New York Consolidated Laws, Executive Law - EXC § 631. Awards




1. No award shall be made unless the office finds that (a) a crime was committed, (b) such crime directly resulted in personal physical injury to or the exacerbation of a preexisting disability, or condition, or death of, the victim, and (c) criminal justice agency records show that such crime was promptly reported to the proper authorities;  and in no case may an award be made where the criminal justice agency records show that such report was made more than one week after the occurrence of such crime unless the office, for good cause shown, finds the delay to have been justified;  provided, however, in cases involving an alleged sex offense as contained in article one hundred thirty of the penal law or incest as defined in section 255.25 , 255.26 or 255.27 of the penal law or labor trafficking as defined in section 135.35 of the penal law or sex trafficking as defined in section 230.34 of the penal law or an offense chargeable as a family offense as described in section eight hundred twelve of the family court act or section 530.11 of the criminal procedure law , the criminal justice agency report need only be made within a reasonable time considering all the circumstances, including the victim's physical, emotional and mental condition and family situation.  For the purposes of this subdivision, “criminal justice agency” shall include, but not be limited to, a police department, a district attorney's office, and any other governmental agency having responsibility for the enforcement of the criminal laws of the state provided, however, that in cases involving such sex offense a criminal justice agency shall also mean a family court, a governmental agency responsible for child and/or adult protective services pursuant to title six of article six of the social services law and/or title one of article nine-B of the social services law, and any medical facility established under the laws of the state that provides a forensic physical examination for victims of rape and sexual assault.

1-a. No award shall be made for a frivolous lawsuit unless the office finds that the victim has been awarded costs pursuant to section eighty-three hundred three-a of the civil practice law and rules and the individual responsible for the payment of costs is unable to pay such costs provided, however, that in no event shall the amount of such costs exceed two thousand five hundred dollars.

2. Any award made pursuant to this article shall be in an amount not exceeding out-of-pocket expenses, including indebtedness reasonably incurred for medical or other services necessary as a result of the injury upon which the claim is based;  loss of earnings or support resulting from such injury not to exceed thirty thousand dollars;  loss of savings not to exceed thirty thousand dollars;  burial expenses not exceeding six thousand dollars of a victim who died as a direct result of a crime;  the costs of crime scene cleanup and securing of a crime scene not exceeding twenty-five hundred dollars;  reasonable relocation expenses not exceeding twenty-five hundred dollars;  and the unreimbursed cost of repair or replacement of articles of essential personal property lost, damaged or destroyed as a direct result of the crime.  An award for loss of earnings shall include earnings lost by a parent or guardian as a result of the hospitalization of a child victim under age eighteen for injuries sustained as a direct result of a crime.  In addition to the medical or other services necessary as a result of the injury upon which the claim is based, an award may be made for rehabilitative occupational training for the purpose of job retraining or similar employment-oriented rehabilitative services based upon the claimant's medical and employment history.  For the purpose of this subdivision, rehabilitative occupational training shall include but not be limited to educational training and expenses.  An award for rehabilitative occupational training may be made to a victim, or to a family member of a victim where necessary as a direct result of a crime.

3. Any award made for loss of earnings or support shall, unless reduced pursuant to other provisions of this article, be in an amount equal to the actual loss sustained, provided, however, that no such award shall exceed six hundred dollars for each week of lost earnings or support.  Awards with respect to livery operator victims pursuant to paragraphs (f) and (g) of subdivision one of section six hundred twenty-seven of this article shall be granted in the amount and in the manner provided therein.  The aggregate award for all such losses pursuant to this subdivision, including any awards made pursuant to paragraphs (f) and (g) of subdivision one of section six hundred twenty-seven of this article, shall not exceed thirty thousand dollars.  If there are two or more persons entitled to an award as a result of the death of a person which is the direct result of a crime, the award shall be apportioned by the office among the claimants.

3-a. Any award made for loss of savings shall, unless reduced pursuant to other provisions of this article, be in an amount equal to the actual loss sustained.

4. Any award made pursuant to this article shall be reduced by the amount of any payments received or to be received by the claimant as a result of the injury (a) from or on behalf of the person who committed the crime, (b) under insurance programs mandated by law, (c) from public funds, (d) under any contract of insurance wherein the claimant is the insured or beneficiary, (e) as an emergency award pursuant to section six hundred thirty of this article.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, where the person injured is a livery operator victim, because undue hardship may result to the claimant if immediate payment is not made, any award pursuant to paragraphs (f) and (g) of subdivision one of section six hundred twenty-seven of this article shall be granted without reduction for workers' compensation benefits to be received, if any.

5. (a) In determining the amount of an award, the office shall determine whether, because of his conduct, the victim of such crime contributed to the infliction of his injury, and the office shall reduce the amount of the award or reject the claim altogether, in accordance with such determination.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the office shall disregard for this purpose the responsibility of the victim for his own injury where the record shows that the person injured was acting as a good samaritan, as defined in this article.

(c) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, where the person injured acted as a good samaritan, the office may, without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant, make an award for out-of-pocket losses.  Such award may also include compensation for any loss of property up to five thousand dollars suffered by the victim during the course of his actions as a good samaritan.

(d) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, where a person acted as a good samaritan, and was killed as a direct result of the crime, the office may, without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant, make a lump sum award to such claimant for actual loss of support not to exceed thirty thousand dollars.

(e) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, where a police officer or firefighter, both paid and volunteer, dies from injuries received in the line of duty as a direct result of a crime, the office may, without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant, make an award for the unreimbursed counseling expenses of the eligible spouse, parents, brothers, sisters or children of such victim, and/or the reasonable burial expenses incurred by the claimant.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the office shall disregard for this purpose the responsibility of the victim for his or her own loss of savings.

6. (a) Claims may be approved only if the office finds that unless the claimant's award is approved he or she will suffer financial difficulty.  However, no finding of financial difficulty is required for a claim for an emergency award or an award less than ten thousand dollars.  In determining financial difficulty, the office shall consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to:

(1) the number of claimant's dependents;

(2) reasonable living expenses of the claimant and his family;

(3) any special health, rehabilitative or educational needs of the claimant and his dependents;

(4) the claimant's employment situation including income and potential earning capacity;

(5) the claimant's net financial resources after authorized deduction as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subdivision;

(6) whether claimant's financial resources will become exhausted during his lifetime;  and

(7) the nature and the amount of claimant's total debt and liabilities, including the amount of debt incurred or to be incurred to pay for losses and expenses of the crime, and the extent to which claimant's essential assets will have to be liquidated.

(b) Claimant's net financial resources do not include the present value of future earnings, and shall be determined by the office by deducting from his total financial resources the value, within reasonable limits, of the following items:

(1) a homestead, not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars, or a total of ten years' rent for a renter;

(2) personal property consisting of clothing and strictly personal effects;

(3) household furniture, appliances and equipment;

(4) tools and equipment necessary for the claimant's trade, occupation or business;

(5) a family automobile;

(6) life insurance, except in death claims;  and

(7) retirement, education and health plans or contributions to a retirement or pension program including but not limited to contributions to:  (i) employee profit sharing plans, (ii) employee money purchase plans, (iii) 401 (k) plans, (iv) simplified employee pensions (SEP), (v) individual retirement accounts (IRA), (vi) 403 (b) plans, (vii) 457 plans, (viii) Keogh plans, (self employed), and (ix) any other plan or account for which contributions are made primarily for retirement purposes.

(c) The office, after taking into consideration the claimant's financial resources, may exempt that portion of the victim's or claimant's annual income required to meet reasonable living expenses and the value of inventory or other property necessary for the claimant's business or occupation or the production of income required to meet reasonable living expenses.  In no event shall the aggregate value of exemptions under this paragraph exceed one hundred thousand dollars.

(d) Nothing contained in this subdivision shall be construed to mean that the office must maintain the same standard of living enjoyed by the claimant prior to the death or injury.

(e) The director shall promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary for the implementation of this section.

7. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision six of this section, an award shall include out-of-pocket expenses, including indebtedness reasonably incurred by the victim of a sex offense or the person responsible for the victim of such sex offense, as such sex offense is defined in article one hundred thirty of the penal law, for a hospital or medical examination in connection with the investigation or prosecution of any such offense.

8. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one, two and three of this section, an elderly or disabled victim who has not been physically injured as a direct result of a crime, shall only be eligible for an award that includes the unreimbursed cost of repair or replacement of essential personal property that has been lost, damaged or destroyed as a direct result of a crime, transportation expenses incurred for necessary court appearances in connection with the prosecution of such crimes and the unreimbursed cost of counselling provided to the elderly or disabled victim on account of mental or emotional stress or financial counselling provided to the elderly or disabled victim on account of financial difficulty resulting from the incident in which the crime occurred if such counselling or financial counselling is commenced within one year from the date of the incident.  For purposes of this subdivision, “necessary court appearances” shall include, but not be limited to, any part of trial from arraignment through sentencing, pre and post trial hearings and grand jury hearings.

8-a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section, a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person, as defined in section 260.31 of the penal law , who has not been physically injured as a direct result of a crime, shall be eligible for an award that includes loss of savings.

9. Any award made for the cost of repair or replacement of essential personal property, including cash losses of essential personal property, shall be limited to an amount of five hundred dollars, except that all cash losses of essential personal property shall be limited to the amount of one hundred dollars.  In the case of medically necessary life-sustaining equipment which was lost or damaged as the direct result of a crime, the award shall be limited to the amount of ten thousand dollars.

10. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, an award shall include reasonable transportation expenses incurred for necessary court appearances in connection with the prosecution of such crimes upon which the claim is based.  For purposes of this subdivision, “necessary court appearances” shall include but not be limited to any part of a proceeding from arraignment through sentencing, pre and post trial hearings and grand jury hearings.

11. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one, two and three of this section, an individual who was a victim of either the crime of:  menacing in the second degree as defined in subdivision one of section 120.14 of the penal law ;  menacing in the third degree as defined in section 120.15 of the penal law ;  unlawful imprisonment in the first degree as defined in section 135.10 of the penal law ;  kidnapping in the second degree as defined in section 135.20 of the penal law ;  kidnapping in the first degree as defined in section 135.25 of the penal law ;  criminal mischief in the fourth degree as defined in subdivision four of section 145.00 of the penal law ;  robbery in the third degree as defined in section 160.05 of the penal law ;  robbery in the second degree as defined in subdivision one, paragraph b of subdivision two or subdivision three of section 160.10 of the penal law ;  or robbery in the first degree as defined in subdivisions two , three and four of section 160.15 of the penal law who has not been physically injured as a direct result of such crime shall only be eligible for an award that includes loss of earnings and the unreimbursed costs of counseling provided to such victim on account of mental or emotional stress resulting from the incident in which the crime occurred.

12. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions one, two and three of this section, an individual who was a victim of either the crime of menacing in the second degree as defined in subdivision two or three of section 120.14 of the penal law , menacing in the first degree as defined in section 120.13 of the penal law , criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation as defined in section 121.11 of the penal law , harassment in the second degree as defined in section 240.26 of the penal law , harassment in the first degree as defined in section 240.25 of the penal law , aggravated harassment in the second degree as defined in subdivision three or five of section 240.30 of the penal law , aggravated harassment in the first degree as defined in subdivision two of section 240.31 of the penal law , criminal contempt in the first degree as defined in subdivision (b) or subdivision (c) of section 215.51 of the penal law , or stalking in the fourth, third, second or first degree as defined in sections 120.45 , 120.50 , 120.55 and 120.60 of the penal law , respectively, or a hate crime as defined in section 485.05 of the penal law who has not been physically injured as a direct result of such crime shall only be eligible for an award that includes loss of earning or support, the unreimbursed cost of repair or replacement of essential personal property that has been lost, damaged or destroyed as a direct result of such crime, the unreimbursed cost for security devices to enhance the personal protection of such victim, transportation expenses incurred for necessary court appearances in connection with the prosecution of such crime, the unreimbursed costs of counseling provided to such victim on account of mental or emotional stress resulting from the incident in which the crime occurred, the unreimbursed cost of securing a crime scene, reasonable relocation expenses, and for occupational or job training.  For purposes of this subdivision, “necessary court appearances” shall include, but not be limited to, any part of trial from arraignment through sentencing, pre and post trial hearings and grand jury hearings.

13. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, when any New York state accredited hospital, accredited sexual assault examiner program, or licensed health care provider furnishes services to any sexual assault survivor, including but not limited to a health care forensic examination in accordance with the sex offense evidence collection protocol and standards established by the department of health, such hospital, sexual assault examiner program, or licensed healthcare provider shall provide such services to the person without charge and shall bill the office directly.  The office, in consultation with the department of health, shall define the specific services to be covered by the sexual assault forensic exam reimbursement fee, which must include at a minimum forensic examiner services, hospital or healthcare facility services related to the exam, and related laboratory tests and necessary pharmaceuticals;  including but not limited to HIV post-exposure prophylaxis provided by a hospital emergency room at the time of the forensic rape examination pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision one of section twenty-eight hundred five-i of the public health law .  Follow-up HIV post-exposure prophylaxis costs shall continue to be reimbursed according to established office procedure.  The office, in consultation with the department of health, shall also generate the necessary regulations and forms for the direct reimbursement procedure.  The rate for reimbursement shall be the amount of itemized charges not exceeding eight hundred dollars, to be reviewed and adjusted annually by the office in consultation with the department of health.  The hospital, sexual assault examiner program, or licensed health care provider must accept this fee as payment in full for these specified services.  No additional billing of the survivor for said services is permissible.  A sexual assault survivor may voluntarily assign any private insurance benefits to which she or he is entitled for the healthcare forensic examination, in which case the hospital or healthcare provider may not charge the office.  A hospital, sexual assault examiner program or licensed health care provider shall, at the time of the initial visit, request assignment of any private health insurance benefits to which the sexual assault survivor is entitled on a form prescribed by the office;  provided, however, such sexual assault survivor shall be advised orally and in writing that he or she may decline to provide such information regarding private health insurance benefits if he or she believes that the provision of such information would substantially interfere with his or her personal privacy or safety and in such event, the sexual assault forensic exam fee shall be paid by the office.  Such sexual assault survivor shall also be advised that providing such information may provide additional resources to pay for services to other sexual assault victims.  If he or she declines to provide such health insurance information, he or she shall indicate such decision on the form provided by the hospital, sexual assault examiner program or licensed health care provider, which form shall be prescribed by the office.

14. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, where a victim dies from injuries received as a direct result of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September eleventh, two thousand one, the office may make an award for the unreimbursed and unreimbursable expense or indebtedness reasonably incurred for the cost of counseling for the eligible spouse, grandparents, parents, stepparents, guardians, brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, children, or stepchildren of such victim.  Any award for such expense incurred on or before December thirty-first, two thousand seven, shall be made without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant.

15. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, where a victim is injured as a direct result of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September eleventh, two thousand one, the office may make an award for the unreimbursed and unreimbursable expense or indebtedness reasonably incurred by the claimant for medical care or counseling services necessary as a result of such injury.  Any award for such expense or indebtedness incurred on or before December thirty-first, two thousand seven, shall be made without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant.

16. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article, and without regard to the financial difficulty of the claimant, where a victim dies from injuries received as a direct result of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September eleventh, two thousand one, the office may make an award of reasonable burial expenses for such victim.

17. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section, where a child victim has not been physically injured as a direct result of a crime, or has witnessed a crime in which no physical injury occurred, the claimant shall only be eligible for an award that includes the unreimbursed cost of repair or replacement of essential personal property of the child victim that has been lost, damaged or destroyed as a direct result of a crime, transportation expenses incurred by the claimant for necessary court appearances of the child victim in connection with the prosecution of such crimes, and, if counseling is commenced within one year from the date of the incident or its discovery, (1) the unreimbursed cost of counseling provided to the child victim on account of mental or emotional stress resulting from the incident in which the crime occurred, and/or (2) the unreimbursed cost of counseling provided to the claimant eligible under paragraph (h) of subdivision one of section six hundred twenty-four of this article and resulting from the incident in which the crime occurred.

18. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this article and subject to any applicable maximum award limitations contained in this section, where a victim has died as a direct result of the crime upon which the claim is based and the crime occurred in the residence of a person eligible pursuant to paragraph (k) of subdivision one of section six hundred twenty-four of this article, the office may make no more than one award for crime scene clean-up related to such residence.





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