Through its Crime Victim Compensation Program, Iowa offers victims and eligible family members a range of financial reimbursements for crime-related expenses.

  • Direct crime victims with physical and / or psychological injuries
  • Family members of homicide victims
  • Injured "Good Samaritans"

Certain victims may also be able to pursue financial compensation through civil court, by filing a private injury lawsuit. To find more information on your legal rights, call our experienced lawyers today.

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Iowa's Crime Victim Compensation Program provides limited compensation to help victims of crime and their families cover certain covered out-of-pocket expenses. When all of your other funding sources are exhausted, you can apply to Iowa's Office of the Attorney General for the reimbursement of your crime-related expenses, including medical bills, mental health counseling and lost income.

Victims' Compensation Eligibility In Iowa

In Iowa, victims' compensation is available both to direct victims, people who were physically or emotionally injured due to a violent crime, and family members who lost a loved one to homicide. Compensation is available for Good Samaritans, who are injured while attempting to stop a crime from being committed or apprehend a criminal suspect.

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Generally, compensation is not offered to people who contributed to their crime-related injuries through their own conduct. The compensation fund, in most cases, is for innocent victims of crime and certain of their family members.

Requirements, Deadlines & Time Limits

To secure compensation, most victims will be required to comply with the Crime Victim Compensation Program's deadlines. Applications for financial reimbursement must be submitted to the office within 2 years of the crime or the date of your loved one's death.

Reporting The Crime

An additional reporting time limit is intended to encourage victims to come forward with their stories. Crimes must be reported to a local police department or the county sheriff's department within 72 hours, or 3 days, of the incident.

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An exception may be applied for "good cause," including "the victim's age, physical condition, psychological state, cultural or linguistic barriers, and any compelling health or safety reasons that jeopardize the well-being of the victim," Iowa's Legislative Services Agency writes.

Reporting Exceptions For Child Victims & Dependent Adults

Then, there's a general, but narrow, exception for child victims (under the age of 18) or mentally-incompetent adults who have been sexually abused or victimized during a forcible felony:

  • felony child endangerment
  • felony assault
  • felony murder
  • felony sexual abuse
  • felony kidnapping
  • felony robbery
  • first degree arson
  • first degree burglary

When one of these crimes was committed against a minor victim (or mentally-incompetent adult) by someone responsible for the victim's care, the victim doesn't have to report the crime to the police. Instead, the crime can be reported to the Department of Human Services.

All Other Funding Sources Must Be Exhausted

Like all state compensation programs, Iowa's fund operates as a "payer of last resort." The program acts as the last stop in covering your crime-related expenses.

The Crime Victim Compensation Program only provides reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses, the bills that remain after all of your insurance policies, disability benefits or civil lawsuit proceeds run out. In applying for the program, you'll need to include documentation on these additional funding sources.

No Maximum Award, But Individual Expense Limits

Iowa is one of the only states, along with New York, that does not impose a maximum limit for crime victim compensation. Most states restrict the total amount of reimbursement a victim or family can receive, but Iowa doesn't.

Eligible Expenses

That being said, the State does apply separate limits to each type of expense covered by the program:

  • Medical expenses - $25,000 maximum
    • Doctor's appointments
    • Prescription medicines
    • Hospital bills
    • Health insurance co-pays and deductible
  • Health care expenses for the spouse, child, foster child, stepchild, child-in-law, parent, foster parent, stepparent, sibling, foster sibling, stepsibling, sibling-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, first cousin, legal ward or living partner of a homicide victim - $3,000 maximum per survivor
  • Mental health counseling - $5,000 maximum
  • Mental health counseling for family members and loved ones after a victim's death - $5,000 maximum
  • Mental health counseling for individuals who witness a violent crime - $2,000 maximum
  • Lost income - $6,000 maximum
  • Lost income due to participation in the criminal justice process - $1,000 maximum
  • Child care expenses incurred due to participation in the criminal justice process - $1,000 maximum per dependent
  • Lost income due to caring for a child crime victim - $1,000 maximum per parent or caregiver
  • Lost financial support (for financial dependents when the victim dies or experiences a period of disability) - $4,000 maximum per dependent
  • Clothing confiscated as evidence - $200 maximum
  • Crime scene clean-up - $1,000 maximum
  • Replacing broken locks, windows or other residential security measures - $500 maximum
  • Transportation to-and-from medical appointments, counseling sessions, funeral services or criminal justice proceedings - $1,000 maximum
  • Funeral and burial expenses - $7,500 maximum

The Crime Victim Compensation Program is funded through fines assessed against convicted criminal offenders, along with wages garnished from inmates employed by private sector companies.

To apply for compensation, you can now submit your claim through Iowa's online portal here. You can also download paper copies of the application in Spanish and English at this page.

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