Crime Victims' Compensation Program

Applying and Eligibility

If you or a family member has suffered personal injury as a result of:

  • a violent crime
  • trying to stop a person committing a crime
  • trying to help a law enforcement officer
  • trying to help a victim of a crime or
  • witnessing a violent crime

You may file a claim for compensation from the South Dakota Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. However, not all crimes or expenses are covered.

Compensation Program

Awards of compensation of up to $15,000 may be made from the South Dakota Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. Compensation is approved by the Department of Social Services and funded through a court surcharge on criminal offenders. Compensation is available only to the extent that funds are generated from the surcharge. No compensation can be awarded when money is not available, and compensation is only available for persons who meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility

Crime victims are eligible to apply for compensation whether or not the crime is a tribal, state or federal crime.

  • The crime must have occurred on or after July 1, 1992.
  • The crime must be reported to law enforcement within 5 days of its occurrence or when a report could reasonably have been made.
  • The claim for compensation must be filed within 1 year of the crime unless good cause is shown for the delay in filing.
  • The victim and claimant must reasonably cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the incident.
  • Compensation cannot be paid to a claimant if it would unjustly benefit the offender or an accomplice.
  • The victim cannot contribute to the crime or the injury nor have committed a crime at the time of the incident. Claims may be reduced or denied based upon contribution/conduct.

Applying

To apply, you must complete a Crime Victims’ Compensation Application form. Forms are available from all local law enforcement agencies, the Department of Social Services, or the Office of the Attorney General.

Any one of the below individuals can apply for assistance:

  • An innocent victim of a violent crime who has suffered harm.
  • A family member of a deceased victim.
  • A person authorized to act on behalf of a victim or a dependent.
  • Parents or other family members under limited circumstances.

Claim Process

Upon receipt of the application, law enforcement, physicians, service providers, etc. are contacted to verify all information. The Department of Social Services reviews the claim and decides whether the claim is eligible and the amount to be paid. The claimant has the right to appeal the decision to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission.

Types of Assistance

Compensation may be available for expenses incurred as a direct result of the criminal acts of another person if not covered by another source. Examples of expenses covered under the law are: medical care, rehabilitation, funeral expenses, loss of income, counseling, dental expenses, child care costs and mileage.

  • No attorney is needed and compensation cannot be paid for attorneys fees.
  • There is no filing fee.

Emergency Awards

Emergency awards of up to $1,000 may be made under extraordinary circumstances. An award may be made for immediate verifiable needs as a result of loss of income or support, emergency medical expenses or funeral expenses. Any emergency award will be deducted from the final award and must be deducted from expenses already incurred.