Through the Crime Victim Compensation, Illinois' Attorney General's Office offers up to $27,000 in financial compensation to crime victims and eligible family members.
- Hospital and surgical bills
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Transportation and child care
Some victims may also be eligible to pursue compensation in a different way, by filing a civil lawsuit. Learn more about your rights and options in a free, confidential consultation today.
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The Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program offers up to $27,000 in financial assistance to eligible crime victims and their family members. There is no requirement that an arrest be made in the case before victims become eligible for compensation.
Who Is Eligible For Compensation?
Illinois' compensation fund relies on fines and other criminal penalties levied on convicted offenders. It's designed to provide financial support to innocent victims of crime who have suffered physical injuries due to criminal offenses committed in Illinois, from Chicago to Carbondale. Compensation may also be available for:
- Good Samaritans - people who were injured or killed while attempting to intervene and prevent a crime from occurring
- Witnesses - people who witnessed a crime and suffered psychological or emotional trauma
- Spouses and parents of people who were injured or killed due to violent crime in Illinois
- Minors - people under the age of 18 who are the brother, sister, half brother, half sister, child or stepchild of someone who was killed or injured in Illinois
- Illinois residents injured abroad - people who were injured due to violent crime in countries that do not have their own victims' compensation programs
Through Illinois' Crime Victim Compensation Program, individuals who fall into any one of these categories may be eligible to secure financial support to cover certain crime-related expenses.
Compensation is not available for injury victims who were engaged in wrongful activity at the time of the crime or substantially-provoked the incident that led to their injuries.
Crime victims who were injured while incarcerated or on parole on felony convictions are required to wait before they can file a claim for expense reimbursement. Compensation is not available until your period of probation, parole, mandatory supervised release or incarceration is over.
What Expenses Can Be Reimbursed?
The maximum amount of compensation available to a single applicant, as we've already mentioned, is $27,000. Alongside this general compensation limit, specific caps apply to individual types of reimbursement:
- Medical expenses
- hospital bills
- doctor's appointments
- dental bills
- prescription medications
- insurance co-pays and deductibles
- Mental health and grief counseling
- Transportation to and from medical and mental health counseling appointments
- Home modifications (in the event of victim's disability)
- Lost wages (maximum of $1,250 per month)
- Lost tuition
- Lost financial support (due to family member's death, maximum of $1,250 per month)
- Loss of services (due to family member's death, maximum of $1,250 per month)
- Relocation expenses (if the victim must move for personal safety)
- temporary housing
- moving services and property storage
- security deposit for new apartment
- first month's rent
- Limited property replacement expenses
- hearing aids
- clothing and bedding (if taken as evidence)
- locks and windows (if damaged during commission of crime)
- Crime scene clean-up services
- Funeral and burial expenses (maximum of $7,500)
That's a complete list of the crime-related expenses that Illinois' Crime Victim Compensation Program is set up to reimburse.
Additional Funding Sources
Note, however, that Illinois' fund acts only as a "payer-of-last-resort." It's not the first place you turn to for financial support, but the last.
In other words, Illinois' victims' assistance program only covers expenses that other funding sources are unable, or unwilling, to reimburse you for. These additional funding sources must be exhausted prior to securing compensation through the State. "If any other sources of reimbursement are available," the Illinois Office of the Attorney General writes, "the sources must be used before any Compensation Program payment can be made."
- Health insurance (including dental and vision policy benefits)
- Life insurance
- Auto insurance
- Public benefits (Medicare, Medicaid, workers' comp benefits)
- Court-ordered restitution
- Civil lawsuit settlements or verdicts
- Benefits secured through the Illinois Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act
- Benefits secured through the Illinois Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act
It is your obligation to declare all relevant funding sources in your application to the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program.
Program Requirements & Deadlines
To secure compensation, crime victims in Illinois must comply with the victim assistance program's deadlines.
Reporting Time Limits
Like all state-established compensation funds, Illinois' program is designed with two goals in mind. The first is to provide victims with support in their time of need. The second is to encourage more crime victims to step forward and report incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
In order to receive assistance from Illinois' fund, victims must report the crime within 72 hours or, in the case of sexual assault, within 7 days.
While most victims will notify the police, filing for an Order of Protection, Civil No Contact Order, Stalking No Contact Order or undergoing a forensic rape examination also count as "reporting" a crime for the purposes of the victims' compensation program.
Application Filing Deadlines
Longer deadlines apply to application filing.
You have 2 years from the date of the crime to file your claim for compensation or, in the event that prosecutors file criminal charges, up to 1 year from the date that charges are filed, whichever date comes later.
Cooperation With Law Enforcement
Alongside these general deadlines that you'll have to meet, the Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Program also requires a degree of participation in the criminal justice process. Applicants must cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the suspect.
Again, no arrest, prosecution or conviction is required to secure compensation. Crimes in which no arrest is made are still eligible for reimbursement.
Applying For Financial Assistance
You can apply for compensation through Illinois' Crime Victim Compensation Program by calling the office directly at 1-800-228-3368 or downloading your own application here. Forms in Spanish and Polish are available on this page.
Go through the application slowly and carefully. Complete the form thoroughly to the best of your ability.
It's important to include any documents you have that can substantiate your claims for reimbursement. Send every itemized bill or receipt that you believe is related to your crime-related injuries or your loved one's death, including your hospital and doctor bills. It can also be helpful to include evidence of any insurance approvals or denials to show that you've exhausted other funding sources.
You should also include a copy of the police report or restraining order, to prove that you reported the crime within the appropriate time limit. If you don't have a copy of the report, try to obtain one from the authorities, but don't worry if you're unable to do so. Send your application with all of the documents you have. The Crime Victims Compensation office will contact you to obtain any other documents they need to process your claim.