MAY 2014 CRIME VICTIM REPARATIONS ANNOUNCED
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $303,669.16 to victims of crime in May. Awards were made in 179 new cases, with additional expenses paid in 14 previously submitted cases.
Victims of violent crime in Arkansas may be eligible for compensation from the state’s Crime Victims Reparations Program to help defray unexpected expenses related to the crime. Victims are eligible for reimbursement for such expenses as medical treatment or mental health counseling. The Attorney General’s Office administers the program.
The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board determines which claims are eligible for payment and how much money will be awarded to each claimant. Members of the Crime Victims Reparations Board are Dr. Janice Church, Bryce Brewer and Alex Finger, all of Little Rock, Colleen Nick of Alma and Louis Jones of Fayetteville.
Also today, McDaniel announced that he has informed crime victims’ advocates about potential funding issues in fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1. Crime victims’ claims are funded both through state appropriations and a federal grant from the Department of Justice. The federal grant for fiscal year 2014 has not yet been received, and it is not expected until sometime in September, McDaniel said in a letter to victim assistance coordinators, hospitals and others.
McDaniel said the fiscal year 2013 federal grant had also been delayed because of last year’s federal budget sequestration. Because of that, the program has relied more heavily on state funds to pay claims, even as state funding has been temporarily reduced. Based on current budget projections, the Crime Victims Reparations Board may be forced to reduce claims or delay payments in the 2015 fiscal year, he said.
“I assure you that my staff and I have been working diligently to prevent a cut in claim payments,” McDaniel said. “At this time, the most effective assistance to the financial health of the program would be the immediate receipt of federal grant funds.”
McDaniel made clear that all claims that have already been submitted by crime victims will be processed and paid normally. The potential funding issue is related only to fiscal year 2015 claims.
McDaniel said victim advocates could contact the state’s Congressional delegation to encourage the delegation to assist in expediting federal grant funding.
For more information about the Crime Victims Reparations Program, call the Crime Victims Hotline at (800) 448-3014 or visit the Attorney General’s website, www.ArkansasAG.gov.