Crime Victim Compensation
In 1988 Michigan voters amended our constitution to grant rights to victims of crime. They included the right to charge convicted criminal defendants an assessment. This money paid by convicted criminals is used to pay for crime victim services, and payment as a last resort for injured crime victims with unpaid medical bills, loss of earnings or support, burial payments and counseling needs for expenses related to costs they incur due to a physical injury suffered as the result of a crime.
To be eligible, victims cannot be responsible for their injury, must report the crime promptly, must cooperate with the police investigation and show financial hardship. Please understand that law does not provide for reimbursement for loss or damage to property.
Am I eligible for reimbursement, and how do I apply?
To be eligible, you have to have suffered physical injury as the result of a crime, or had funeral expenses incurred as the result of losing an immediate family member to a violent crime. You also have to be facing financial hardship as a result of the crime. By law, an award can only be awarded to victims who have incurred a minimum out-of-pocket loss of $200.00 or lost at least 2 continuous weeks' earnings or support.
The Fund is a payor of last resort. This means that all other possible sources of reimbursement have to be paid before the Fund will reimburse you for costs. Other sources of reimbursement include medical insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, workers compensation, veterans benefits, social security benefits, or any other source that may pay your costs.
A victim can be reimbursed up to $25,000 total. Subject to this cap, lost earnings are reimbursed at up to $350 per week; eligible funeral reimbursement up to $5000; and grief counseling and crime scene clean-up costs up to $500 each. If the costs of the crime are an undue hardship for you, you may be awarded an emergency grant of up to $500 while the rest of the application is pending; the amount of the emergency grant will then be subtracted from any other grant you may receive.
A few tips before seeking reimbursement:
- You cannot have been doing something illegal or dangerous when you were injured. You have to have reported the crime to the police within 48 hours of the crime, or have good cause for not having reported the crime sooner;
- You have to file for reimbursement within 1 year of the crime;
- You don't have to wait for the trial to be over;
- You don't need an attorney to apply;
- You will need to submit copies of your medical or funeral bills; and
- The application form must be fully filled out.
A copy of the application that can be printed off, is available on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' website.
Included is information on who is eligible for reimbursement, what kind of financial assistance is available, your need to report the crime to law enforcement, timelines for filing, what information you need to include with your application, how the process works and how to appeal a claim if it is denied.