Governor Hochul Announces Increased Financial Assistance for Victims and Survivors of Crime
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that victims and survivors of crime whose essential personal property was stolen, damaged or destroyed during the incident can now receive up to $2,500 to replace items deemed necessary for their health, safety or well-being. Prior to this change, state law capped the reimbursement rate at $500, an amount that did not keep pace with inflation and the rising cost of living. This financial assistance is administered by the state’s Office of Victim Services, which provides an essential safety net to victims and survivors who have no other resources to pay for expenses resulting from the crime.
“The cost of replacing items lost or damaged in a crime can create an unnecessary burden for victims and their families still recovering from a traumatic incident,” Governor Hochul said. “In New York City, we support victims in any way we can, and I’m proud to extend that assistance to take one thing off victims’ and survivors’ plaques and ensure they receive the support they need to help them recover. .”
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said: “Victims of crime often have their entire lives turned upside down in minutes, and the effects of their experience can linger much longer. Increasing these funds and replacing lost necessities will allow these survivors to focus on healing and allaying some of their concerns. . Thank you, Governor Hochul, for your unwavering support to survivors.”
The increased cap applies to any claim filed with the Office of Victim Services on or after October 6, 2022. State regulations that went into effect October 12, 2022 outline property deemed necessary for the well-being of an individual who can be claimed: clothing, such as shoes, costumes and outerwear; bedding; mobile devices or computers; and items necessary for the safe operation of a person’s personal conveyance, such as tires, a child car seat or a motorcycle helmet. Essential personal property claims can also assist in the replacement or repair of items necessary for an individual’s health or safety, including eyeglasses, hearing aids and other medical devices. People deemed eligible cannot receive more than $2,500 in assistance.
In the past decade alone, New York State has dramatically expanded eligibility for reimbursement or compensation for victims who were not physically harmed, a recognition that the emotional effects of a crime can be just as harmful. These changes also help ensure that victims and survivors of crime – and in some cases, their family members – do not face significant financial burdens as a result of their victimization.
In addition to the replacement or repair of essential personal property, the Office of Victim Services compensates and reimburses eligible individuals for medical and counseling costs; funeral and burial expenses; relocation, security system and crime scene clean-up costs; and loss of wages and support, among other aids. This assistance is free for taxpayers. Funding comes from fines, costs, and surcharges paid by certain individuals convicted in state and federal courts.
The Office of Victim Services also supports over 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, such as crisis counselling, advocacy services, emergency shelter, civil legal assistance and resettlement assistance, to victims and their families. The agency also provides financial assistance and reimbursement to eligible crime victims for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, in addition to other forms of support. assistance. Follow the agency on Twitter and Facebook.