New York Expands Eligibility for Certain Crime Victims to Receive Compensation

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York adopted a legislation that expands eligibility for certain crime victims to receive compensation effective on October 17.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the changes demonstrate state’s continued commitment to helping the vulnerable and crime victims.  He added that it is important to ensure crime victims receive the support they need to recover and restore a normal life.

Crime victims not physically can now request compensation

Under the legislation, the state will compensate victims of hate crimes and other offenses that were not physically injured. It also covers vulnerable elderly or disabled individuals incapable of taking care of themselves. These crime victims can request for compensation from Office of Victims Services if they lost up to $30,000 in savings.

The office of Victims Services will compensate eligible victims and their family members for expenses incurred because of crime. These include medical and counseling bills, funeral and burial costs, lost wages and support, and other assistance.

Prior to the legislative change, the eligibility for compensation only covers victims who suffered physical injuries with some exceptions. Generally, the exception involves crimes related to domestic violence.

Before, there is an age requirement for vulnerable elderly—at least 60 years old.

The legislative change also allows disabled individuals and the elderly to recoup up to $30,000 in saving. Previously, the Office of Victims Services can only reimburse victims to this amount for loss of support or earnings. Additionally, New York law has age requirement for vulnerable elderly: at least 60 years old.

New York provides help to crime victims as long as necessary

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “Crime victims don’t need to suffer from a physical injury to be scarred from their ordeal. This legislative change will allow us to extend assistance to an even greater number of innocent crime victims so they can start their journey toward recovery.”

The funding for compensation to crime victims and daily operations of the agency comes from fines and mandatory surcharges. It also comes from crime victim assistance fees paid by offenders following conviction in New York State or federal courts.

In 2016, the Office of Victim Services provided total of $22 million financial assistance to crime victims and their families. New York is the only U.S. state that has no cap on counselling or medical services.  Crime victims and their families in New York will receive help as long as it is necessary.