How the California Victim Compensation Program Works

How the California Victim Compensation Program Works

The level of trauma suffered by a crime victim is directly related to the seriousness of the crime. However, make no mistake that the lingering effects of a crime on a victim can last years, decades, even a lifetime. Physical, emotional, and financial trauma come together to form the perfect storm that can have a severe negative impact on personal and professional relationships.

Fortunately, the State of California runs a program called the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) to help crime victims recover the costs associated with a crime. The program is considered a last resort for crime victims that cannot get compensation from other sources.

Overview of California Victim Compensation Fund

CalVCP represents a state-managed safety net program that provides crime victims with the financial resources they need to address the negative impacts of a crime. The compensation program also helps the relatives of crime victims.

Here are primary expenses that are covered by CalVCP:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Cost of relocation
  • Lost wages
  • Mental health counseling
  • Job retraining
  • Home security equipment
  • Home and/or vehicle changes for disabled victims

Some crime victims decide to relocate in an attempt to put the nightmare of a crime behind them. Crime victims in California can also file a civil lawsuit to recover monetary damages, as well as apply for victim restitution from the California criminal court system. Restitution requires the conviction of the person who committed the crime.

CalVCP does not cover personal property losses that include cash. The program also does not pay out the costs associated with pain and suffering. Crime victims should try to recover the costs associated with pain and suffering by filing a civil lawsuit.

Eligibility Requirements

Crime victims that received injuries or received threats of violence qualify for financial assistance under CalVCB. Dependents of crime victims that need financial support also are eligible for financial assistance. Other qualified classes include witnesses of a crime and anyone that must receive mental health treatment.

Here are some other factors that qualify Californians for financial assistance under CalVCP:

  • Police report verifying a crime took place
  • Application filed within three years of the date when the crime happened
  • Applicant cooperated with law enforcement by providing evidence and a witness account of the crime
  • An applicant cannot be in jail, in prison, on parole, or on felony probation at the time of the crime

How to File an Application with CalVCB

Applicants that need help filing a CalVCP application should get in touch with the SJC Victim Witness Program at (209) 468-2500 to schedule an appointment. Be advised that during the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews take place over the phone. You can log into the CalVCB website to submit an application. Crime victims that want to request an application should call 1-800-777-9229.

The more convincing evidence you submit with your application, the more likely CalVCP will approve your claim. Evidence to include with your application includes copies of medical bills, as well as a copy of the police report. CalVCP works with Medi-Cal, insurance companies, and workers’ compensation carriers to help eligible crime victims get their medical bills paid.

Crime victims also need to lean on the professional expertise of a team of victim rights advocates to have a chance of overcoming physical and emotional distress. As a former federal prosecutor, Michael L. Fell has assembled a highly supportive team of victim rights advocates to help crime victims recover from a crime. Call Michael today at 949-585-9055 or submit the online form to schedule a meeting.