Important things to know about finalizing your claim, how long it will take, and what to do following OVS' decision.
Make sure you...
✓ Sign the authorization page to OVS.
✓ Upload the authorization page to OVS. If you are unable to upload the page, you can mail it in. Your claim is not complete until you submit the signed authorization page to OVS.
✓ Download and save a pdf of the application and authorization in case you need to refer to it later.
✓ Upload any supporting documents (such as receipts and medical records). You do not need to have all your documents at the time you submit your application.
✓ Save your receipts related to your claim.
✓ Continue uploading supporting documents (such as receipts and medical records) as you receive them.
✓ Work on getting any missing information or documents. When your claim is assigned to a OVS Crime Victim Specialist, the Specialist will contact you for the additional information OVS needs.
✓ If you don't provide the requested or missing information, you may receive a letter from OVS stating that your claim is temporarily closed. As soon as possible, but no later then 30 days after getting this letter, you can write OVS asking them to re-open your claim and provide them with the information.
✓ If you move or change your phone number or email, notify OVS.
- Submit a signed change of address with your claim number to OVS.
- You can either use either use this form or write a note that says what your old address was and what the new one will be.
- You can fax, email, or upload it to the claim.
✓ Contact a crime victim advocate if you need help.
After getting an OVS decision
- Your claim is open for life. Once a case is open, keep your application information and claim number safe. This means that if you have future expenses related to the crime, you can request compensation.
- You may receive a letter from OVS stating that they need more information before they can decide if you are eligible, and until then, your claim is temporarily closed. DO NOT WORRY. As soon as possible, but no later then 30 days after getting this letter, you can write OVS asking them to re-open your claim and provide them with the information requested. You can find a sample letter here. If you need help, contact a crime victim advocate.
If approved - payment
- You will receive an "Award Letter" from OVS. If there are expenses being paid in the decision, payments will be sent within 6 weeks but are usually sent out within 2 weeks.
- Payments will be sent directly to you if you were the one who had the "out of pocket" loss and submitted the receipt.
- If your claim is approved but more information is needed in order to pay specific medical expenses, OVS will contact you within a few weeks to request that additional information. OVS will pay you when that information is received.
- Your checks will be from “State of New York, Department of Taxation and Finance, Division of the Treasury”. It may not be obvious that the payment is from OVS, but there may be notations on the stub.
- OVS can reimburse medical or counseling providers directly if payments were not made by the victim. Providers must register with the NYS Statewide Financial System (SFS) and payments can be direct deposited into their bank accounts.
If not approved - appeal
- You have the right to appeal OVS’ initial decision by asking OVS to look at your application again.
- You can appeal OVS’ final determination to a court of law.
- An attorney can help you during any stage of the claims and appeals process.
How do I request an appeal asking OVS to look at their decision?
Your request to OVS for an appeal must:
- Be submitted to OVS within 30 days after you received OVS’ decision denying all or part of your claim
- Be in writing
- Explain the reason for your appeal
- Provide any missing information or documents with your appeal request
- Include your claim number
- Include your signature and
- Be sent to the following address: Office of Victim Services, AE Smith State Office Building, 80 South Swan Street, 2nd Floor, Albany, NY 12210
Your claim will be reviewed by an appeal panel. During OVS’ review on appeal, you may have to produce additional documents. After review, OVS will issue a final determination.
How do I appeal OVS’ final determination?
If you are unsatisfied with OVS’ final determination, you have the right to appeal to the New York Supreme Court.
Your appeal to the New York Supreme Court must:
- Be filed and conducted according to Article 78 of the CPLR and
- Be filed within 4 months after receiving OVS’ final determination
Can an attorney help me with the appeals process?
Yes. You have the right to have an attorney represent you at any stage of your claim, from putting together your application to your appeals. Please go to the CVLN website, NYSBA lawyer referral program, or contact a crime victim advocate to help you find a lawyer who can help you. If you appeal and are successful, you may be able to get reasonable attorney’s fees up to $1,000.00.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties because of the crime, you can request an Emergency Award from OVS. These awards are only given before services have been received and/or paid for.
You can request Emergency Awards for the following:
- Prescription drugs including HIV medications
- Emergency medical equipment
- Loss of earnings (after 2 weeks of lost income)
- Loss of support (which results in hardship)
- Security device installation or repair
- Lock replacement or repair
- Crime scene clean-up
- Funeral (up to $3000)
To apply for an Emergency Award:
- You must complete the victim compensation application AND
- Contact the OVS Claims Intake Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax 518-402-0921 and ask for an expedited decision
Important to know:
- Your application must be complete to get an Emergency Award.
- There are limits to what OVS will pay. For example, OVS can pay up to $2500 towards a funeral.
- Decisions are usually made within 24-hrs.
- If OVS grants you an Emergency Award and later finds out you are ineligible, they must request the return of payment.
- If you are a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse but have not yet received the medical record of the Forensic Rape Exam (FRE), you can still apply for an Emergency Award. You will need to submit a letter signed by the Forensic Examiner. This letter must contain:
• The date of the exam,
• The date of the crime, and
• A diagnosis from the medical record.
Once you receive the medical records, submit them to OVS. OVS must have the medical records to process your claim.
- More information can be found here on the NYS OVS "Forms and Publications" page. Or for help applying for an Emergency Award, contact a Crime Victim Advocate near you.
Forms and Sample Documentation
There are many forms and documents that can help you with your claim application on the Victim Services Portal. You can find them on the NYS OVS Website under Victim Services Portal Documents or contact OVS at one of their offices.
Some of the OVS Forms you should know about:
- Claimant Authorization Form: You must print, sign, and return this form to OVS for your claim to be final.
- Representative Authorization Form: If you want someone else, such as an Advocate or an Attorney, to talk to OVS about your claim, you must complete this form.
- Change of Address Form: Use this form to let OVS know that you have moved.
- Affidavit in Support of Late Filing: Use this form if more than 1 year has passed since the date of the crime.
Below are some sample letters that you may receive from OVS:
- Award Letter: This is a sample of a positive decision. Generally, you will receive payment within 6 weeks.
- No Info Supplied Letter: This is a sample of a denial because necessary information was not sent to OVS. The claim is temporarily closed but can be reopened when you supply the information that they requested.
- Death Claim Checklist: This is a sample letter from OVS asking for more information in a Death Claim.
- PI Claim Checklist: This is a sample letter from OVS asking for more information in a Personal Injury Claim.
- EEP Claim Checklist: This is a sample letter from OVS asking for more information in an Essential Personal Property Claim.
Below are some sample letters that you can use to support your claim and expenses:
PLEASE NOTE: The information below is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. CVLN does not warrant any information provided.
Sample Letters for use by Crime Victims
- Sample Letter to Medical Provider: This is an example of a letter to a medical provider asking them to continue providing you with treatment while you await payment from OVS.
- Sample Re-Open Claim Letter: Many people receive a letter from OVS telling them their claim is closed because of missing information or documents. This is an example of a letter you can send to OVS asking them to re-open your claim. Send a request to re-open to OVS within 30 days of receiving the “No Info Supplied” letter from them.
Sample Letters for use by Crime Victim Advocates
- Report the crime within one week to police or another qualified agency.
- If you report the crime after a week you will need to explain the delay in your victim compensation application.
- File a claim with OVS within one year of the crime.
- If you file the claim after a year, you will need to explain the delay in your application.
- OVS has up to 3 months to assign your claim to a staff investigator. Generally, this happens within weeks of receiving your claim application.
- Claims are usually investigated within 3 months, but the staff person has up to 6 months to investigate the claim. You will receive a written decision at the end of the investigation.
- If you are not satisfied with the decision, you have up to 30 days to request an appeal with OVS asking them to look at your claim again.
- After OVS sends their final decision, you have less than 4 months to request a Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 78 appeal.
- If you move or change your phone number or email while waiting for a claim decision, please make sure you notify OVS so they know how to contact you.
- Submit a signed change of address with your claim number to OVS. You can either use this form or write a note that says what your old address was and what the new one will be.
- You can fax, email, or upload it to the claim.
- After you submit your claim, you may be asked to submit additional information as part of the investigation process.