Washington’s crime victims compensation program provides financial, medical and mental health benefits to victims of violent crime. The program, administered by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), is a payer of last resort. That means you must use benefits provided by other insurance before L&I can pay benefits.|
Who is eligible for benefits?
To be eligible for crime victims compensation benefits, you must require medical or mental health treatment because of the injuries suffered by a crime. The program does not pay for property losses and is not intended to completely subsidize your current living expenses.
If you were injured in another state and you were a Washington resident at the time of the crime, you must apply for benefits from the state where the crime occurred. If that state rejects your claim, send an application to Washington's crime victims compensation program at:
PO Box 44520,
Olympia, WA 98504-4520.
What are my rights?
You have legal rights under the Crime Victims Act including the right to:
- Apply for medical and mental health, burial, time-loss, pension or survivor benefits.
- Receive written explanation of any action taken on your claim. You also have the right to protest any decision made on your claim.
- Confidentiality of information in your claim.
- Apply for reopening of your claim if the condition of the original injury worsens and requires additional medical or mental health treatment within seven years after the claim is closed. You have 10 years to apply for reopening of the claim if the injury involved an eye.
You will receive a notification letter ("Order and Notice") advising you of a decision made on your claim. If you disagree with the program’s decision, you have 60 days from the time you received the letter to write a protest letter to the crime victims compensation program.
Crime victims compensation will send you a second "Order and Notice" letter either upholding the original decision or reversing it. You have another 60 days to submit a written appeal if you disagree with the second decision.
What are my responsibilities?
You must cooperate with law enforcement officials.
You must report your victimization and injury to a law enforcement or child protective service agency within one year of the date of the crime.
You must file an application for benefits within two years of reporting the crime to a law enforcement or child protective service agency. This time frame may be extended up to five years under special circumstances. There is an exception if the victim is a under the age of 18.
You must report changes in your name, address and telephone number in writing.
What benefits are available?
There is a $150,000 maximum on most medical/mental health benefits. Program staff provide assistance at various stages of a claim to find alternative resources.
Counseling benefits are available to victims of crime. Limited counseling may be available to family members of sexual assault and homicide victims. Victims and family members must use the mental health providers or benefits covered by other insurance first.
When you are injured and unable to work, the crime victims compensation program may be able to provide you with payments to replace a portion of your normal income.
The maximum time-loss payable is determined by the state’s average wage as published by the Department of Employment Security.
If you are permanently and totally disabled from work due to your injuries, you may be eligible for a pension. The amount is based on a percentage of your former income or, if you were unemployed, a percentage of the state's average wage.
Survivors’ benefits are available if you are a surviving spouse or child of a crime victim. You may be eligible to receive a pension or lump-sum benefit. The program may also pay a portion of the burial expenses incurred through the crime.
Pensions are payable only if the victim was employed. The monthly amount will be a percentage of the deceased’s former wages, depending on the number of eligible survivors.
The maximum benefit amount you may receive is based on the limits set by law on the date you were a victim of crime.
How do the bills get paid?
If you have private insurance coverage or qualify for public assistance, your medical or mental health provider must bill that insurance before billing the crime victims compensation program. Once your insurance or public assistance coverage is determined, the provider is responsible for submitting an original bill with the insurance explanation of benefits attached, for consideration of payment by the crime victims compensation program.
If you have no other coverage, the service provider must send all medical bills directly to the crime victims compensation program.
Once your claim is approved, service providers can not bill you for medical treatment of the injury that is covered by the program.
You should give service providers a copy of the formal "Order & Notice" approving your claim.
Costs for sexual assault exams are paid for by the crime victims compensation program.
Can I sue the person who committed the crime?
You may sue the person responsible for your injuries. If you receive a recovery, reimbursement to the crime victims compensation program will be required.
If the recovery is larger than the amount of benefits already paid by the program, you will be responsible for costs associated with your claim until the balance of your recovery is gone.
If you choose not to sue, the crime victims compensation program has the right to file a civil lawsuit against the person responsible for the amount of money the program has paid on your behalf.
Either choice means no delay in payment of benefits.
Where can I get help locally?
Although only Labor and Industries crime victims compensation staff can make eligibility decisions, all county prosecuting attorneys offices in the state have programs to help victims of crime.
Victim advocates can help you complete an application for crime victims compensation, answer questions about the program, let you know about additional services near your home or help you through the criminal justice process.
How do I get more information?
Contact the nearest Labor and Industries service location or call toll-free at:
Victim Assistance Organizations
Office of Crime Victims Advocacy
Domestic Violence Hotline
Family and Friends Hotline
Child Protective Services Hotline
Victim/Witness Notification Program
WASHINGTON VICTIM/WITNESS OFFICES (Listed here by county)
360-452-7831, Ext. 368
509-775-5206, Ext. 207
509-754-2011, Ext. 450
|Grays Harbor County|
509-962-7520, Ext. 316
360-748-9121, Ext. 225
360-875-9361, Ext. 361
|Pend Oreille County
|San Juan County|
|Walla Walla County|
If you need further information about the program, call toll-free: