Updated on by
SCARS|RSN™ Guide: Financial Assistance & Crime Victim Compensation
For U.S.A. Crime Victims ONLY – Canada Has Similar Programs – International Residents Check With Your Own Country To See What Crime Victims’ Assistance Is Available
Yes! There Is Financial Assistance Available!
SCARS is a registered Crime Victims’ Assistance & Support Organization and a member of VictimConnect a service of the National Center for Victims of Crime of the United States Department of Justice.
Every state has a crime victim or criminal injuries compensation program to help pay some of the out-of-pocket expenses for victims of crime. Most programs are limited to victims of violent crimes, but some programs will also pay the counseling costs for victims of major financial crimes. Every state sets limits on the overall amount that can be paid to a victim and on the amount paid for each type of expense. Victim compensation only pays where there is no insurance coverage or some other type of payment available.
What expenses does Crime Victim Compensation cover?
- Medical or dental costs
- Lost wages
- Funeral or burial expenses in cases of homicide (this may include suicide resulting from a crime)
- Property loss – this includes the money you sent to the scammer
- Pain and suffering
While this does not cover the money you lost to a scammer, it will cover the counseling and medical costs they help you recover after the scam. While SCARS offers support programs, many victims need more immediate and direct one-on-one therapy to recover. These programs can cover these expenses, which can be significant especially if you are uninsured.
What are the requirements to be eligible for Crime Victims Compensation?
- Report the crime to police within a certain amount of time following the crime (do you see why we emphasize that reporting to your local police is SO IMPORTANT!)
- Cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the case (this requirement will probably be non-existent in the case of scams)
- File a compensation claim within a certain amount of time
- Have no responsibility for the crime being committed (this would probably exclude MULES) (Note that it does cover victims of fraud in most cases – so how you characterize it matters)
- In cases of suicide or in certain other cases, family members of the victim may be eligible for counseling or other benefits.
What Can You do?
- File a Claim – Victims and survivors may file a claim in the state where the crime occurred (where you live). Some states also provide compensation to their residents even if the crime occurred in another state or outside the country.
- Use an Advocate for Support – You may find it helpful to have the assistance of a local crime victim advocate (something to ask your local police about) to help you through the process of filing a claim. Advocates are often available in the county prosecutor’s office or in the offices of local victim support service providers (ask your local police about this).
- Look for Other Means of Emergency Assistance – Victims Compensation is not a source of immediate or emergency funding. Look to local social service agencies or churches if you are in need of crisis funding.