Frequently Asked Questions

These are the answers to the questions CalVCB gets most often.

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Who is eligible?

To be eligible for compensation, victims must be:

  • A California resident at the time of the crime, or
  • A non-resident victimized in California.

The crime must involve:

  • Physical injury,
  • Threat of physical injury,
  • Death, or
  • Emotional injury, in some cases.

Victims must:

  • Cooperate with police and court officials to arrest and prosecute the offender. (Exceptions may apply.)
  • Cooperate with CalVCB staff
  • Not have been involved in events leading to the crime
  • Not have committed a felony at the time of the crime
  • File the application within time limits

See complete eligibility requirements at Who is eligible.

When will CalVCB not issue payment?

CalVCB will not issue payment if:

  • Your application for compensation was not approved
  • You didn’t apply within time limits
  • You’ve submitted a bill without proper documentation
  • The expense you want paid is not a covered expense 
  • The cost is outside our dollar or service limits
  • All other sources of reimbursement have not been exhausted
  • The service provider expects to be paid directly, but is not registered with CalVCB

CalVCB may also not pay while a victim is:

  • In a correctional institution
  • On parole, probation, or post-release community supervision for a violent felony
  • Required to register as a sex offender

This does not make a person ineligible, but it does stop payment during the period above.

What crimes are covered?

Crimes covered by CalVCB include but are not limited to:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Battery
  • Child abandonment
  • Child abduction
  • Child abuse
  • Child sexual assault
  • Child endangerment and abandonment
  • Domestic violence
  • Driving under the influence
  • Elder abuse
  • Hate crimes
  • Homicide
  • Human trafficking
  • Hit and run
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Neglect
  • Online harassment
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Sexual battery
  • Terrorism
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Other crimes that result in physical injury or a threat of physical injury to the victim

What if the crime occurred outside California?

Victims of a crime outside California should file for compensation with that state. But if the offender is prosecuted in California, they should file here. 

Other states’ compensation programs are considered a reimbursement source. CalVCB will verify if a victim filed a claim in the state where the crime occurred. If the expenses are not covered by that state and other sources, then CalVCB may be able to help.

See this list of state compensation programs.

What if I need financial help right away?

You can request emergency help in certain situations. CalVCB approves emergency help based on level of hardship and immediate need. Note this need on your application in the emergency award section.


What expenses are eligible for reimbursement?

  • Relocation
  • Medical and dental treatment
  • Mental health treatment or counseling
  • Funeral and burial
  • Income loss up to five years, if the crime disabled the victim. If the victim is permanently disabled, they may be reimbursed for longer.
  • Income loss up to two years, if the crime is human trafficking
  • Support loss for dependents of a victim who is injured or dies
  • Up to 30 days income loss for the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim who is hospitalized or dies
  • Job retraining
  • Home or vehicle modifications for a victim permanently disabled
  • Home security installation or improvement
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Veterinary fees or replacement costs for a guide, signal, or service dog.
  • Round-trip mileage costs to medical, dental, or mental health appointments
  • Mental health counseling for minors who witness a violent crime

See more details on our What is covered page.

What expenses are not eligible for reimbursement?

Some expenses are not covered by CalVCB, such as property damage, court fees, and legal fees. CalVCB may also not cover other expenses related to the crime.

CalVCB also doesn’t cover expenses sent to us more than 7 years after they were incurred. There are some exceptions to this rule.

CalVCB also cannot pay expenses incurred while a person is:

  • On parole, probation, or post-release community supervision for a violent felony
  • Incarcerated
  • Required to register as a sex offender

This does not make a person ineligible, but it does stop payment for expenses incurred during the period above.

See more details on our What is covered page.

What are the limits on compensation?

There are limits to what CalVCB pays, even for eligible expenses.

The most CalVCB can reimburse a victim for is $70,000. (For applications filed 2001-2017, the limit is $63,000.)

There are caps on the amount CalVCB will pay for some services. See Compensation Benefit Reference Guide for a complete list.

If you are not the direct victim of a crime, but affected by it, there are limits to what services CalVCB will pay for.

Finally, CalVCB is a payor of last resort. This means CalVCB only pays for expenses that aren’t reimbursed by any other source.

See more about limits on our What is covered page.

What if I get reimbursements from other sources?

By law, CalVCB is the payer of last resort. This means we only pay after other sources of reimbursement are used. These sources include:

  • Medical, dental, or vision insurance
  • Public benefit programs like MediCal, unemployment insurance, or disability benefits
  • Auto insurance
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Court-ordered restitution
  • Civil lawsuit recoveries
  • Life insurance
  • Employer benefits

Applicants are responsible for telling CalVCB about all reimbursement sources for their losses. If an applicant was paid later by these sources, the applicant must repay CalVCB.

GoFundMe money is not in conflict with CalVCB payments. You can receive both. But you cannot get CalVCB payment for expenses already paid for by GoFundMe or any other source.

Do I have to pay CalVCB back if another source pays?

Yes. CalVCB can only pay victims for expenses with no other source of reimbursement. This is according to California law. CalVCB has the right to repayment if another funding source becomes available.


How do I apply for compensation?

You can apply online, by paper form, or through the help of an advocate. See instructions on our How to get compensated page.

What are the time limits for filing an application?

The time limits for filing an application are:

  • Within seven years of the crime, or
  • Seven years after the direct victim turns 21, or 
  • Seven years from when the crime could have been discovered, whichever is later. 

Some applications filed later than this may be considered. File a Late Consideration Form if that is the case. Some reasons an extension may be granted are:

  • A recommendation from the prosecuting attorney due to the victim’s cooperation in the arrest and prosecution of the offender
  • Events during the prosecution or punishment of the offender led to more losses for the victim
  • The nature of the crime is such that a delayed reporting of the crime is reasonable and excusable

After CalVCB has approved an application filed by a victim, other people affected by the same crime may also file an application. This is true for crimes on or after January 1, 2002.


Do I have the right to appeal?

You have a right to appeal if CalVCB denies an application or payment for an expense. You must file the appeal within 45 days of the date the Board mailed the notice to deny the claim or expense.

If you provide new information, we may reconsider the denial immediately. But most appeals must have a scheduled hearing before a Hearing Officer. This hearing will give you the chance to present information supporting your claim. We do not hold hearings about denials of emergency awards.

If you do not agree with the Board’s final decision, you may file a Petition for a Writ of Mandate in Superior Court.

Read more on our Appeals page.

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