Missouri crime victims need to know about the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. It is a government sponsored program that allows crime victims to recover certain out of pocket expenses when there is no other source for financial relief.
Essentially, the program works like this: Missouri collects a fee from each criminal defendant as part of their court costs. This money is earmarked for a special fund that crime victims can access in order to pay specific expenses such as medical costs, counseling fees, funeral bills, and lost wages.
In order to qualify for the fund, crime victims must be the victim of a violent crime and they must have reported the matter to law enforcement within 48 hours (or have a good reason for not doing so). Additionally, they must file their claim with the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund within 2 years of the criminal activity.
The fund is a great program to help assist crime victims. If the victim has no other method of paying their expenses, the fund can be a place of last resort to seek assistance. This can happen when the criminal defendant has no assets to pay restitution or when the victim has no insurance t0 cover the expenses.
Unfortunately, the fund does not allow any recovery for pain and suffering. Further, it has a lost wage cap of $200 per week, and a $5,000 limitation on funeral costs. The overall recovery from the fund for an individual is limited to $25,000.
Crime victims can begin the process by filing a claim. They are allowed to have an attorney assist them with the application, but are not required to do so. If the crime victim feels capable, they can apply directly to the fund themselves. Obviously, the fund has other benefits and restrictions that cannot be fully examined in this single blog post. To learn more, you can contact our office. Also, you can read a Missouri Department of Public Safety brochure on the program by clicking here.