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2010 VCCO FISCAL SNAPSHOT
 
We have awarded $9,525,434 million* to victims of crimes of which, $4.74 million* was allocated for medical/ dental; $2.5 million* was awarded for economic loss; over $1.2 million was paid for funeral/burial services and $838,976 was paid for counseling. *approximate figures
We received 3,305 new claims and processed an additional 1,795 supplemental claims.
We will be issuing our Annual Report in the near future which will provide more statistical data.

How much help can I get from the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office?

If you qualify, these are some of the expenses that can be paid.

  • Psychological counseling
  • Loss of support or earnings
  • Hospital, physician and physical therapy
  • Nursing care

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How do I qualify for financial help?

If you are a victim or claimant (person filing for a victim or dependents of the victim), you must show that:

  • You are a resident of the State of New Jersey or the crime occurred in this state.
  • You have financial losses as a result of injuries you received as a result of a violent or certain other crimes.
  • The crime was reported to law enforcement within 9 months, if possible and you submitted this application within 3 years from the date of the crime, if possible.
  • You cooperated fully with the police and prosecutor's office. However, eligibility is not dependent upon conviction or prosecution of the offender.
  • You or your immediate family member have incurred, or will incur, medical, counseling, funeral bills lost time from work and/or other losses because of injuries directly resulting from the crime.
  • You cooperated with the VCCO investigator and informed the Office of any change of address.
  • Insurance and other payment sources such as restitution paid by the offender will not cover the bills submitted.
  • You did not contribute to your injuries, provoke the incident, and were not responsible for or participated in the crime that caused your injuries.
  • You do not have any outstanding VCCO assessments imposed for convictions. If you cannot provide proof to the Office that they were paid, the outstanding amount will be deducted from your compensation award.

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What losses are not covered?

  • Property damage or loss, except crime scene cleanup.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Care of child or dependent
  • Funeral expenses up to $5,000
  • Emergency Relocation Costs
  • Attorney fees for assistance in filing a claim and representing you in the appeal process

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How can I get help with this application?

Law enforcement agencies, your County Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy or call the VCCO at 1-877-658-2221.

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If I want to apply now, what should I do?

Read the following instructions and fill out the attached claim application. Also include copies of as much related information (i.e. copies of itemized receipts, bills, insurance statements) as you have. The more information we have now, the sooner your application can be processed. You can send more itemized bills later as you receive them. The VCCO will send you a letter when your application is received. If you have not received a letter after four weeks, please call the VCCO. Keep in touch. If you move or if your phone number changes, please let us know.

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Who is eligible?

A victim of a crime who has sustained personal injury, mental trauma or death a surviving spouse, parent/guardian, child or other relative dependent for support upon a victim of a crime who died as a direct result of such crime, or a person injured while trying to prevent a crime or while assisting a police officer in making an arrest.

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What are the preconditions for eligibility?

Your claim must be filed within three (3) years from the date of the personal injury or death, or after three (3) years if the VCCO determines that good cause existed for the delayed filing. The crime must be reported to the police within nine (9) months after it occurs, or within nine (9) months from the time it was known, or from the time there was reason to believe, that a crime occurred. For incidents prior to June 26, 1995, you must have suffered at least $100 in out-of-pocket medical expenses and/or two weeks continuous loss of earnings or support. There are no minimum loss requirements for incidents occurring on or after June 26, 1995. You must cooperate fully with the police and prosecutor's office; however, eligibility is not dependent upon conviction or prosecution of the offender. Failure to cooperate with the VCCO investigator or failure to inform the VCCO of a change of address will result in a denial of compensation. If you have any VCCO assessments imposed on you by the courts for prior convictions, you must pay them in full before you can receive any compensation. The crime must occur in New Jersey, although you need not be a New Jersey resident; or you must be a New Jersey resident who became a victim in another state or jurisdiction that does not have a crime victim compensation program or has a program which has not provided full compensation for your crime-related losses.

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Who is not eligible?

  • A victim whose behavior contributed to the crime and injuries suffered
  • A victim who was engaged in illegal activity at the time of the crime
  • An offender or an accomplice of the offender
  • Anyone in prison for a crime when the incident occurred
  • A victim of a motor vehicle or boating accident except those listed under Crimes
    for Which Compensation is Available
  • A victim of a motor vehicle or boating incident where the victim knew, or had reason to believe, the vehicle or vessel was being operated by the offender while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics
  • A victim who is a non-resident of New Jersey and the crime incurred in a location other than New Jersey

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What are the crimes for which compensation is available?

The VCCO may order the payment of compensation for personal injury or death which resulted from the commission or attempt to commit any of the following offenses:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Threats to do bodily harm
  • Lewd, indecent or obscene acts
  • Indecent acts with children
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact
  • Any other crime involving violence including domestic violence
  • Burglary (personal property loss or damage will not be compensated)
  • Tampering with a cosmetic, drug or food product
  • Driving a vehicle, commercial or private, or boat while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics
  • Theft of an automobile, eluding a law enforcement officer or unlawful taking of a motor vehicle where injuries to the victim occur in the course of operating the automobile

FOR AN EXPLANATION OF OR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE LISTED CRIMES, PLEASE CONTACT THE VCCO AT 973-648-2107 OR 609-292-8446.

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What compensation benefits are available?

Compensation benefits may be awarded up to a maximum of $25,000 per claim ($10,000 for crimes before December 5, 1982) and may include the following:

  • Medically related expenses
  • Loss of earnings in personal injury cases 
  • Loss of support from the victim for dependents in homicide cases
  • Loss of earnings for surviving spouse whose earning capacity has been reduced in case of victim/spouse's death
  • Loss of support from the offender in domestic violence cases
  • Limited transportation costs
  • Mental health counseling for victim and immediate family members
  • Limited domestic service, child care, day care and after school care costs up to $6,500
  • Funeral allowances of up to $5,000
  • Loss of prescription eyeglasses  
  • Crime Scene Cleanup of up to $3,000
  • Relocation expenses of up to $2,500
  • Emergency financial assistance of up to $1,500, if you are employed and unable to work and face undue hardship as a result of crime-related injuries
  • For crimes committed after June 26, 1995, if you are at least 60 years old or determined to disabled and meet financial guidelines, you may be eligible for reimbursement for up to $200 in stolen cash resulting from the assault and robbery.
  • The VCCO will pay legal fees only if it awards compensation. Attorneys are limited to receiving fees that are set by statute and by the Office. Attorneys who represent victim in the criminal justice system may be eligible to receive up to $1,000 in related legal fees.

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Is the VCCO the primary payer of my crime related expenses?

The Victims of Crime Compensation Office is the payer of last resort. The VCCO will award compensation for the balance of crime-related expenses not reimbursed first from other sources such as medical insurance or disability benefits.

"Source or sources" means a source of benefits or advantages which you have received as reimbursement for medical or economic loss which is available to you from, but not limited to the following sources:

  • Restitution from the offender which is payment made by assailants to their victims, as ordered by the court in a criminal proceeding. It may include compensation for property loss or damage, or for medical expenses. Restitution is now mandatory where the offender has the ability to pay. Please consult your County Victim-Witness Coordinator, in your County Prosecutor's Office.
  • The government or any agency of the United States, the State of New New Jersey or its political subdivisions, or of any two or more states
  • Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
  • State disability insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Employer or Union Local disability programs
  • Insurance payable to the victim for a loss sustained because of the crime
  • A contract providing prepaid hospital and other health care services or benefits for disability
    Moneys received from any civil or related third party actions. However, the first $1000 recovered is not to be included as money received from another source. This applies even though a settlement or any other resolution of the action is worded to recover any economic loss, such as pain and suffering and property loss, which the VCCO does not compensate.

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How do I apply for compensation?

To obtain benefits, you must file a completed claim form and comply with VCCO regulations which are explained in the instructions. You will be asked to submit information to support your application. Where possible and to speed up processing, it would be helpful to submit a copy of a police report and related bills, receipts and insurance statements together with the application. Please send copies only and keep the originals for your own records.

  • VCCO applications are available at every law enforcement agency and medical institution in New Jersey. They are required to and make these applications available.
  • Applications are also available from the 21 county prosecutors' offices through their respective Victim/Witness Coordinator. The Coordinators will assist crime victims in filling out the form.
  • You can also get an application from the VCCO. Please call 201-648-2107 for assistance.

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How does the VCCO process my claim?

Intake Phase: The claim will be processed in the chronological order in which it is received by the Office. Upon receipt of the application, the claim is opened, given a claim number, an acknowledgment of receipt is sent to the applicant, and if needed, additional information is requested. All requests for emergency assistance and counseling are reviewed immediately.

Eligibility Phase: After a police report is received, the Office's eligibility investigators will review all the circumstances surrounding the incident, including, but not limited to, direct discussion with police and prosecutorial personnel, securing trial related information from the courts, and speaking with witnesses. The investigator will provide the Office's commissioners with a recommendation either that the claim is eligible for compensation or to deny compensation because there has been a failure to comply with one of the statute's provisions.

Compensation Phase: Once determined eligible for compensation, your claim enters the compensation phase. The Office's investigator will verify losses by communicating directly with providers of medical services, securing insurance benefit statements, and gathering loss of earnings and disability payment information.

You are required to show a minimum loss of at least $100 unreimbursed medical expenses or two continuous weeks loss of earnings or support. For incidents occurring on or after June 26, 1995, the minimum loss requirement no longer applies. Accordingly, please respond to the Office's requests as quickly as possible.

If additional information comes to the VCCO's attention which requires the VCCO to change its determination of eligibility, you will be notified and you will be given an opportunity to respond to the Office's new decision.

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Do I have a right to appeal a VCCO determination?

If you disagree with any determination of the VCCO, you may request a formal hearing.

Hearing Phase: The investigator may send you a recommendation denying eligibility or may recommend an amount of compensation with which you disagree. You will have twenty (20) days to advise the Office in writing whether you accept the recommendation. You are entitled to a hearing. At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to submit proofs in support of your position.

The VCCO does not require that you appear at formal hearings with an attorney. You have the right, however, to be represented before the VCCO at all stages of proceedings by a New Jersey licensed attorney.

At the hearing you will be called upon to respond to questions from the VCCO's legal counsel and the VCCO's commissioners. You will have the opportunity to make a statement and question witnesses. There may be issues and questions for which legal advice would be beneficial.

If you decide to obtain an attorney, you must notify the VCCO within twenty (20) days of your hearing date. Your attorney must also send a letter to our Legal Department confirming that the attorney is representing you.

The VCCO does not assign or provide attorneys for you, but will be able to refer you for assistance. For further information, please contact the VCCO's legal staff at 973-648-4076.

For frequently asked questions about hearings, see Hearing Guidelines.

If, after the hearing, you are not in agreement with the VCCO's determination, you can appeal the decision directly to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court within forty-five (45) days from the date the Office's order is received.

For further information regarding the procedure for filing an appeal, you may contact the Appellate Division at 609-292-4822.

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What if I am in the need of mental health counseling services?

The VCCO provides referral services for emergency crisis counseling and therapy to victims of violent crime. A listing of statewide resources is used to help victims obtain the services of various agencies, organizations and licensed psychotherapists in the victim's immediate geographic area.

To obtain counseling services you must file a completed claim form and comply with VCCO regulations which are explained in the instructions. To specifically ask for counseling services, check the counseling request box and provide a phone number where you can be reached during our office hours.

You must have a police report or letter from the prosecutor's office describing the incident and highlighting the victim's innocence to be eligible for VCCO authorized mental health counseling. Cooperation with law enforcement officials is also necessary. A compelling health or safety reason for your lack of cooperation may excuse such failure to cooperate.

If you are a minor you must apply for assistance through a parent or guardian. You may apply on your own within two years after reaching the age of eighteen. Parents of minor victims may be eligible for counseling where it helps in child or family therapy.

The psychological needs of immediate family members of crime victims may also be met.

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What if I speak in a language other than English?

The VCCO can arrange for translation services to assist you in processing your claim. Please call ahead for an appointment to ensure the services of a translator. Applications are also available in Spanish.

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What if I am victim of a crime in a place other than New Jersey?

If you are visiting or traveling through another state and are injured as a result of a crime in that state, you may be eligible for victim's compensation in the state where the incident occurred. Each of the 50 states and Washington, DC have a victim compensation program to meet your crime victimization needs.

You must make application for compensation in the state where the injury incurred. If the that state compensation program does not fully compensate you for your out of pocket expenses, you may then file an application with the NJ VCCO for the payment of any crime related expenses incurred which were not paid by the first state's program.

If you are visiting or traveling outside the country and are a victim of a crime, there are a number of countries that have victim compensation programs. The U.S. State Department's Overseas Citizens Services should be contacted immediately at 1-888-407-4747 (Monday-Friday, 8 AM - 8 PM) or 202-647-4000 (after hours and weekends). Their website is Travel Site

If the foreign nation's compensation program does not fully compensate you for your crime related out of pocket expenses or where there is not victim compensation program in that country, you may then file an application with the NJ VCCO for the payment of any crime related expenses incurred which were not paid by the first state's program.

If you are a victim of international terrorism, there is a special victim compensation program now being established by the US Department of Justice, Office of Victim of Crime. Please contact OVC directly at 202-307-5983. However, until such time as the program is established by OVC, the previous paragraph provides the appropriate answer to the question.

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