- 1 Financial Benefits for Victims of Violent Crime Program
- 2 Income Support Program-Human Services Department of Alberta
- 3 Alberta Worker’s Compensation Board
- 4 Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC)
There are various ways that victims of crime can seek financial assistance in Alberta. The province has a specific program for victims of crime called the Financial Benefits for Victims of Violent Crime Program, as well as other programs available to the general population that victims may access if they are in financial need. All of these programs are listed and discussed below. If you have specific questions about any of these programs, you can find contact information for each below as well.
Financial Benefits for Victims of Violent Crime Program
This program is different from other compensation or financial assistance programs for victims because it is a onetime financial benefit that is provided by the province as recognition of a person’s victimization. The amount of the benefit is determined on a point system, where a victim’s injuries are given a certain number of points based on the severity of their physical and mental injuries. This compensation program is not to pay for costs or losses due to the violent crime.
This benefit program is available to direct victims as well as witnesses and family members of deceased victims. To be eligible for either an injury benefit or a death benefit, the following criteria must first be met:
- The crime must have happened in Alberta.
- The application for financial benefits must be received within two years of the date of the incident. If you were under 18 when the crime occurred, you have until you are 28 to submit an application. In special circumstances, there may be exceptions to this deadline.
- The applicant must cooperate with the Financial Benefits Program and provide authorization to make inquires and obtain the information necessary to make a decision on the application.
- A charge or conviction is not needed to receive assistance; however the crime must have been reported to the police within a reasonable period of time (determined on a case by case basis) and the victim must cooperate with police during the investigation.
If you witnessed a crime happen, you may be eligible for a financial benefit for your psychological injuries if you:
- Witnessed a crime that resulted in the death of a person.
- Had a pre-existing, strong emotional attachment to the deceased person (i.e. deceased is a family member).
- Suffered psychological injuries as a result of witnessing the crime.
If any of the following circumstances are applicable, the victim will not be eligible for a financial benefit:
- The victim was injured in a motor vehicle incident.
- The victim had an extensive criminal record or criminal lifestyle.
- The victim’s actions directly or indirectly contributed to their injuries.
- There was damage to prosthetic devices, eye glasses, dentures or other property; costs associated with such property damage are not taken into account when calculating benefit amounts. In this case victims would still be eligible for other benefits.
Types of Eligible Financial Benefits
As mentioned, this program awards a financial benefit to victims based on the physical and mental injuries they sustained as a result of their victimization or as a witness of crime; the program does not compensate for costs or expenses (such as pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, etc.). Instead they provide a onetime monetary award in recognition of the person’s victimization. Each injury is given a number of points based on its severity, and victims are awarded a benefit based on their total number of points. The complete list of eligible injuries, their corresponding number of points, and the amount awarded can be found here by scrolling down to Schedule 3 – Injury Schedule and Schedule 4 – Financial Benefit Awards.
The maximum amount of financial benefits that a victim may receive is $110,000. If you have suffered a severe brain injury or have become a quadriplegic because of your victimization, you may also receive a monthly supplement of up to $1000/month on top of your financial benefit. To receive this supplement, you must require 24 hour care.
Family members or friends of homicide victims may claim the costs incurred for funeral expenses. This is called a Death Benefit, and up to $12,500 may be provided to the person who pays for the funeral.
Application and Contact Information
You should be aware that the application process can take up to 4 months from the time your application is received until a decision is made. If a victim is unable to apply for benefits themselves, a family member or legal representative may apply on their behalf.
Applications must include original receipts and signatures. When completed, applications can be mailed to:
Victims of Crime Financial Benefits Program
10th Floor, 10365 – 97th Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3W7
If, after you have already completed an application, your injury becomes worse, your file may be re-opened and you may receive an additional financial benefit as long you can provide medical documentation that your worsening condition is the result of the injury you incurred from the crime. If you have questions or would like more information on this program, you can call 1-780-427-7217 or visit the Program Financial Benefits Program Website.
Appealing a Decision
If you do not agree with a decision made by the program about the type and amount of benefits you will receive, you may appeal that decision within 30 days of receiving it. To do so, submit a written request for review to the Criminal Injuries Review Board. The contact information for this Board is:
Criminal Injuries Review Board
1502, 10025 – 102A Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 2Z2
If you do not agree with the decision made by the program on a point of law or question of jurisdiction, then you will need to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal for Alberta.
Income Support Program-Human Services Department of Alberta
Income Support provides financial benefits to individuals and families who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs, like food, clothing and shelter. Income Support works in coordination with Employment and Training Services, Health Benefits and Child Support Services.
Individuals have their situation assessed to identify the appropriate support services required to assist them in reaching self-sufficiency. Some things that are assessed on a case by case basis and may affect eligibility are:
- Current income
- If family can provide financial assistance
- The size of your family
- The age of your children
- Your ability to work
- Special needs
Type of Assistance Available
The amount of income support varies depending on each individual’s situation. For example, a single person who is looking for work would receive $583 a month, while a two parent family with three children (under 12 years) would receive $1,240 a month while the parents look for work, plus $461 a month from the federal National Child Benefit Supplement (see our section on Federal Financial Assistance Programs for Victims for more information).
There are 3 types of benefits that you can receive:
- The core shelter benefit: used to help with costs associated with rent, mortgage, utilities, heating fuel, fire insurance, etc.
- The core essential benefit: used for food, clothing, household supplies, personal needs, transportation and telephone.
- Emergency Needs Allowance: can be accessed when your situation occurred due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond your control, your situation presents a severe health risk, and you cannot wait until the next benefit period, or you cannot access other resources. This allowance can cover emergency costs such as food, damage deposits, eviction, accommodation, replacement clothing, child care, and overdue utility amounts if utilities are about to be disconnected.
People who are eligible for Income Support also receive:
- Health benefits for themselves and their dependants including dental, optical, prescription drugs, ambulance services, etc.
- Information and training to find a job,
- Help to obtain child support payments.
While receiving income support, you are encouraged to work if possible. If you are receiving assistance and working at the same time, you can still keep all of your wages and only a portion of your earnings are taken into account when benefits are calculated (called an earnings exemption). This means you can work and receive income assistance until you are in a position to rely solely on your own income.
How to Apply For Income Assistance
You must then make an appointment with a staff member by calling 1-866-644-5135. Bring your completed application with you to the appointment and the staff member will review it and determine your eligibility and assistance level.
For more information about this program, you can contact the Income Support Program 24 hours a day at:
Phone: 780-644-5135 (Edmonton Area)
Toll Free: 1-866-644-5135
Appealing a Decision
If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the Income Assistance program, you may apply for an appeal of that decision. More information about how to do this and a copy of the “Notice of Appeal” form you will need to complete in order for the appeal process to begin can be found online.
If you need assistance or more information about how to make an appeal, you should call the Appeals Secretariat at 780-427-2709.
Alberta Worker’s Compensation Board
The WCB provides coverage to employees who have been injured at work. Coverage is mandatory for most industries however, for some it is required to have this coverage. A Complete List of all Industries can be found online – Click on the industry you work for and on the third line of text it will say “voluntary” or “compulsory” with regards to whether they need to have coverage or not (they may still have coverage even if it isn’t compulsory).
To receive this type of assistance, the injury must have arisen out of and occurred in the course of employment. Victims of crime who suffered their injuries at work (either physical or psychological) will often be covered by the WCB; however this is determined on a case by case basis.
Not all workers injured in the workplace will be eligible. Your claim may be rejected for the following reasons:
- Your diagnosis is for a condition not caused by work.
- There is not enough information in your file to support that an injury or illness occurred.
- Your claim was not filed within 24 months of your injury.
- Your employer was not required to have workers’ compensation coverage and did not purchase this for you.
Types of Coverage Available
Victims injured at work may be eligible for the following benefits:
- Wage replacement and benefits: determined using 90% of your net taxable income to a maximum amount, determined each year by the Board of Directors (in 2015 this amount is $95,300). Your compensation rate will depend on a number of factors such as salary and other sources of income. More information can be found Online – Wage Replacement.
- Medical benefits: medical costs including, but not limited to, ambulance, treatment/test costs, physiotherapy, psychological counselling, chiropractic treatment, prescriptions, as well as interdependent partner benefits (accommodation, meals, travel, and some wage replacement) will be covered. More information can be found Online – Medical Benefits.
- Special payments: benefits are available for costs associated with having to travel to receive medical treatment, the need for having in-home care while you recover from the injury, and vehicle or home modifications (to accommodate wheel chairs). More information can be found Online – Special Payments.
If a work-related fatality occurs, the worker’s dependent spouse or dependent children may be entitled to benefits, including vocational services and a monthly pension, as well as assistance with funeral costs. The WCB will cover up to $11,500 for funeral costs. An extra $2000 is available for any extra costs associated with the funeral. Furthermore, the WCB can provide grief counselling services and can also assist spouses and interdependent partners to become employed and self sufficient.
More information on Work Related Fatalities can be found online.
The injury must be reported to the WCB and to the employer if the treatment required is anything beyond first aid, or if time from work was missed. Workers can make a report online or access all of the necessary forms online and fax them to 1-800-661-1993 (Alberta). Once you have reported your injury or illness, a WCB-Alberta adjudicator will review your claim and provide you with information on how to access your benefits if it is determined that you are eligible.
Appealing a Decision
If your claim is rejected, you may request that an adjudicator or a supervisor to review your claim, you may request an internal review from the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body, and lastly you may request a review by the independent Appeals Commission for Workers’ Compensation. Find specific information on making an appeal here.
You should contact the Office of the Appeals Advisor at: 1-866-922-9221 for assistance with the appeal process.
More information about the Alberta Worker’s Compensation Board can be found online, or by calling 1-866-922-9221 (toll-free in Alberta).
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program (MVAC)
This program was created to protect victims injured by uninsured or unknown drivers. It gives these specific victims a place where they can sue and receive payment for their personal injuries. Due to the uninsured or unknown nature of the at-fault drivers, these victims would often not be able to claim any damages for their injuries otherwise under their private insurance. This program can be particularly useful for victims of “hit-and-run” crimes.
- You must have suffered bodily injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident; property damage is NOT covered by the program.
- You must be a resident of Alberta or be from a province that has a program similar to MVAC that would cover Albertans out-of-province.
- The motor vehicle accident must have occurred within Alberta.
- The accident must be the fault of an uninsured or unknown driver.
- Liability for the motor vehicle accident must rest solely with an uninsured or unknown driver.
- You must have exhausted all other options and avenues for receiving compensation before filing a claim with MVAC.
Types of Coverage and Maximum Amounts of Compensation
MVAC’s maximum combined payment for all victims of one accident is $200,000. If there is more than one claimant to an accident, and the total value of all claims exceeds $200,000, then each claimant will receive a proportional share of the $200,000 maximum.
The program only provides compensation for personal injuries and some medical benefits; property damage is not covered.
A detailed Guide on how to Apply for Compensation or for Rehabilitation Assistance can be found online.
Due to the sometimes complex nature of the application and process, it is highly recommended that you first call the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program at 780-427-8255 or to be connected toll-free in Alberta call 310-0000-780-427-8255 for more information and assistance before beginning your application.
* See “A Victim’s Guide to Financial Assistance Available to Canadians” for additional information on Federal Programs and restitution.
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