THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Crime Victims' Compensation:
Reimbursable expenses

Crime doesn't pay, but in Texas, criminals do. Texas courts collect court costs from convicted offenders for the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund.

Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following expenses related to the crime:

  • medical, hospital, physical therapy or nursing care
  • psychiatric care or counseling
  • loss of wages due to medical treatment or participation in, or attendance at, the investigation, prosecutorial and judicial processes
  • care of a child or a dependent
  • loss of support
  • funeral and burial expenses
  • crime scene clean-up
  • replacement costs for clothing, bedding, or property seized as evidence or rendered unusable as a result of the investigation
  • attorney fees for assistance in filing the Crime Victims' Compensation application and in obtaining benefits (TCCP, Art 56.43)
  • loss of wages and travel to seek medical treatment
  • one-time relocation expenses for domestic violence victims or for those sexual assault victims attacked in their own residence

In the case of catastrophic injuries resulting in a total and permanent disability, the victim may be eligible for additional benefits for:

  • making a home or car accessible
  • job training and vocational rehabilitation
  • training in the use of special appliances
  • home health care
  • reimbursement of lost wages

Please note that losses due to property damage, theft or other property crimes are not eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims' Compensation Program.

Coordinating the use of all available resources

State law requires that reimbursement must first be sought from other resources. CVC is a secondary source that pays for certain out-of-pocket expenses the victim would be responsible for as a result of the crime. Any other available resources would have to pay before any payment by the Crime Victims' Compensation program.

Maximum allowable benefits

Claims may be approved for benefits up to a total of $50,000. These funds may be paid to the victim/claimant or to service providers on behalf of the victim.

Medical Expense benefits related to the crime are calculated using statutory guidelines. Benefits may be paid for hospitals, doctors, ambulance services, prescriptions, dental work, nursing homes, and medical appliances such as wheelchairs and prosthetics.

Mental Health Care in the form of outpatient therapy from a licensed provider is available up to a $3,000 maximum. Approved in-patient hospital treatment is available for a maximum of 30 days at a rate of $600 per day. Approved residential treatment is available for $400 per day. Pre-authorization may be required for either benefit.

Lost Wages may be paid to a victim who is unable to work as a result of physical or mental injuries related to the crime. Lost wages may also be awarded when a victim misses time from work to seek medical treatments for crime-related injuries or when the victim and/or claimant takes part in the criminal justice process (other than subpoenaed testimony). The award maximum is $500 per week.

Bereavement Leave is available for crimes occurring on or after September 1, 2003, to immediate family or household members of a deceased victim.

Child/dependent care expenses may be covered as a new expense directly resulting from the crime. Pre-existing child care costs are not reimbursable. For crimes occurring on or after May 8, 2005, child care benefits for dependent(s) of a surviving victim may be limited to a maximum of 90 days. The award is paid at the actual cost of care, not to exceed $100 per week, per dependent or minor child in a licensed day care facility or provider.

Loss of Support benefits are available to dependents of homicide victims. The maximum benefit is $500 per week and is calculated from the victim's salary. Loss of support is also available to dependents of victims (usually in family violence cases) for 90 days.

Funeral and Burial Expenses include reimbursement for professional burial services, flowers, caskets, urns and grave markers. The maximum award for these costs is $4,500. Costs for transporting the body to another state or country are awarded in addition to the $4,500 maximum.

Crime Scene Clean-Up costs must relate to the removal of crime scene elements that may cause further trauma to the victim or family members. The reimbursement is limited to $750.

Evidence Replacement awards may be made for items that have been seized by law enforcement for use in the investigation or prosecution of a case or for items seized and damaged during evidence collection. The maximum award for this expense is $750.

Attorney Fees may be paid for legal services related to the Crime Victims' Compensation process. Attorney fees are paid only if the victim is awarded compensation. Those fees are limited to the lesser of $300 or 25% of awarded benefits. If the claim is appealed, the attorney may be entitled to 25% of the total claim.

Travel Expenses

Claims arising from crimes that occurred on or after September 1, 1997, may be reimbursed for travel expenses. The expenses must be for the following reasons:

  • medically indicated services related to the crime injury
  • attendance at, or participation in scheduled investigative, prosecutorial, judicial, or postconviction events

Mileage is covered for travel of more than 20 miles one way. The actual costs for commercial transportation, food, and lodging are paid for travel of more than 60 miles one way. Additionally, expenses for travel to the funeral or memorial of a victim (who died as a result of criminally injurious conduct committed on or after September 1, 2003) may be paid for certain family or household members.

In order to assist victims or claimants with requests for travel reimbursement related to the crime, a travel form in both English and Spanish are available to print or download. After securing the required signatures on this form, return the form via mail to:

Crime Victim Services Division - CVC Program
Office of the Attorney General - MC011
PO Box 12198
Austin, TX 78711-2198

Catastrophic Injuries and Emergency Awards

Catastrophic Injuries are those that create a total and permanent disability for the victim. An additional award of $25,000 (for crimes occurring before September 1, 1997), $50,000 (for crimes occurring September 1, 1997 to August 31, 2001), or $75,000 (for crimes occurring on or after September 1, 2001) may be used to pay for items that directly assist the victim, such as lost wages, making a home or vehicle accessible, job training and vocational rehabilitation, home health care, or training in the use of special appliances.

Emergency Awards may be requested if a victim or claimant would suffer undue harm or hardship if an award is not expedited. The award limit is $1,500 and is deducted from any future awards.