In order for a state agency to receive and distribute VOCA formula grant funding, it must adhere to requirements set out in VOCA and program guidelines issued by OVC. The state agency administering the VOCA victim compensation and the victim assistance formula grants must meet the following eligibility requirements. Eligibility requirements for VOCA victim assistance subrecipients -- victim service organizations, usually at the local level -- also are included.

VOCA State Victim Compensation Program Requirements

A state victim compensation program is eligible to receive VOCA funds if it:

is operated by a state and offers compensation to victims and survivors of victims of criminal violence, including drunk driving and domestic violence.

covers medical expenses, including mental health counseling, loss of wages, and funeral expenses.

promotes victim cooperation with law enforcement authorities.

does not use federal funds to supplant state funds.

makes awards to nonresidents who are victims of crimes within the state on the same basis as it makes awards to state residents.

makes awards to victims of federal crimes occurring within the state on the same basis as to victims of state crimes.

provides compensation to residents of the state who are victims of crimes occurring outside the state, as long as: (a) the crime(s) would have been compensable had they occurred inside the resident state; and (b) the place in which the crime occurred is a state without an eligible victim compensation program.(1)

does not, "except pursuant to rules issued by the program to prevent unjust enrichment of the offender, deny compensation to any victim because of that victim's familial relationship to the offender, or because of the sharing of a residence by the victim and the offender."

provides such other information and assurances related to the program as the Director of OVC may reasonably require.

The VOCA Victim Compensation Program Guidelines issued by OVC explain these VOCA eligibility requirements and provide implementation guidance.

VOCA State Victim Assistance Program Requirements

In general, when awarding VOCA funds to local providers of direct assistance, states must:

give priority to eligible victim assistance programs that provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse;

make funds available for grant programs which serve previously underserved victims of violent crime; and

certify that funds awarded to eligible programs will not supplant state and local funds already available for crime victim assistance.

VOCA Subaward Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to receive VOCA subawards, an organization must meet eligibility requirements as prescribed in VOCA and the Program Guidelines. The organization must:

be either a public or a private non-profit agency;

have a record of previously delivering effective services to crime victims (if applicable);

use volunteers in providing services to crime victims;

promote, within the community served, coordinated public and private efforts to serve crime victims;

assist crime victims in seeking state victim compensation benefits(2);

match the federal funds with either in-kind services or cash at a level of 20 percent for new and exiting programs, or 5 percent for Native American Tribes or organizations; and

use the VOCA funds only for direct services to crime victims such as crisis intervention, shelter, counseling, and personal services that encourage victim participation in the criminal justice system. Funds cannot be used for community education, crime prevention, lobbying, legislative and administrative advocacy, perpetrator rehabilitation, fundraising, capital expenditures, insurance or other nondirect services and activities.

1. 1 Today, all states except Nevada, which thus far has elected not to participate in the VOCA compensation program, have established an eligible crime victim compensation grant program. Therefore, state compensation programs are required to award benefits to residents victimized in Nevada if the crime in question would be compensable in the victim's state of residency.

2. 2 Local victim assistance programs meet the VOCA requirement to assist victims in seeking crime victim compensation benefits by identifying and notifying potential recipients of the availability of compensation, assisting them with application forms and procedures, and helping them obtain the necessary documentation required by the state compensation program. Victims are best served when the staff and volunteers at victim assistance and victim compensation programs understand the full range of services available to them and communicate this information clearly to victims and survivors.

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