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
Preconditions for Eligibility
Your claim must be filed within five (5) years from the date of the personal injury or death, or after five (5) 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 should cooperate with reasonable requests of 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 may delay the processing of your claim.
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.
Who is not Eligible?
- An offender or an accomplice of the offender
- 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
Crimes for which Compensation is Available
The Office 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
- Disorderly Conduct
- Threats to do bodily harm
- Lewd, indecent or obscene acts
- Indecent acts with children
- 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
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
- Funeral allowances of up to $7,500
- Loss of prescription eyeglasses
- Crime Scene Cleanup of up to $4,000
- Relocation expenses of up to $3,000
- Emergency financial assistance of up to $7,500
- For crimes committed after June 26, 1995, if you are at least 60 years old or determined to be disabled and meet financial guidelines, you may be eligible for reimbursement for up to $1,000 in stolen cash resulting from the assault and robbery.
The Office will pay legal fees only if it awards compensation. Attorneys are limited to receiving fees that are set by statute and by the Office.
Moneys from Other Sources
The Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) 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
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 Board does not compensate.
How to Apply?
VCCO applications and instructions are available online* or 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 973-648-2107 or 877-658-2221 for assistance.
To obtain benefits, you must file a completed claim form and comply with Board 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.
*The VCCO Application form is downloadable as a Portable Document Format file (PDF). PDF documents appear the same as the original printed forms. To view and print these forms, you must have a PDF viewer which is available free here.
Processing Your 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 theOffice’s requests as quickly as possible.
If additional information comes to the Office’s attention which requires the Office 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.
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 before the Office. At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to submit proofs in support of your position.
The Office does not require that you appear at formal hearings with an attorney. You have the right, however, to be represented before the Office 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 Office’s legal counsel and the Office’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 Office 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 Office does not assign or provide attorneys for you, but will be able to refer you for assistance. For further information, please contact the Office’s Victim Counseling Service at 201-648-2535.
For frequently asked questions about hearings, see Hearing Guidelines.
Right to Appeal
If, after the hearing, you are not in agreement with the Office’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.
Victim Counseling Services
The Victim Counseling Service provides referral services for 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.
The psychological needs of immediate family members of crime victims may also be met.
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.