages
  • Funeral expenses – maximum of $5,000
  • Prosthetics
  • Eyeglasses
  • Dental work
  • Wheelchair ramp/widening of doors
  • Hospital bed
  • Crime scene cleanup such as door or window locks, car interiors (cleaning of blood)

How much does the program pay out?

Victims can get up to $30,000 for medical care, counseling, rehabilitation, medically-related property and other remedial treatment and care of a victim. It will be limited to 66 2/3 percent of the amount usually charged by the provider for the treatment or care.

By accepting the compensation paid as allowable expense, the provider agrees that the compensation is payment in full for the treatment or care and will not charge or otherwise hold a claimant financially responsible for the cost of services in addition to the amount of allowable expense.

Benefits are paid directly to service providers with the exception of out-of-pocket expenses paid by victim or claimant.

Victims' family members can get up to $5,000 for funeral, cremation and burial expenses, including transportation of the victim's body. Flowers, gravestones or other items not directly related to the funeral service will not be covered.

The program also does not compensate victims for damaged or stolen property or for pain and suffering.

MAP: 2012-13 CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION

These maps show payments made to crime victims by county for the 2012-13 federal fiscal year. The first map shows overall payments broken down by county. The second map takes each county's population into account and shows payments per 100 people. The color white represents counties that received no payments, either because victims did not apply for financial help or were turned down for various reasons. The darker green colors represent counties that received more money. Click on the counties to learn more.

How is the victims compensation program funded?

The program receives an annual appropriation from the North Carolina State Legislature and federal reimbursement of 60 percent of state dollars paid out the prior year. The N.C. Adult Correction, through Prison canteens and Prison Enterprises, also provides a small portion of the program's funding.

What reasons can people be denied compensation?

By law, an award of compensation will be denied if:

1) The claimant fails to file an application for an award within two years after the date of the criminally injurious conduct that caused the injury or death for which the claimant seeks the award;

2) The economic loss is incurred after one year from the date of the criminally injurious conduct that caused the injury or death for which the victim seeks the award, except in the case where the victim for whom compensation is sought was 10 years old or younger at the time the injury occurred. In that case an award of compensation will be denied if the economic loss is incurred after two years from the date of the criminally injurious conduct that caused the injury or death for which the victim seeks the award;

3) The criminally injurious conduct was not reported to a law enforcement officer or agency within 72 hours of its occurrence, and there was no good cause for the delay;

4) The award would benefit the offender or the offender's accomplice, unless a determination is made that the interests of justice require that an award be approved in a particular case;

5) The criminally injurious conduct occurred while the victim was confined in any State, county, or city prison, correctional, youth services, or juvenile facility, or local confinement facility, or half-way house, group home, or similar facility; or

6) The victim was participating in a felony at or about the time that the victim's injury occurred.

A claim may be denied or an award of compensation may be reduced if:

1) The victim was participating in a non-traffic misdemeanor at or about the time that the victim's injury occurred; or

2) The claimant or a victim through whom the claimant claims engaged in contributory misconduct.

North Carolina is a payer of last resort. What does that mean?

It means the state will pay for losses not covered by other sources, including, but not limited to:

  • Health insurance
  • Auto or disability insurance
  • Public funds, such as Medicaid
  • Workers compensation
  • Restitution paid by an offender

How does the application process work?

Applications are initially screened by an intake clerk to make sure they are signed and notarized. Copies of itemized medical bills and a copy of the law enforcement report should also be attached to the application in order to continue the process and be assigned to a caseworker. Caseworkers conduct a thorough investigation to determine eligibility of the applicant.

In order to process a claim, it must include the following:

  • Signed and notarized application
  • Copy of the law enforcement report
  • At least one itemized medical bill (all bills have to be itemized)

A funeral claim must include the following:

  • Signed and notarized application
  • Copy of the law enforcement report
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • The itemized funeral bill

What other information do I have to provide to apply for financial help?

1) The name and address of the victim, the name and address of the claimant and the relationship of the claimant to the victim

2) If the victim is dead, the name and address of each dependent of the victim and the extent to which each is dependent upon the victim for care and support

3) The nature of the victim's injuries and the date it happened

4) The law enforcement agency or officer who took the victim's report and the date it was reported

5) The nature and extent of the injuries that the victim sustained, the name and address of any person who gave medical treatment to the victim for the injuries, the name and address of any hospital or similar institution where the victim received medical treatment for the injuries and whether the victim died as a result of the injuries

6) The total amount of the economic loss that the victim, a dependent or the claimant sustained as a result of the injuries

7) The amount of benefits or advantages that the victim, a dependent or other claimant has received or is entitled to receive from any collateral source for economic loss that resulted from the injuries and the name of each collateral source

8) Whether the claimant is the spouse, parent, child, brother or sister of the offender or is similarly related to an accomplice of the offender who committed the crime

9) A release authorizing the Commission and the Commission's staff to obtain any report, document or information that relates to the determination of the claim for an award of compensation

10) Any additional relevant information that the Commission may require. The Commission may require the claimant to submit, with the application, materials to substantiate the facts that are stated in the application

How are the claims investigated?

Every claim filed will be investigated to determine that a crime was committed that resulted in physical injury or death and that the victim did not contribute to his or her injuries or sustain the injuries while engaged in illegal activity.

The crime must have been reported to law enforcement within 72 hours, unless good cause is shown and the victim (or the victim's legal representative) cooperated with all law enforcement agencies. Verification will be made that all requirements for receipt of an award have been or are being met.

If a false claim is deliberately filed the claimant will be subject to prosecution, the claim will be denied, and the claimant will have to repay any money awarded.

What are my rights as a victim?

The North Carolina Crime Victims' Rights Act details what rights you have.

Who is on the Crime Victims Compensation Commission, and how are they selected?

The commission consists of seven members who are all appointed and serve four-year terms. They meet four times a year in Raleigh, and their meetings are open to the public.

1) Commissioner Lorrie Dollar, appointed by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety
2) Chairman Dick Adams, appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate
3) Charlie Holland, appointed  by the Governor
4) Tammy West, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives
5) Caroline Farmer, appointed by the Attorney General's designee
6) Angela Hight, appointed by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety
7) Michele Corbin, appointed by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Victims Compensation Services
4232 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4703
1-800-826-6200 (in North Carolina) or 919-733-7974

Source: N.C. Department of Public Safety

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