2000 and Prior Legislation
Assembly Bill (AB) 2491, authored by Assembly Member Jackson, AB 2683, authored by Assembly Member Bock, and
Effective January 1, 2001, AB 2491 modifies the VOCP in the following areas:
- Name Change
- The State Board of Control's name has been changed to: the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
- Increase Limit for Reimbursable Expenses
- The total amount payable to a victim or derivative victim is increased to $70,000.00 from $46,000.00 for one crime.
- The increased limit applies to claims for crimes committed on/after January 1, 2001.
- Extension of Time Period for Receiving Benefits
- The time period for which a victim may receive wage loss or a derivative victim may receive support loss benefits is increased to five years from three years.
- Any time limits for wage loss benefits for victims who become permanently disabled as a result of a crime is eliminated. For purposes of this section, permanent disability is defined in 42 USC 416(i) which is the definition of disability as it applies to Social Security.
- This extension will apply to claim for crimes committed on or after January 1, 2001.
- Additional benefits for Parents of a Child Victim
- The Board may reimburse wages lost for a period of 30 days for parents or guardians of a child who is hospitalized or billed as a result of a crime committed on or after January 1, 2001.
- The policy for the implementation of this new benefit will be taken to the Board in January 2001 and when it is approved a program memo will be issued.
- Lost Wages
- For purposes of restitution orders, a victim's lost wages may include any income commission as well as base wages.
- Emergency Awards
- Victims applying for emergency financial assistance are no longer required to certify that no additional claims will be made.
- Child Life Specialist Pilot Program
- The qualifications for certified child life specialists who may be reimbursed under the VOC Program have been clarified.
- Victim Recovery Center
- $1 million is appropriated from the Restitution Fund for the Board to enter into an interagency agreement with the University of California at San Francisco to establish a victims' recovery center at San Francisco General Hospital.
- Technical Changes to the Penal Code and the Welfare and Institutions Code
- AB 2491 also makes technical changes to the section of the Penal and Welfare and Institutions Code regarding the imposition of restitution fines and orders against adult and juvenile offenders.
- Authorizes the Board to grant an additional extension of time for victims and derivative victims to submit claims who are called to testify after January 1, 2001 for a crime that could have occurred at anytime. This extension applies under the following circumstances:
- For an individual who is called to testify in a proceeding against a defendant as a victim of prior acts of the defendant in a trial for sex crimes or domestic violence, as specified.
- Prohibits reimbursement of any expense that is submitted more than three years after it is incurred by the victim or derivative victim.
Effective January 1, 2001 SB 1802 modifies the VOCP in the following areas:
- Provides a specific exemption to the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for the VOCP.
- Provides that a victim does not waive his or her medical provider/patient privilege by submitting bills and treatment records to the VOCP in order to qualify for payments.
- Creates a presumption that payments made by the VOCP shall be included in the amount of restitution ordered against a defendant by the court.
Assembly Bill (AB) 606, authored by Assembly Member Jackson, was passed and signed by Governor Gray Davis. The following are the changes to the statutes affecting the Victim Compensation Program (VCP) for crimes that occurred on or after January 1, 2000:
Category of Eligible Providers
Requires the Board, until January 1, 2004, to conduct a pilot program to provide reimbursement for grief, mourning and bereavement services that are provided by an individual who is certified as a Child Life Specialist, and to report to the Legislature by January 31, 2003, on this pilot program.
Domestic Violence Victims
Authorizes a cash payment or reimbursement to an adult victim of domestic violence for specified expenses incurred in relocating, not to exceed $2,000.00, if the expenses are determined by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety of the victim, or by a mental health provider, as necessary for the emotional well being of the victim. These expenses may include, but need not be limited to, all of the following:
- Deposits for utilities and telephone service;
- Deposits for rental housing, not to exceed the first and last months rent, or $2,000.00, whichever is less;
- Clothing and other personal items, not to exceed $500.00;
- Temporary lodging and food expenses, not to exceed $1,000.00.
The cash payment or reimbursement shall only be awarded once to any victim, except that the Board may award a second cash payment or reimbursement to the same victim if both of the following conditions are met:
- The crime or series of crimes occurs more than three years from the date of the crime giving rise to the initial relocation payment or reimbursement;
- When a relocation payment or reimbursement is provided to a victim of domestic violence, the victim must agree not to inform the offender of the location of the victim's new residence, not allow the offender on the premises at any time, or must seek a restraining order against the offender.
Victims of crimes other than domestic violence may also receive relocation expenses.
Payment for Residential Security
If the crime occurred in the victim's residence, a cash payment of up to $1,000.00 for the expense of installing or increasing residential security may be authorized.
Reimbursement shall be made upon verification by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety of the victim, or by a mental health treatment provider to be necessary for the emotional well being of the victim. Installing or increasing residential security may include, but need not be limited to, both of the following:
- Home security device or system;
- Replacing or increasing the number of locks.
Renovation of Residence and/or Vehicle
Authorizes payment to a victim who is permanently disabled, whether the disability is partial or total, as a result of the crime, for the expense of renovating or retrofitting his or her residence or vehicle. Any payments shall be subject to the following condition:
- The expense is verified to be medically necessary.
Allows the Board to delegate authority to grant and disburse specific Emergency Awards.
Adds the newly created benefits and mental health to the list of expenses for which restitution may be ordered, pursuant to Section 1202.4 of the Penal Code.
Several major bills were passed and signed by the Governor that refined statutes governing the VOCP. Bills were authored by Assembly Members Brown (AB535), Escutia (AB645), Lempert (AB1803), Knox (AB2319), and Senate Member Haynes (SB2202). Bill AB 535 became effective on September 22, 1998. All other bills went into effect on January 1, 1999. The following are the changes to the statutes:
Increased Time Limits for Filing VOCP Applications
Permits the filing of claims beyond the three year limitation for claims filed on or after October 4, 1993, under the following circumstances:
- The application was filed by a minor derivative victim and the direct victim is permanently disabled or dies as a result of the crime and no application was filed by a parent or guardian within the three-year time limitation;
- The application is based on Penal Code (PC) Sections 261, 286, 288, 288a, 288.5, 289, or 289.5 (prior to January 1, 1995) and the victim was under age 18 at the time of the crime and the crime was reported to law enforcement or a child protective agency and either the investigating officer or the district attorney recommends that late filing be approved and the application is filed within one year of the date of that recommendation; or an applicable complaint, legal motion, or indictment is filed;
- The direct victim dies as a result of the crime but the death is not discovered until after the three-year filing period has passed;
- The application was filed within one year of filing the indictment, or complaint based on the same crime and the district attorney recommends approval based on cooperation;
- The application is filed within one year of the victim testifying in a qualifying crime, and the district attorney recommends approval based on cooperation;
- The application is filed within one year of the district attorney's written decision not to prosecute and the district attorney recommends approval based on cooperation.
New Qualifying Crimes
Expands the category of crimes eligible for VOCP benefits to include:
- Vehicular Manslaughter (PC Section 192(c) and 192.5);
- Unlawful Sexual Intercourse (PC Section 261.5 (d)) in cases where the victim is under age 16 and the perpetrator is over age 21 if felony charges are filed;
- Child stealing in cases where the child is abducted for 30 consecutive days or more. Only the child and not the non-offending parent or caretaker can be considered the victim under this provision.
Increased Emergency Awards
Effective January 1, 1999, the maximum amount available for Emergency Awards will increase from $2,000.00 to $5,000.00 for funeral/burial expenses only.
Individuals Eligible for Mental Health Reimbursement
Includes psychological interns to be reimbursed for mental health services and post-psychological interns who are pursuing training in a university or medical school under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional.
New Derivative Victims
- Expands definition of Derivative Victim to include all U.S. residents;
- Allows the primary caretaker of the minor victims who assumes the caretaker responsibility of the victim after the date of the crime to receive VOCP benefits;
- Adds fiancée (in addition to fiancé) to the list of qualifying derivative victims.
Extended Time Limit for Income/Support Loss
- Extends wage loss to a victim to three years without requiring rehabilitation or permanent disability status;
- Extends loss of support to an adult derivative victim to three years.
Codification of Existing Practice in Determining a Minor's Eligibility
- Requires that factors including a minor's age, physical condition, psychological state, and compelling health and safety concerns be considered in determining a minor's eligibility regarding involvement in events leading to the crime and cooperation with law enforcement.
- Allows approval of a claim for a minor derivative victim in cases of domestic violence where the direct victim is ineligible due to involvement in events leading to the crime.
Victims of P.C. Section 261.5(d)
- A victims participation in events leading to the crime may not be considered;
- Provides mental health counseling benefits up to $3,000.00. Derivative victims of PC Section 261.5(d) are not eligible for mental health benefits.
Benefits for Post-Crime Primary Caretaker
- Extends benefits for the post-crime primary caretaker of a minor victim to include up to $3,000.00 for mental health counseling if the treatment is necessary for the successful treatment of the minor victim.