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Victim Compensation

 

UPDATED: March 30, 2011

                                                                                                                                

 

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What is the Crime Victim Compensation Fund?

The Michigan Crime Victim Compensation Fund was established to provide financial help to crime victims who suffer personal injury (bodily harm) or lose earnings or support because of the crime. Our Victim Assistance Coordinator will be able to help with any questions you might have.


What compensation may be awarded?

The actual amount of compensation, if any, depends upon the facts of each case. Do not try to decide for yourself whether you are eligible. If you have any doubt, file a claim and the Board will decide. Compensation to crime victims is limited in many ways, including:

  • maximum total dollars --- $15,000
  • maximum funeral expenses --- $2,000 --- including up to $500 in grief counseling for the spouse, children, parents or siblings of the person who died
  • up to $200.00 for each week of lost earnings or lost support (in the case of a death)
  • 26 hours of psychological counseling for the injured person, at up to $80/hour for a licensed therapist or up to $90/hour for a licensed psychologist or physician
  • losses resulting from an injury or death are awarded only if a person has no insurance or public assistance available
  • victim must have suffered a serious financial hardship

The actual amount of compensation, if any, depends upon the facts of each case. Do not try to decide for yourself whether you are eligible. If you have any doubt, file a claim and the Commission will decide.

NOTE: The minimum loss requirements will be waived for persons retired by reason of age or disability, and for the expense of forensic medical exams for sexual assault victims.


What losses are not covered?

  • personal property loss or damage
  • pain and suffering
  • crime scene clean-up
  • relocation costs, living expenses or the costs of participating in a trial
  • lost earnings by an injured person's family members
  • injuries received while confined in a correctional facility
  • in traffic cases, crime victims' compensation is limited to the unpaid balance on funeral expenses after no-fault insurance pays

NOTE: These losses might be recoverable through court-ordered restitution as part of a convicted perpetrator's criminal sentence, or through the enforcement of a judgment obtained in a civil lawsuit against the wrongdoer.


Where does the money come from?

Money to support the Crime Victim Compensation Fund is paid by criminal defendants convicted in Michigan's courts, plus from some criminal fines in Michigan's federal courts.


Am I a "crime victim"?

The Crime Victim Services Commission will consider you to be a "crime victim" if:

  • you suffered personal physical injury as the direct result of a crime in Michigan,
  • you suffered personal physical injury while trying to help a crime victim,
  • you are a surviving spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister of a person who died as a direct result of a crime,
  • you are a Michigan resident who was injured by crime committed in another state, when that other state does not have a victim compensation program available, or
  • you are a Michigan resident who was injured outside the U.S.A. by an act of international terrorism.


Does the Crime Victim Compensation Fund only apply to "assault" victims?

No.


What conditions apply to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund?

  • the crime must have been reported to the police within 48 hours (unless the Commission finds there was good cause for a longer delay);
  • the crime victim must have cooperated with the investigation and court proceedings against the defendant(s);
  • the crime victim must not have caused the injury or been doing something illegal or dangerous at the time of the injury;
  • the person filing the claim can not be criminally responsible for the crime, be an accomplice, or have contributed to the infliction of the injury;
  • the person filing the claim cannot be an inmate;
  • the crime victim must have a minimum $200 out-of-pocket medical expense and/or a loss of two continuous weeks of earnings or support;
  • the compensation claim must be filed within 1 year of the crime or 1 year of the victim's death (although other time limits apply when a child is a victim of sexual abuse, or when a crime is discovered by a law enforcement agency where the injury was previously determined to be accidental, of unknown origin, or from natural causes);
  • a deceased victim's immediate family member may file a claim in the victim's place;
  • expenses or losses that are covered by personal insurance or that can be paid by another source will not be covered;
  • compensation is limited to medical expenses, funeral costs, counseling, rehabilitation, and loss of earnings or loss of support resulting from an injury which is the direct result of a crime. Property loss is not covered.

 

NOTE: The Prosecuting Attorney does not represent the Crime Victim Services Commission. The Prosecuting Attorney cannot waive any requirement of the law or rules of the Commission.


How do I file a claim?

Obtain and completely fill out an application form. Forms are available from the Crime Victim Services Commission, our office, police or sheriff's departments, and victim assistance agencies. Your claim must be filed with the Commission not later than 1 year after the occurrence of the crime. File the claim by mailing it to:

 

Crime Victim Services Commission
320 South Walnut
Lansing, MI 48913
(517) 373-7373


What do I send?

 

  • a fully completed application;
  • itemized copies of all bills you want to claim. If you need further medical treatment, see if your doctor can give you a written estimate of future expenses;
  • copies of insurance or Medicare benefit statements for all expenses;
  • for lost earnings, copies of recent payroll check stubs and disability statements from your doctor;
  • for burial assistance, a copy of the signed itemized funeral bill;
  • for counseling, ask your therapist for an assessment, treatment plan and itemized bill or estimate;
  • for loss of support, send check stubs or the last tax return of the person who died, and the survivor's social security benefit and life insurance statements.

 

NOTE: DO NOT SUBMIT FALSE INFORMATION! Doing so to get money from the State is a crime. People who get money to which they are not entitled, because of false information, cheat legitimate crime victims from limited monies that the State of Michigan provides for them.


When do I file a claim?

 

  • within one (1) year of the date of the injury;
  • claims for child abuse should be filed within one (1) year of the report to the police, but no later than the child's 19th birthday;
  • within one (1) year of discovering that an injury, originally thought to be accidentally or naturally cause, was caused by criminal conduct;
  • a longer time to file a claim will be allowed after a written request shows good reason (e.g., someone helping the victim did not follow through, a child's injuries were more serious than originally believed, etc.);
  • you do not have to wait until the investigation or trial is over.


Do I need an attorney to file a claim?

Except in unusual circumstances, you do not need an attorney but you always have the right to hire or consult with one. The Commission investigates each claim and is willing to deal directly with you without an attorney. You can hire an attorney at any stage of the process. However, any attorney fee must be paid by you, and Commission rules do not limit the amount that an attorney might charge you.


Is my claim limited because I also have insurance?

Yes. The Commission is the payor of last resort. Payments from insurance or public funds for out-of-pocket expenses, lost earnings or support (except disability or death benefits paid to a peace officer) are primary resources, and must paid and reported to the program before any award for remaining compensation is considered by the Commission. The claimant must repay the State of Michigan out of any later insurance settlement or court-ordered restitution covering a loss reimbursed by the Commission.


What happens after a claim is filed?

Your application will be reviewed by Commission staff for completeness. An incomplete form will be returned to you with a list of the information or additional paperwork that are needed.

Your claim is assigned a claim number. The Commission will notify the Prosecuting Attorney that a claim for compensation is pending. A claim specialist will conduct an investigation to verify the validity of the claim and the extent of any compensable loss. The claimant may be requested to provide documentation if the Commission is otherwise unable to verify the claim.


How long does it take for my claim to be reviewed?

This depends on the accuracy and completeness of your application, and how long it takes to get additional information the Commission needs to investigate.

You will be notified in writing with the record and findings of your claim. If it is approved, the decision will show itemized payments, which will be made within a few days; if you owe money to your medical providers, the Commission will pay the providers.


If my claim is denied, can I appeal?

If your claim is denied, the Commission will notify you in writing, and the legal reasons will be explained. If you are dissatisfied, you have 30 days to appeal the individual Commission member's decision to the full Crime Victim Services Commission. You may request an evidentiary hearing. The decision of the full Commission is final. If still dissatisfied, you may filed a request for leave to appeal with the Court of Appeals within 30 days after the Crime Victim Services Commission's final decision.


Is my application confidential?

A person's papers and testimony before the Commission are private. The Commission may tell only whether a person's claim was approved or denied. Any other information will only be released by a court order.

 


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