The Victims Compensation Assistance Program helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of a crime by easing the financial impact placed upon them by the crime.
The best way to file a claim is with the help of an advocate, or you may file a claim yourself online: https://www.dave.pa.gov
To receive financial help from the Victims Compensation Assistance Program, you must:
- Be a victim of a crime that happened in Pennsylvania or a Pennsylvania resident who was injured or killed in a foreign country that does not have compensation program
- Report the crime or file a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) within three days of the crime
- Cooperate with the police, courts and the Victims Compensation Assistance Program
- File the claim for compensation within 2 years of the crime
- Not be involved in illegal activity that may have caused the crime to happen
- Have an out of pocket expense of at least $100 because of the crime
The Victims Compensation Assistance Program will not reimburse you for:
- Pain and suffering
- Stolen or damaged property (except some medical items such as canes, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids or medications).
Which costs may be paid?
Medical: Your crime related hospital, doctor, dentist, ambulance, physical therapy bills, medications, medical supplies and equipment may be eligible for reimbursement. Things you can no longer do for yourself or your family because of crime injuries, such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, mowing, and childcare expenses may be reimbursed. Transportation costs to go for medical care may also be considered for reimbursement.
Counseling: Your counseling/therapy bills if you are the victim, along with certain family members related to you may be considered for reimbursement. These family members include spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and in-laws (including mother, father, and sons, daughters, brothers or sisters in-law). Also includes step-relations. People living with you, your fiancée, or someone responsible for your welfare may be considered for reimbursement. Also, a person who sees a violent crime or finds the body of a murder victim may have their counseling/therapy bills paid.
Loss of Earnings: If you were unable to work because of crime injuries, you may be eligible for reimbursement of your lost pay. If your family members were unable to work because they provided care for you or did things for you such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, mowing, and childcare, etc., their loss of earnings may be reimbursed. Parents, children and the spouse of a murder victim may also apply for loss of earnings because they were unable to work in order to make funeral arrangements or due to mental trauma following the crime.
Loss of Support: You may receive an award for the money you lost because the person who financially supported you or your family was murdered. For example, if a person that was murdered had been court ordered to pay or was paying child support before they were murdered; you may be eligible for a loss of support award for that child.
Stolen Benefit Cash: If your primary source of money comes from one of the following benefits, social security, pension/retirement, disability, or court-ordered child/spousal support, and money was stolen from you in a crime, you may be eligible for reimbursement of up to one month of that benefit.
Relocation: If you were a victim of crime and need to immediately relocate for your safety and health, some moving costs may be reimbursed.
Funeral: In homicide cases, any person who assumes the obligation or who pays for the funeral or burial expenses is eligible to file a claim for reimbursement of those costs. Reimbursement of costs may include burial, funeral service, memorial meal, flowers, burial clothing for the person who died, and other related expenses.
Crime-Scene Cleanup: You may be reimbursed for the costs related to the reasonable and necessary costs of cleaning the crime scene of a private residence. Cleaning means to remove blood or stains, bodily fluids, food, paint or other materials used to deface property or other dirt or debris caused by the processing of the crime scene.
According to pcv.pccd.pa.gov a victim of crime has the following rights:
- To be provided with basic information on available services.
- You will be told about certain significant actions within the justice system pertaining to your case. This includes the granting or denial of bail to an adult offender, the detention or release of a juvenile, the filing of a petition alleging delinquency, and the escape and subsequent apprehension of an adult prior to trial or a juvenile prior to adjudication.
- To be accompanied at all proceedings by a family member, a victim advocate or other support person.
- To give prior comment on the sentencing decision regarding an adult offender or the disposition of a delinquent child.
- To receive help in preparing an oral and/or written victim impact statement detailing the physical, psychological and economic effects of the crime, which will be considered by the courts.
- To be restored as you were before the crime, as much as possible, through restitution and to receive assistance with preparing, submitting and follow-up with a claim for compensation.
- To be notified of an adult offender’s transfer from a state prison to a mental health facility and the discharge, transfer or escape of the adult offender from that facility.
- To receive immediate notice of the release of an adult offender on bail who is incarcerated in a local prison for a violation of a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, or for a personal injury crime committed against the victim protected by the PFA.
- To have property returned that was seized as evidence, but is no longer needed for prosecution.
- To have notice and to provide prior comment on a judicial recommendation that the defendant participate in a motivational boot camp.
- To have notice and provide comment on resentencing decisions regarding an offender.
- To have notice and provide prior comment on prosecutor’s waiver of eligibility requirement of an offender to enter the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive (RRRI) Program.
- To be notified and provide comment if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections requests that the court reconsider an inmate’s sentence, and re-sentence that inmate to the State Intermediate Punishment Program.
- To be present at trials and the execution of an offender.
- To receive notice of the arrest of a defendant for violating a PFA order. To receive notice of the arrest of a defendant for violating a PFA order.