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How Long Does It Take to Get Crime Victims Compensation?

How Long Does It Take to Get Crime Victims Compensation?

One of the first questions that crime victims ask is, “How long does it take to get Crime Victims Compensation?” After all, it’s bad enough that you’ve been the victim of a crime—why should you also be sentenced to wait for support?

In this article, we’ll break down what Crime Victims Compensation is and how to apply for it. Of course, we’ll also address how long it takes to get Crime Victims Compensation as well.

What is Crime Victims Compensation?

Being a victim of a crime is a traumatic experience, one that often comes with unexpected expenses. That’s where Crime Victims Compensation Programs step in. These are state-run initiatives designed to provide financial support for victims of violent crimes like assault, domestic violence, and robbery.

The idea is simple: help victims cover costs that they shouldn’t have to bear alone. This can include a wide range of expenses, from medical bills and mental health counseling to lost wages and legal fees. Some programs even cover the cost of crime scene cleanup or temporary housing.

Although these programs are administered by the state level, they are funded by the Federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). These funds are overseen by the Office for Victims of Crime, which falls under the United States Department of Justice.

What does Crime Victims Compensation Cover?

Crime Victims Compensation can cover many many different costs related to your experience. It can be used to help clean up the crime scene, pay your medical expenses, help you relocate and more.

Here are some of the things that may be covered by Crime Victims Compensation:

  • Childcare Expenses: Coverage for childcare costs during court appearances or medical appointments.
  • Crime Scene Cleanup: Financial assistance for cleaning a home or vehicle where the crime occurred.
  • Emergency Expenses: Immediate needs like food, clothing, and temporary shelter.
  • Forensic Exams: Covers the cost of sexual assault forensic examinations.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs: Financial aid for funeral services and burial if the victim has passed away.
  • Legal Fees: Limited coverage for legal expenses related to the crime.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for missed work due to injuries or court appearances.
  • Medical Expenses: Hospital bills, doctor visits, and other necessary medical treatment.
  • Mental Health Services: Costs of psychological counseling and therapy sessions.
  • Relocation Expenses: Costs for moving to a new residence for safety reasons.
  • Replacement Costs: Funds for replacing clothing or other items collected as evidence.
  • Restitution: Assistance in recovering costs not covered by the offender.
  • Temporary Housing: Financial support for temporary accommodation.
  • Transportation Costs: Expenses for travel to and from court or medical appointments.

It’s worth noting that these programs are often considered the “payer of last resort.” This means they usually only cover expenses that other sources, like insurance or restitution, don’t take care of.

However, since this program is administered at the state level, the details may vary by state. The amount of funding and what you can use that funding for may also vary depending on what type of crime you experienced. You can always check with your state’s program for details.

Who is Eligible?

In order to be eligible for Crime Victims Compensation, you need to be the victim of an eligible crime. Eligible crimes typically include assault, domestic violence, robbery, homicide, and sexual assault.

If the crime caused the victim’s death, then immediate family members may be eligible for assistance instead. Family members may be able to receive mental health support, assistance with funeral expenses, and more depending on the circumstances.

In some cases, witnesses of violent crimes may be eligible for assistance as well. For example, those who witnessed a violent crime may need mental health support to process their trauma.

In order to receive help from Crime Victims Compensation, you are generally expected to meet these requirements:

  • You must be a victim, immediate family member or witness of an eligible crime.
  • You must file a claim in the state where the crime took place or the state in which you live.
  • You must file your claim within a specified time frame, often a year.
  • You must cooperate with law enforcement.

Depending on the program, you may be considered ineligible if you contributed to the crime. Some programs may require you to prove financial need as well.

How to Apply

In order to apply, you will need to locate the Crime Victim Compensation Program for your state. You can do this by selecting your state in the drop-down menu on the Office of Justice Programs website.

When the page refreshes, make sure you click on the Victim Compensation Program link! Many states have a separate Victim Assistance Program as well. However, for the purposes of this article, we are focused on the VCP Program.

You will need to follow the instructions on your state government website to complete your application.

How long does it take to get Crime Victims Compensation?

Now, of course, here’s the question that everyone wants to know the answer to. How long does it take to get Crime Victims Compensation after you apply?

Unfortunately, it can take several weeks for the program to process your application. In fact, it often takes up to two months.

However, some states offer an emergency fund that can disburse money to you before your application is fully processed. Those procedures and programs vary by state, though.

The reason it takes so long is because the program administrators must thoroughly review all of the documentation to ensure that you are eligible. They also need to review the details of your case. It can take 30-60 days for them to make a decision on your application.

If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision within a certain amount of time. That time is usually around 30 days. If you receive a denial, I recommend contacting a free Legal Aid resource for assistance.


The Crime Victims Compensation Program provides financial assistance and support to people who have experienced certain crimes, such as assault or domestic violence. The funds from this program can be used to help you find safe housing, cover legal fees, make up for lost wages and more. Every state has a CVC Program, so make sure to apply if you are the victim of a crime!

The Low Income Relief Team has over 10 years of experience exclusively researching low income topics. Because we focus on keeping our content as up-to-date as possible, our articles are regularly revised by different authors. When an article has significant contributions from at least two different authors, we use the designation "Low Income Relief Team." Articles attributed to this author may also include some contributions by AI tools. However, every article written by the Low Income Relief Team is personally reviewed by our founder and resident poverty expert prior to publication.