Providing up to $25,000 in financial compensation, Missouri's Crime Victim's Compensation Program may be able to help victims and their families deal with financial burdens.
- Medical expenses and doctor's appointments
- Mental health counseling
- Lost wages and lost earnings
Eligible victims and families may also have the right to seek financial compensation in a civil lawsuit. Find more on your legal options in a free consultation with our dedicated attorneys today.
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Missouri's Crime Victims' Compensation Program represents a vital safety net for victims and their loved ones in the wake of violent crime. Administered by the Missouri Department of Public Safety, the program is a trust fund, financed through fines assessed against criminal offenders, that offers up to $25,000 in emergency reimbursement for crime-related expenses.
While the program covers only out-of-pocket losses incurred as a direct result of violent crime, it remains an important stop-gap against bankruptcy for thousands of people who are injured in Missouri every year.
Financial Assistance In The Wake Of Violent Crime
Missouri's financial assistance program is designed for victims of violent crime who have suffered physical and / or psychological injuries in Missouri. It's open both to Missouri residents and residents of other states who were harmed by crime within Missouri.
However, victims who reside outside Missouri can only be compensated through the use of federal funds; like all other crime victims compensation programs, Missouri's fund receives grants through the federal Victims of Crime Act.
"Compensation for nonresident victims shall terminate when federal funds for that purpose are no longer available," according to Missouri State law. State funds, of course, are open to Missouri residents who suffer injuries due to crime, including residents who were injured by crime in state that do not have their own victims' assistance programs.
Who Can Submit A Claim?
Eligible applicants can receive up to a maximum of $25,000 in reimbursement for their medical expenses, mental health counseling sessions and lost wages.
Some family members may also be able to secure compensation through Missouri's program. In the event of a loved one's death, for example, surviving family members are able to submit claims for their burial, cremation and funeral expenses.
And for many financial dependents who have lost support due to a loved one's victimization, damages to cover the loss in financial support may be available. Reimbursement for mental health counseling is also generally available to loved ones, including the relatives of sexual assault victims.
Eligible Crime-Related Expenses & Exceptions
As we've already noted, eligible victims and families may be able to secure up to $25,000 in reimbursement for their crime-related expenses. But Missouri's program only covers a fraction of the damages you may have sustained due to crime. The fund does not offer reimbursement for lost or damaged property. Nor does it cover pain and suffering, a form of financial damages only available by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Other exclusions include:
- Crime scene clean-up
- Relocation expenses
- Living expenses - house payments, rent, utilities, food, clothing
- Tuition reimbursement
In general, the program is designed to offer compensation for medical and counseling expenses. In line with this goal, there is no maximum limit for medical expense reimbursement besides the general $25,000 cap imposed on each applicant's claim. Other expense types, on the other hand, are limited by Missouri State law:
- Lost wages - $400 per week maximum
- Funeral, cremation and burial expenses - $5,000 maximum
- Mental health and / or grief counseling - $2,500 maximum
- Personal property seized as evidence - $250 maximum
Collateral Sources Of Funding
Like all other crime victim compensation funds, Missouri's program acts as a "payer of last resort." Claims will only be paid on out-of-pocket expenses that other sources of funding can't, or won't, cover. Thus, medical expenses can only be reimbursed after your health insurance policies have been exhausted. That's true for life insurance, civil lawsuit proceeds and all other sources of funding that may be available to you. The Missouri Crime Victims' Compensation Program only approves claims after other relevant funding sources have run out, including:
- Health insurance
- Auto insurance
- Disability insurance
- Workers' compensation benefits
- Public benefits, like Medicaid or Medicare
- Paid sick time or annual leave
- Court-ordered restitution
- Personal injury settlements or judgments
Applicants must prove, in their application, that these collateral sources have been exhausted. It's a good idea to include copies of insurance statements (both approval and denial letters), along with settlements documents and all other relevant information to substantiate the claim.
Application Requirements & Time Limits
To secure compensation, victims and their loved ones must comply with a number of requirements and deadlines. In regard to deadlines, there are two major time limits you should be aware of:
- Reporting The Crime - Crimes must be reported to law enforcement officials within 48 hours of the incident, unless the victim can provide a good cause explanation for delay (including temporary residence in a domestic violence shelter). Victims under the age of 18 have 48 hours from the time of the crime's discovery.
- Filing Your Application - Victims must file their application for compensation within 2 years of the crime. Victims under the age of 18 have 2 years from the date of the crime's discovery.
In the event that a suspect is identified, applicants are required to cooperate with law enforcement in their attempts to arrest and prosecute the alleged offender. Claims can be dismissed without compensation for non-cooperation. Compensation can also denied if the Missouri Department of Public Safety considers it likely that the criminal offender would benefit in some way from the award.
Starting The Claims Process
To submit an application, you can download a paper copy here. Go through the application slowly; complete it as thoroughly as you can, printing in ink. Now gather your substantiating documents.
To begin with, you'll need to submit a copy of the victim's birth certificate, or another document proving legal residency. If you're filing on behalf of someone else, you'll also need to include a copy of your birth certificate or proof of legal residency, along with the victim's birth certificate.
Next, you'll want to prepare copies of any medical or counseling bills that you would like to submit. Itemized receipts are always best. To secure compensation for lost wages, you'll want to include copies of the last three paychecks you earned before the crime or, if you're self-employed, the last two federal tax returns you filed before the crime. Families who are applying for funeral benefits should submit a copy of the victim's death certificate, funeral bills and any funeral-related receipts that you've already paid. After all that, you'll have to get the application notarized, then send it to:
Crime Victims' Compensation Program P.O. Box 1589 Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-1589
The Department of Public Safety will review your application, confirm the crime by contacting law enforcement officials and may reach out to you for additional documentation.