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The Hardship Fund

The Government has introduced a Hardship Fund (the Fund) to provide temporary relief from financial hardship for very low paid workers who have to take time off work, temporarily, because they have been a victim of violent crime.
 
The Fund makes a payment to victims whose injuries are not serious enough to fall within the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012.

The purpose of the Fund

The Fund has been created to ease the financial hardship of victims who have no other source of financial help (for example those who do not get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)). As with SSP, it will provide financial support after the fourth day of absence from work and for up to 28 days to people who are temporarily unable to work.

Applications to the fund must be made initially to Victim Support. We will review all applications to make sure they are eligible and then forward them to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which administers the Fund. The Government has allocated £500,000 per year to the Fund. Only people who have been unable to work for a period of seven consecutive days because of a violent crime will be eligible to apply and payment will not cover the first three days of absence from work.

This means the minimum payment would be £49.05 (a daily rate of £12.26) and the maximum payment is capped at £306.61, which is the same amount as four weeks’ SSP (minus the first three days). 

Who can apply

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. Annex B of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012 describes the types of violent crime which can lead to an injury and applies to the Fund.
  • You could not work for a 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), ie less than £107 per week.
  • 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 the only penalty imposed was an endorsement, penalty point or a fine under Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. You must also 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 within four weeks of the date of the incident. Please note that if you get or have applied for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), you must immediately tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), through your Job Centre, 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.

How to apply

If you answered 'yes' to all of these questions, you should contact us at Victim Support. We can assess your eligibility, and if appropriate, will help you to apply to the CICA. If you want to speak to us, please call your nearest Victim Support victim care team.

You will need to prove that you are eligible so we will 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 that you were a victim of a violent crime which was reported to the police.
  • A pay statement or letter from your employer to show that your average weekly earnings are less than £107 per week and you are therefore not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.
  •  If you are self–employed, a copy of your most recent tax returns to show that your income is less than £107 per week. 
  • A copy of a certificate (fit note) from your doctor which shows that you haven't been able to work for at least seven consecutive days as a direct result of being a victim of a crime of violence. Once we have made an initial assessment, we will complete an application and ask you to provide a signed consent for the release of all records, evidence and other relevant information about you and the circumstances of your injury. This will be sent to us to process.

How the CICA will deal with your application

We will send your application to the CICA. They will then:

  • Contact the police to confirm details of the incident.
  • Check your criminal records to see if you have any unspent criminal convictions that they must take into account. When they have received this information, they aim to process your application within six working days.

The CICA will tell you their decision as soon as it is made.

If they have reduced or refused a payment (if for example you have unspent convictions), they will tell you why.

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

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