The Crime Victim Compensation Act was enacted in 1973 and provides financial compensation to innocent victims of violent crime and their families. Eligible victims or their family members receive compensation for certain out-of-pocket expenses, medical/hospital expenses or loss of earnings. There is no compensation for property loss or pain and suffering and the claim must be filed within two years from the date the crime was committed, or within one year of the criminal indictment.
Compensation under this program is a secondary source of compensation. The applicant must first exhaust all other sources reasonably available, including, but not limited to any governmental, medical or health insurance programs.
Important: Under Illinois law, guardianship, not custodial status, establishes standing as a relative.
Beyond eligibility, there are additional requirements that must be satisfied to qualify for the compensation program for violent crime victims in Illinois. Those requirements include:
- The crime must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities within 72 hours or in a timely manner, depending on the circumstances.
- The applicant must cooperate fully with law enforcement.
- The application must be received by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office by the following deadlines:
It must be submitted within two years of the date of the crime, or within one year of the criminal indictment.
A juvenile victim can apply for the compensation within two years after he or she reaches the age of 18, if the parent or guardian did not previously apply.
The application must be submitted within two years of the removal of legal disability status.
How is a claim decided?
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office gathers and evaluates documents given to them by the claimant and other sources. An investigative report is then prepared by the claims analyst and filed with the Court of Claims. The Court of Claims (in Springfield) makes the final decision. The copy of the decision is mailed to the claimant within 15 to 24 months.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office does not administer the compensation fund.
Can the State’s Attorney’s Office assist with these claims?
The State’s Attorney’s Office has victim/witness coordinators available to assist crime victims filing for compensation. They are familiar with the law’s requirements and work closely with the claim staff at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They will forward the applications and the supporting documents to the Attorney General’s Office for processing and follow up for a timely disposition of the case.
What crimes are compensable?
- First & Second Degree Murder
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Reckless Homicide
- Aggravated Kidnapping & Kidnapping
- Aggravated Assault & Assault
- Aggravated Battery & Battery
- Heinous Battery
- Reckless Conduct
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault & Criminal Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse & Criminal Sexual Abuse
- Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault
- Driving Under the Influence including Death or Injury
- Aggravated Arson & Arson
- Child Pornography
- Exploitation of a Child
- Domestic Battery
- Violation of Order of Protection
- Aggravated Stalking & Stalking
- Hate Crime
Also any attempts of these same crimes, i.e. Attempted First Degree Murder, etc.
Who can file a claim?
Any person who is physically injured in the commission of one of the violent crimes listed above; a parent or guardian of a minor victim or a victim under legal disability; a relative of a deceased victim who pays or incurs reasonable funeral and/or medical expenses; and a relative who is a dependant of a deceased victim may file for compensation.
In Illinois, victim compensation may include compensation for:
- Medical expenses, nursing care, counseling by a clinical psychologist or a certified social worker resulting from a physical injury.
- Loss of earnings or support of up to $1,250.00 a month.
- Tuition reimbursement under some circumstances.
- Funeral and burial costs up to $7,500.00.
Total compensation may not exceed $27,000.00
The Illinois Crime Victim Compensation Act will not pay for expenses that were already reimbursed or for those that could have been reimbursed by another source. The program provides a secondary source of compensation, which means that you must exhaust all other benefits reasonably available such as private and public insurance before a claim will be paid.
Exceptions include annuities, pension plans, Social Security benefits payable to dependants of the victim and the first $25,000 of life insurance. There is no compensation under this program for pain and suffering or property damage.
While eligibility for this program is generally determined by the guidelines in this brochure, the final decision as to whether a claim will be paid rests with the Illinois Court of Claims.
- Victim/Witness Program
- Handbook for Victims/Witnesses of Violent Crimes
- Victim Rights
- Witness Assistance
- Crime Victim Compensation Act
- Victim/Witness Contact Information Form
- Links for Victims/Witnesses