The Crime Victims' Compensation Program

In 1981 with the passage of the Crime Victims' Compensation Act, the Crime Victims' Compensation Program was created. The Act established guidelines for eligibility and the provision of financial reimbursement to victims of crime. The process begins with the victim or claimant filling out the claim form and ends with a decision by the Crime Victims Compensation Board or Administrator.

Once the claim is completed and mailed to the Compensation Board, the claim is then forwarded to the appropriate District Attorney's Office Victim Witness Coordinator for processing.

A police report is requested, along with any other forms and reports that may be needed to determine out-of-pocket expenses. After the Victim-Witness Coordinator gathers all necessary information, the completed claim is forwarded back to the Crime Victims' Compensation Program for decision. Claims usually take several months to complete due to all of the documentation that is required.

A primary requirement is that the crime be one in which the victim suffered physical or psychological harm or death as a result of a violent crime. Eligible claimants are the victim, a dependent of a deceased victim, or a person authorized to act on behalf of the victim. Applicants must also meet the following reporting and filing REQUIREMENTS:

  • The crime must have occurred in Oklahoma.

  • The crime must have been reported to law enforcement within 72 hours of the incident. The Board or administrator may find good cause for failure to report within this period. Exceptions are always made for child victims.

  • The claim for compensation must be filed within one (1) year of the crime-related injury of the victim.  The one (1) year deadline may be waived and extended to two (2) years for good cause, and may be extended beyond two (2) years only in child sexual assault cases.  In no event can other claims be extended beyond two (2) years.  

  • The claimant is required to fully cooperate with the police, prosecution and other law enforcement entities during the investigation and prosecution of the offender.

  • Compensation shall not be awarded to a claimant if it would benefit the offender or an accomplice, and the claimant must not have been the offender or accomplice.

  • Compensation that could be awarded to a claimant shall be reduced or denied, depending on the degree of responsibility for the injury or death that is attributable to the victim.

Once all documentation is received by the Board, the claim is assigned to a Claims Examiner. The Claims Examiner reviews the documentation of losses and determines the compensable amount on the claim. Claims with expenses under $10,000.00 are then decided by the Administrator of the program. Claims over $10,000.00 are decided by the three-member Governor appointed Board. Claims are generally placed on a docket for decision within 30 days of receipt of all documentation from the VWC. If additional information is needed, the claim may take longer than 30 days to docket.

The Compensation Fund is the payer of last resort. Expenses that are paid or eligible to be paid from other sources such as: Health Insurance, Medicaid, Workers' Compensation, Medicare, and Indian Health Services may not be compensated. Employer paid leave programs are also considered a collateral source when applying for work loss; and Social Security benefits are a collateral source when applying for loss of support.

Payments are generally made within three weeks of approval. Payments are sent directly to service providers on outstanding balances at a rate of 80%. Medical, dental, and counseling service providers are required by law to write off the remaining 20% if they accept payment from the Crime Victims Compensation Board. Medical, dental, and counseling expenses that the victim is out-of-pocket will be reimbursed at 100%, provided there is documentation of payment and no collateral sources exist.

If an application is denied, the victim or claimant is given a written explanation and instructions on how to exercise their right to appeal.

Michelle King is the Crime Victim’s Compensation Clerk for District 27. She can be reached at 918-431-0778 or Michelle.King@dac.state.ok.us

Facebook  
 
Adair Cherokee Sequoyah Wagoner