Victims Assistance Fund In Massachusetts

Victims Assistance Fund In Massachusetts2018-11-09T15:19:20+00:00
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The Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Program helps victims and their loved ones recover by providing up to $25,000 in reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Medical bills
  • Emotional counseling
  • Crime scene clean-up

Eligible victims may also be able to pursue a wider range of compensation by filing a private lawsuit. Learn more in a free consultation today.

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The Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Program offers up to $25,000 in financial reimbursement to help victims and their loved ones cover out-of-pocket expenses. Operated by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the victims' assistance fund provides compensation to innocent victims and eligible family members for crime-related bills, including medical treatments, mental health counseling and lost wages.

Securing Crime Victim Compensation In Massachusetts

The Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Program offers financial reimbursement to innocent victims who were injured due to crimes committed in Massachusetts, along with financial dependents and family members who survive homicide victims. Compensation is not limited to Massachusetts residents; in fact, residents of the State who were injured by crime in other states should turn to the compensation program operated by the state in which the crime occurred.

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The Payer-Of-Last-Resort

As in every other state, Massachusetts' victims compensation fund acts as a payer-of-last-resort, covering only expenses that some other funding source is unable to reimburse. Prior to claiming compensation through the Victims of Violent Crime Compensation fund, victims and families are required to pursue reimbursement through their health insurance policies and applicable government benefit programs.

Collateral Funding Sources

In processing your application, the Victim Compensation & Assistance Division of the Attorney General's Office will review the collateral funding sources that are available to you (or the crime victim, if you are applying on someone else's behalf). Claims that can be covered by a separate source of funding will be reduced or denied in proportion to the reimbursement you've already received. Collateral funding sources that the compensation program will consider include:

  • Health insurance (the compensation program can help with co-pays and deductibles)
  • Life insurance policies
  • Auto insurance policies
  • Federal and state benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid
  • Social Security
  • Disability benefits
  • Workers' compensation
  • Court-ordered restitution
  • Civil lawsuit proceeds

Massachusetts' Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Program steps in after these other sources of funding have been exhausted, helping you to cover crime-related expenses that are truly out-of-pocket.

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Eligible Crimes Under Massachusetts Law

In general, the victim compensation program was designed to provide compensation for expenses that have been incurred due to violent crime, offenses in which physical injury is either caused or threatened. Below, you'll find a list of examples, but note that our list is far from exhaustive and compensation may be available for victims of other crimes:

  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Child physical abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Child pornography
  • Human trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • DUI / DWI car accidents
  • Hit-and-run accidents
  • Terrorism
  • Arson

In submitting your application, you will need to include a copy of the police report that was generated when you reported the crime. If you're unable to locate a police report, you can describe the crime and your resulting injuries in more detail in a separate statement attached to the form.

Crime-Related Expenses

The Victim Compensation & Assistance Division can help victims and their loved ones cover a wide range of expenses, up to a maximum limit of $25,000 in compensation (per crime, not per applicant). Reimbursement may be available for:

  • Medical expenses
    • Hospital bills
    • Surgical bills
    • Doctor's appointments
    • Prescription drugs
    • Dental treatments
    • Assistive equipment
  • Mental health counseling for:
    • direct crime victims
    • family members of homicide victims
    • child witnesses of violence against a family member
    • parents of a child victim
  • Lost wages (limited to direct victims)
  • Replacement bedding and clothing (if seized as evidence)
  • Crime scene clean-up
  • Replacement security equipment (e.g. locks, broken windows)
  • Lost financial support (for dependents of a homicide victim)
  • Lost household support ("homemaker expenses")
  • Funeral, burial and / or cremation expenses

Every claim you make, no matter type, should be substantiated with itemized bills and receipts. Before completing your claim, gather any bill or receipt that you think is connected to the crime and include it along with your application.

Massachusetts' victim assistance program does not offer reimbursement for lost, stolen or damaged property. Pain and suffering damages are not considered compensable under the State's program; those forms of harm can only be compensated through a private civil lawsuit, either against the criminal offender or a third-party whose negligence allowed the crime to occur.

5-Day Reporting Deadline, 3-Year Application Limit

In order to secure compensation, applicants must comply with a set of requirements and deadlines. Compensation can be denied to victims who fail to cooperate with law enforcement officials in their efforts to identify, arrest and prosecute criminal suspects, unless cooperation would be unreasonable for some reason.

Beyond the goal of providing compensation to victims and their loved ones, Massachusetts' victim compensation fund was created to encourage more victims to step forward and report crimes. To be eligible for reimbursement, crimes must be reported to the police within 5 days of their occurrence. "Good cause" exceptions can be applied to waive the reporting deadline, granting child victims, victims of domestic violence and others more time to file a report.

Applications must be filed within 3 years of the crime, but child victims, who were injured before reaching the age of 18, have until their 21st birthday to submit a claim.

Starting Your Application

To begin your application, you can download the form here. Remember to collect all of your substantiating documents and include them along with your application. Fill out the form completely; leaving important areas blank will only prolong a decision in your claim.

Once you've finished, you can send the application and your supporting documentation to:

Office of Attorney General Victim Compensation & Assistance Division 1 Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108

Claims generally take months to process. On its website, the Attorney General's Office says that a decision (either approval or denial) will be made within 4 to 6 months.

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