Oregon's crime victim compensation fund provides eligible victims and family members up to $47,000 in reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, including medical care and lost wages.
- Vital lifeline for victims
- Covers expenses that are not reimbursed through other sources
- Strict filing deadlines
Filing a civil lawsuit may also be possible. To find more on your legal options, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.
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Through its Crime Victims' Services office, the State of Oregon offers limited financial compensation to thousands of residents who suffer injuries or lose a loved one due to crime every year. Designed as a last resort, Oregon's Crime Victims' Compensation Program provides financial reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as the result of crime. The fund is financed through fines and fees levied on convicted criminal offenders.
Who Is Eligible For Victim Compensation In Oregon?
In the vast majority of cases, compensation is available to any crime victim who was injured due to a crime committed in Oregon. Financial support may also be available to Oregon residents who were injured abroad due to terrorist attacks.
Oregon residents who are injured in another state should contact the crime victims' compensation program operated by the state in which they were injured. If that state has no similar program, Oregon's fund may cover your eligible out-of-pocket expenses, but restrictions do apply.
Compensation is not available for victims or families who were injured due to accidents. Injuries that resulted from the victim's own conduct aren't covered, either. Oregon's crime victim compensation program applies only to crimes occurring after the fund came into effect, in January 1978. Victims who were incarcerated at the time of the crime are able to apply, but your compensation award will probably be deferred until your period of incarceration is over.
How Are Reimbursement Awards Calculated?
The Oregon Crime Victims' Compensation Program offers compensation on an individual basis, though no applicant can receive more than $47,000 total. To secure financial assistance, you or your loved one will be required to submit a claim form, detailing the financial losses you have incurred due to the crime. Each of these expenses should be substantiated with extra documentation, like itemized receipts, bills and insurance acceptance or denial letters.
It's a good idea to gather your documents before completing the application, but don't worry if you can't find a specific bill right now. You can submit your application with incomplete information to get the process started, but expect the Crime Victims' Compensation Program to contact you for further documentation in the future.
Covered Crime-Related Expenses
Oregon's program doesn't cover lost or damaged property, even if your personal property was damaged or stolen during the commission of a violent crime. And, along with the $47,000 compensation maximum, each type of expense is also limited by a cap:
- Medical care from licensed health professionals - $20,000 maximum
- Hospital bills
- Doctor's appointments
- Prescription drugs
- Insurance co-pays and deductible
- Rehabilitation expenses - $4,000 maximum
- $400 per week in lost earnings or financial support - $20,000 maximum
- the victim must have been gainfully employed at the time of the crime to be eligible for lost wages or lost financial support
- Counseling for a child who witnessed domestic violence - $10,000 maximum
- Counseling for family members of an Oregon resident who was the victim of international terrorism - $1,000 maximum
- Counseling for friends or acquaintances who were the first to discover a deceased victim's body - $500 maximum
- Counseling expenses due to the abuse of a corpse - $5,000 maximum
- Funeral and burial expenses - $5,000 maximum
- Grief counseling - $20,000 maximum
- for survivors of a deceased crime victim only
An additional $5,000 for counseling expenses and $3,000 for travel and housing may be available when criminal cases extend into post-conviction proceedings.
How To Apply
To apply for compensation, you can visit the Oregon Department of Justice's online portal to get started. Alternatively, you can fill out a paper application and submit it through the mail, but you'll have to contact your local District Attorney's office to get the form, which isn't available online.
You can submit a single application including all of your claimed expenses or apply for reimbursement on each individual expense in separate claims. The Crime Victims' Compensation Program pays out after a service has been performed, not before.
Note, however, that sessions with a mental health professional require prior authorization. Before you see a therapist or psychiatrist, submit an application for the service to the Crime Victims' Compensation Program. The fund will not cover unauthorized mental health sessions.
Deadlines For Filing A Claim
Applications for the reimbursement of medical expenses must be submitted within 1 year of the service's provision. Victims who already have medical insurance must see a health professional within their insurer's network. Bills from out-of-network physicians will not be covered by Oregon's compensation program.
Time Limits For Spending Your Award
Unlike most states, Oregon also has a deadline for when you have to use your compensation.
Adults who were victimized by crime are required to use their claim award within 3 years of the claim's acceptance. Family members who secure compensation due to a loved one's crime-related death must use their funds within 5 years of the claim's acceptance. Victims who were children at the time of the crime have until their 21st birthday, or 3 years after their claim's acceptance, whichever date comes later.
The Last Resort For Crime Compensation
Oregon's victim compensation program acts as a "payer of last resort." Before applying to the program for reimbursement, you are required by state law to use other available funding sources:
- private health insurance
- public insurance obtained through the Oregon Health Authority
- car insurance
- life insurance
- disability benefits
- sick pay from your employer
The Crime Victims' Compensation Program kicks in after all of these other funding sources are exhausted. In your application, you will need to submit insurance documents to prove that you have exhausted your other resources.
How Long Does It Take?
It can take a while for Oregon's Crime Victims' Compensation Program to process claims and issue awards. The office of Crime Victims' Services says that most applicants should be hear back about their petition within 90 days, or 3 months, after filing.