LAWRENCE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Restitution and Victim Compensation
What is the difference between restitution and compensation?
Victims may be eligible for compensation and restitution to help return them to the status they were in before the crime was committed against them. Typically compensation is awarded first, through a fund run by the State. Restitution, if any, takes longer for victims to receive since the defendant must be found guilty of the crime and sentenced before restitution proceedings begin. While restitution can be recovered for all losses suffered by the victim, compensation coversonly a select number of expenses listed below.
WHO CAN GET IT?
Be a victim of a crime that happened in Pennsylvania or a Pennsylvania resident who was injured or killed in a foreign country that does not have a compensation program, and
Report the crime or file a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) within three days of the crime, and
Cooperate with the police, courts and the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP), and
File the claim for compensation within 2 years of the crime, and
Not be involved in illegal activity that may have caused the crime to happen, and
Have an out of pocket expense of at least $100 because of the crime (if you are less than 60 years old).
There are some exceptions to the above requirements (especially if the victim is younger than 18 years old.)
WHAT DOES IT PAY FOR?
It may pay for money you paid or have to pay for:
medical bills (hospital, physician, dentist, ambulance, physical therapy, mental health counseling, home healthcare, medications, medical supplies & equipment, replacement of stolen or damaged medical devices, medical devices needed as result of crime injury, replacement services (i.e. housekeeping, meal preparation, administration of medication, etc.), and child care)up to $35,000.
transportation to medical treatment, counseling and pharmacies
lost work earnings
loss of support
the costs to cleanup a crime-scene.
It does not pay for things you had broken or stolen in the crime, unless they were medical things. The Victimís Compensation Assistance Program will not reimburse you for pain and suffering.
HOW DO I GET IT?
You must file a claim with VCAP at the address below or online athttps://www.dave.state.pa.us/daveprod/dave/onln8010.asp
Victimís Compensation Assistance Program
Office of Victimsí Services
P.O. Box 1167
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1167
(800) 233-2339 or (717) 783-5153
The Victim Witness Coordinator can also help you file for compensation. You will want to keep all bills and receipts you have because of the crime. These will help you get compensation. Please note that any available insurance must first be utilized before compensation can be considered.
WHEN WILL I GET IT?
It usually takes less than three months.
WHO CAN GET IT?
Crime victims who were hurt or had property stolen or broken during a crime.
WHAT DOES IT PAY FOR?
It pays for bills from the doctor, dentist or counseling. It can also pay for medicine, funeral costs or things which were broken or stolen during the crime.
HOW DO IT GET IT?
Contact the Lawrence County DAís Office if the crime took place in Lawrence County. You will want to keep all bills and receipts for things you have to pay for because of the crime. This will help you get restitution.
Please understand that in most cases, restitution WILL NOT BE PAID IN A LUMP SUM BY THE DEFENDANT. Generally, restitution is paid in very small amounts ---sometimes in amounts as low as .50 cents per payment. The payment of restitution can be sporadic; and it is dependent on the Defendantís employment/financial status. Usually, restitution is paid over a period of time to theAdult Probation Office. The Adult Probation Office will then forward the money to you as that office receives the payments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can I file for restitution and compensation at the same time?
Yes. You will not be paid twice for the same thing. If compensation pays you first, then the defendant will pay back the compensation program. If you receive money from compensation and then restitution, you must pay back the program.
Where does the money come from?
The money paid to victims by compensation is from fines that every criminal in Pennsylvania must pay. While it is a government program, the money paid to victims does not come from the government or taxes.
Can I be repaid if the person who committed the crime is not arrested or found guilty?
You cannot receive restitution, but you may be eligible to receive compensation. A judge must order restitution while you may file for compensation anytime after a crime.
Can I get paid for my pain and suffering?
Only through a civil suit against the person who did the crime. You cannot get this paid by restitution or compensation.
A police officer told me I could receive assistance from a fund in Harrisburg, is that true?
Yes, the fund the officer likely was referring to is the Victimís Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) but it is limited to the expenses listed above.
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