Helping crime victims
Offsetting the cost of crime
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earning
- Loss of support
- Funeral costs
- Travel costs
- Stolen cash
- Crime scene cleanup
- Other costs
On average, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program receives over 8,600 new claims and pays an average $13 million per year on behalf of crime victims.
VCAP is the payer of last resort. VCAP is able to reimburse insurance co-pays; out of network expenses and other out-of-pocket costs. Contact the program for more information. VCAP does not reimburse victims for pain and suffering or for stolen or damaged property (with some exceptions). Also, there are limits to how much money some benefits will provide. The overall maximum award is $35,000.
HOW TO BE COMPENSATED
- The crime must have occured in Pennsylvania;
- The crime must be reported or a Protection
from Abuse Order (PFA), Sexual Violence Protection Order (SVPO), or Protection
from Intimidation Order (PFI) filed within three (3) days;
- The victim must cooperate with the police, courts, and the Victims Compensation Assistance Program;
- The victim must file the claim within two years of the crime;
- The victim must not be involved in illegal activity that cause the crime;
- and the victim must have a minimum loss of at least $100 because of the crime (if you are less than 60 years old). Some exceptions are made for victims younger than 18 years.
For more information, contact a local victim service provider.
Helping victims apply for financial assistance
As a victim service provider, to provide the most benefit to a crime victim filing for compensation, the following tips may assist you:
- Provide assistance by working one-on-one with the victim to help them file the claim;
- Keep up-to-date with compensation through trainings on DAVE, eligible VCAP expenses, and more;
- Use the Victims Compensation Assistance Manual to remember the important information needed by VCAP to process a claim;
- Create checklists so victims know what information is needed from them;
- and provide the victim with an envelope to keep receipts related to the crime for easy reference.
Free forensic medical exams
Pennsylvania law, 18 Pa. C.S. § 11.707, provides that the costs of the forensic rape examination and medications provided as a direct result of a sexual offense shall not be charged to the victim. The victim of a sexual offense does not need to ‘report’ the sexual offense or ‘talk’ to law enforcement in order for the costs to be paid by the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP).
Hospitals or licensed health care providers requesting reimbursement of costs associated with a forensic rape examination must have given the forensic evidence to the police, district attorney’s office or the county children and youth services agency, in order for the payments to be considered. If the evidence was not given to one of those entities, the hospital or licensed health care provider may be responsible for the costs of the forensic rape examination and medications provided.
Counties that have developed coordinating teams and implemented procedures to keep the ‘names’ of victims who have obtained forensic rape examinations anonymous must provide the name, address and date of birth of the victim on the claim form, in addition to the Anonymous Identification Number assigned to the forensic rape kit in order for the VCAP to reimburse the costs. Please submit itemized bills, which include the victim's name showing eligible forensic rape examination costs.
Hospitals or licensed health care providers must:
Inform victims of their choice in selecting Option #1, #2, or #3 on the claim form;
Inform them that they may be billed for services in instances where they have additional expenses beyond the forensic rape examination costs, such as x-rays or other medical treatment not associated with a forensic rape examination.
Inform them that they can submit a standard VCAP claim form, which can be obtained at by calling the VCAP at 800-233-2339.