The Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund provides temporary financial help to very low paid workers who have to take time off work, because they have been a victim of violent crime.

The Fund makes a payment to victims whose injuries are not covered by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

(Please refer to the website for the latest information.)

The Hardship Fund was set up to help victims who have no other financial support. For example, if you do not get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). As with SSP, if you’re temporarily unable to work the Fund will provide financial support after your fourth day of absence from work and for up to 28 days.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) administers the Hardship Fund. They will only consider applications to the Fund that are referred by Victim Support.

We will assist you with your application for the Hardship Fund. You can only apply for the Fund if you’ve been unable to work for at least seven consecutive days because of a violent crime, and payment will not cover the first three days of absence from work.

You may be eligible if:

  • you were injured in England or Wales on or after 27 November 2012 as a result of being a direct victim of violent crime, ie you were directly injured by an attacker
  • you could not work for at least seven consecutive days because of an injury (physical or mental) caused by being a direct victim of a violent crime
  • you earn less than the minimum amount needed to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • you are not receiving SSP or an equivalent sick pay scheme run by your employer
  • your injuries are not eligible for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012
  • you do not have unspent criminal convictions. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012 blocks payments to anyone who, on the date they apply, has an unspent conviction which resulted in either a custodial sentence or a community order. In the case of other unspent convictions, payment will be reduced or withheld unless there are exceptional circumstances. Payments will not normally be reduced if you committed motoring offences for which you received a fine or penalty points.

You must report your injuries to the police as soon as possible (normally within 48 hours of the crime) and ensure that the CICA receives your application to the Hardship Fund within eight weeks of the date of the incident.

Please note, if you get or have applied for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), you must immediately tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of your change in circumstances. Any payments made from the Hardship Fund will be taken into account when considering the level of income-related ESA that you receive.

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of the points above, you should contact us at Victim Support. We can work out if you’re eligible and, if you are, apply on your behalf to the CICA. To talk to us, please call your nearest Victim Support team.

We’ll need the following evidence to make our initial assessment:

  • A crime reference number from the police. This will help us and the CICA to confirm you were a victim of a violent crime that was reported to the police.
  • A pay statement or letter from your employer to confirm you’re not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.
  • If you’re self-employed, a copy of your most recent tax return to show your income is less than the minimum amount needed to qualify for SSP.
  • A copy of a certificate (fit note) from your doctor, which shows you haven’t been able to work for at least seven consecutive days as a direct result of being a victim of violent crime.

Once we’ve made an initial assessment, we’ll complete an application on your behalf. We’ll ask you to provide signed consent for the release of all records, evidence and other relevant information about you and the circumstances of your injury. We’ll send this to the CICA to process.

We’ll send your application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). They’ll then:

  • contact the police to confirm details of the incident
  • carry out a criminal records check to see if you have any unspent criminal convictions that they must take into account.

Once they have this information, they aim to process your application within six working days and will tell you their decision as soon as it’s made. If they have reduced or refused a payment (for example, if you have unspent convictions), they’ll tell you why.

Find out more about the Hardship Fund from the application guidance.