Rodriguez Introduces Bill To Strengthen Victims Compensation Process

For immediate release:

Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez introduced AB 1563 which seeks to help victims of violent crimes receive a timely response on their application for compensation. The legislation would create a timeline of 6 months for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to respond to appeals received by crime victims who have had their initial applications for compensation denied.

“When someone becomes the victim of a violent crime, their life can be turned upside down,” said Rodriguez. “Victims apply to the Board seeking financial help so they are not left destitute because of crime. This bill will help speed up the appeals process and ensure that victims are not left waiting for answers.”

Current law contains no deadline for when The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board must decide on an appeals application. Without a deadline, victim applications can and have backed up. In February of 2013 the Board had a backlog of 2,000 applications, leaving many people in need of treatment and financial assistance without help for a long period of time. The Board has taken great steps to address this backlog, however this bill will ensure another backlog does not happen.

Under AB 1563, the Board would be required to make a decision on an application within 6 months of receiving it unless there is insufficient information to make a decision. If more information is needed from the applicant to decide the appeal, the Board will be required to promptly inform him or her of that missing information.

 The California Victim’s Compensation Program (CalVCP) provides compensation to victims of violent crime for crime related expenses included medical and mental health treatment, funeral costs, and financial losses. If a request for compensation is denied, an applicant has the ability to appeal the decision to receive compensation in full or in part. The Program receives funding from restitution paid by criminal offenders through fines, orders, penalty assessments, and federal matching funds.

Assemblymember Rodriguez represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana