Survivors Are Now Eligible for up to $2,500 to Replace Essential Personal Property Damaged or Destroyed During a Crime
Prior Cap of $500 in Effect for More Than Two Decades Failed to Meet Victims' Needs
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that victims and survivors of crime whose essential personal property was stolen, damaged or destroyed during the incident may now receive up to $2,500 to replace items deemed necessary for their health, safety or welfare. Prior to this change, state law capped the reimbursement rate at $500, an amount that failed to keep pace with inflation and cost-of-living increases. This financial assistance is administered by the state Office of Victim Services, which provides a critical safety net for victims and survivors who have no other resources to pay for expenses resulting from the crime.
"The cost of replacing items lost or damaged during a crime can create an unnecessary burden for victims and their families still recovering from a traumatic incident," Governor Hochul said. "In New York, we support victims in every way possible, and I'm proud to expand this assistance to take one thing off of victims' and survivors' plates and ensure they receive the support needed to help them recover."
Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, "Victims of crime often have their entire lives upended in a matter of minutes, and the effects of their experience can linger much longer. Expanding these funds and replacing lost items of necessity will allow these survivors to focus on healing and alleviate some of their worry. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for your steadfast support of survivors."
The increased cap applies to any claim filed with the Office of Victim Services on or after October 6, 2022. State regulations that took effect on October 12, 2022 outline the property deemed necessary for an individual's welfare that is eligible to be claimed: clothing, such as shoes, suits and outerwear; bedding; mobile devices or computers; and items necessary for the safe operation of someone's personal means of transportation, such as tires, a child's car seat or motorcycle helmet. Essential personal property claims also can help with replacement or repair of items necessary for an individual's health or safety, including eyeglasses, hearing aids and other medical devices. Individuals determined to be eligible may not receive more than $2,500 in assistance.
In just the past decade, New York State has significantly expanded eligibility for reimbursement or compensation to victims who have not been physically injured, 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 instances, their family members — are not faced with significant financial burdens as a result of being victimized.
In addition to replacement or repair of essential personal property, the Office of Victim Services compensates and reimburses eligible individuals for medical and counseling bills; funeral and burial expenses; relocation, security system, and crime scene clean-up costs; and lost wages and support, among other assistance. This assistance comes at no cost to taxpayers. Funding comes from fines, fees and surcharges paid by certain individuals convicted in state and federal courts.
The Office of Victim Services also supports more than 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, such as crisis counseling, advocacy, emergency shelter, civil legal assistance and relocation 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 assistance. Follow the agency on Twitter and Facebook.
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