Crime victims in Alabama may be eligible to secure up to $20,000 in financial reimbursement through the State's Crime Victims' Compensation Commission.
- Crime reporting within 72 hours
- Application filed within 1 year
- Crime-related out-of-pocket expenses
Some victims and families may also be able to pursue justice by filing a civil lawsuit. To learn if you are eligible to seek compensation in a private case, contact our attorneys for a free consultation.
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Through the Crime Victims' Compensation Commission, the State of Alabama provides monetary support to innocent victims of crime, helping victims and their loved ones handle the financial hardships of physical injury and emotional trauma. A maximum of $20,000, per applicant, is available to help in reimbursing your crime-related expenses, including hospital bills, doctor's appointment, mental health counseling and lost wages.
Who Can Alabama's Victim Assistance Program Help?
As in most states, Alabama's crime victim assistance program is open to individuals who suffered physical injuries and / or emotional trauma due to criminally-injurious conduct committed in Alabama.
The program, in the vast majority of cases, is not limited to residents of Alabama. It's open to all US citizens and legal aliens who are eligible for public benefits, so long as the crime occurred in Alabama. In fact, residents of Alabama who are injured due to crimes committed outside the State are generally required to apply for compensation through a similar compensation program offered by the state in which they were injured.
If that state has no similar program, compensation may be available through Alabama's Crime Victims' Compensation Commission, but make sure to check with the Commission or your local District Attorney's Office to ensure your eligibility.
Limits To Eligibility
Compensation is not available for the actual criminal offender or an accomplice of the offender. There's also a restriction on compensation awards that would "unjustly benefit the offender," as, for instance, in cases when the victim and offender live together and the award would in some way pay for some of the offender's living expenses.
Victims who contributed in some way to the crime's commission are also generally not eligible for compensation. Restrictions may also apply to crime victims who, in the past, have caused criminal injuries to others. Applications can be denied if the victim is subsequently convicted of a felony offense after submitting their documentation.
Guidelines, Requirements & Deadlines
To secure reimbursement, victims and eligible family members are required to comply with the Alabama Crime Victims' Compensation Commission's guidelines and time limits.
Filing Time Limits
Claims for compensation must be filed within 1 year of the incident, unless good cause can be shown to explain a delay in filing. Examples of good cause explanations could include the victim's age, mental status or physical inability to complete the application in a timely manner. In any case, the justification for a good cause exemption to the filing deadline must be submitted to Alabama's government in writing.
Crime Reporting & Participation
Alongside the filing deadline, Alabama imposes a requirement for reporting violent crimes in a timely manner. Most state-operated victims' assistance programs are structured to encourage victims to step forward and report crimes to the appropriate authorities. Alabama's system is no different; in order to eligible for compensation, crimes must be reported within 72 hours of their occurrence, though, as in the case of filing an application, good cause exceptions (submitted in writing) are accepted.
Beyond filing and reporting deadlines, Alabama's crime compensation program also requires a degree of participation in the criminal justice process. Applicants must cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the investigation, pursuit, arrest and prosecution of the criminal offender.
The Payer Of Last Resort
The maximum amount of compensation available through Alabama's program is capped at $20,000, as of March 8, 2018. Using fees and fines assessed against convicted criminal offenders, the victims' assistance program can reimburse a victim or family's out-of-pocket crime-related expenses.
Alabama's crime victim compensation program acts as "payer-of-last-resort"; it's the last stop, not the first, in your search for financial support. If you have health insurance, life insurance, disability pay or receive public benefits, these funds must be used to cover your expenses before Alabama will approve your claim. Alabama's Crime Victims' Compensation Commission only begins to pay out after your other funding sources (not including charitable donations) have been exhausted.
Eligible Expenses & Compensation Limits
While Alabama's maximum compensation amount is limited to $20,000 per applicant, there are also limits internal to each type of reimbursed expense. Below, you'll find a list of the eligible expenses that Alabama's program will cover, along with their individual compensation limits. Most of the numbers we've quoted apply solely in cases of violent crime committed on or after October 1, 2014. For further details, read the latest regulations, promulgated by the Alabama Crime Victims' Compensation Commission on March 8, 2018.
- Medical expenses (excluding psychiatric care, mental health counseling and dental treatment) - $15,000 maximum
- hospital bills
- prescription medications
- doctor's appointments
- Lost wages (due to inability to work) - $600 maximum per week; $20,000 maximum total
- Loss of future income - $20,000 maximum (available to injured victims and financial dependents of a victim who died due to violent crime)
- Lost household services - $600 per week; maximum of 52 weeks
- Funeral, cremation and burial expenses - $7,000 maximum
- Moving and temporary relocation expenses - $150 per day; $2,000 maximum total (up to $3,000 may be available in exceptional circumstances)
- Travel expenses - current IRS standard mileage rate, coach airline tickets and $150 per day (available for victims and immediate family members who participate in criminal justice proceedings, along with travel to-and-from necessary medical appointments)
- Property confiscated as evidence and damaged property listed in the police report - $3,000 maximum
- Crime scene clean-up - $2,500 maximum
Payments can be made as a lump sum or in installments, at the discretion of the Commission. Most payments for the reimbursement of medical expenses are paid directly to the medical provider, not the victim. In general, medical providers accept lower-than-market rates (75%) for their services in receiving funds from the Alabama Crime Victims' Compensation Commission.
Filing Your Application
To apply for compensation, download the application form here. Then gather together all of the receipts and bills that you think are related to crime. Make copies of receipts and itemized bills, along with your insurance or benefit statements to include along with your application. You need to substantiate every claimed expense to be eligible for compensation. After you're done with the form, you can send it to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission:
Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission P.O. Box 231267 Montgomery, Alabama 36123-1267
You can also reach out to the Crime Victims Compensation Commission or your local District Attorney's Office for personalized assistance in completing the application.