The following laws and policies govern the administration of VOCA formula funding.
This federal law, passed by Congress in 1984 and amended in 1988, established OVC and created the Crime Victims Fund, which provides funds to states for victim assistance and compensation programs that offer support and services to those affected by violent crimes. Guidance provided for the victim assistance and compensation grant programs is in accordance with VOCA.
This law, which went into effect on July 22, 2021, is a historic effort to stabilize the Crime Victims Fund. Among other provisions, this law—
- Requires that all the fines and penalties collected by the Federal Government under deferred and non-prosecution agreements be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund;
- Clarifies that states may waive a requirement that victim compensation programs promote victim cooperation with law enforcement;
- Allows or requires states to waive matching requirements for Crime Victims Fund grant funds under certain circumstances; and
- Provides the Attorney General with the authority to provide no-cost extensions to all VOCA award recipients.
The DOJ Grants Financial Guide (the Guide) is the primary reference manual to assist OVC award recipients in fulfilling their financial responsibility to safeguard grant funds and ensure funds are used for the purposes for which they were awarded. It compiles a variety of laws, rules and regulations that affect the financial and administrative management of your award. Recipients (and subrecipients) should refer to their award terms and conditions to determine the specific requirements that apply to their award.
This Guide should be the starting point for all recipients and subrecipients in ensuring the effective day-to-day management of awards.
This document serves as a resource for VOCA recipients when documenting salaries, wages, and fringe benefits for grant funded personnel. Where grant recipients work on multiple grant programs or cost activities, documentation must support a reasonable allocation or distribution of costs among specific activities or cost objectives.
The allocation or distribution of costs should be an after-the-fact accounting not based on estimates. Payroll records must reflect actual time spent on the activity or activities. Additionally, records must be certified by the employee and approved by a supervisor with firsthand knowledge of the work performed.
The OVC Center for VOCA Administrators Resource Library provides a range of resources to help Administrators manage VOCA funding.
Victim Assistance-Specific Resources
VOCA authorizes OVC to provide an annual formula grant from the Crime Victims Fund to each State and eligible territory for the purpose of providing assistance to victims of crime. These annual Victim Assistance Program formula grants are used by the States to provide financial support to eligible crime victim assistance programs. This rule codifies and updates the existing Victims Assistance Guidelines to reflect changes in OVC policy, the needs of the crime victim services field, and VOCA itself. See a side-by-side comparison of the VOCA Victim Assistance Guidelines and the Rule.
This bulletin clarifies that VOCA Victim Assistance formula funding may be used to support community violence intervention efforts.
Match Waiver Process
28 C.F.R. § 94.118 requires subrecipients to “contribute (i.e., match) not less than 20 percent (cash or in-kind) of the total cost of each project." Matching requirements are automatically waived for subrecipients “that are federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native Tribes, or projects that operate on Tribal lands" and for subrecipients “that are territories or possessions of the United States (except for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), or projects that operate therein."
The VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix) (Public Law No: 117- 27) amended the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 (codified at 34 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.).
The VOCA Fix, sec. 3, codified at 34 U.S.C. § 20103(a)(7) and (8), allows State Administering Agencies (SAAs) to waive the VOCA Assistance Program matching requirement, which, for the VOCA Assistance Program, is currently set out in 28 C.F.R. § 94.118. It requires SAAs to establish and make public match waiver policies that describe how to request a match waiver, the eligibility criteria for the waiver, and the decision/notification process; and report waiver approvals to OVC. It also requires that SAAs issue match waivers for subrecipients during a pandemic national emergency, and for 1 year after it ends.
The national emergency ended on May 11, 2023, so beginning on May 11, 2024, states will no longer be required to automatically waive match for subrecipients and should begin to review and approve requests for match waivers under the state’s established match waiver policy.
Additionally, OVC further extended this deadline until the end of the applicable VOCA subaward period to allow states and subrecipients to streamline administration and management of their VOCA Victim Assistance funding. New VOCA subawards or continuations made on May 11, 2024, or thereafter, will no longer qualify for mandatory match waiver.
A September 2021 bulletin (en Español) provides the latest guidance on the match waiver approval process. A template is available for SAAs to use when reporting match waiver approvals made by the SAA to OVC.
Victim Compensation-Specific Resources
These Final Guidelines for the VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program, issued in May 2001, are in accordance with VOCA and are all inclusive. These guidelines supersede any VOCA Crime Victim Compensation Grant Program Guidelines previously issued by OVC.
Victim compensation programs should adhere to federal and DOJ grant record-keeping requirements regarding processing and maintaining records for claims, including claims for wage loss and loss of support. Refer to this resource to help your agency implement or improve its policies and processes for lost wages and loss of support payments.
Released in April 2022, the revised VOCA Victim Compensation Certification (VCC Form) and instructions are intended to streamline the certification reporting process and help avoid common errors in the completion of this form.
OVC updated the VCC Form to reflect changes pursuant to the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021 (VOCA Fix) (Public Law No: 117-27), which amended the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 (codified at 34 U.S.C. § 20101 et seq.). For example, the VCC Form reflects the federal match increase from 60 percent to 75 percent on state compensation payments and recovery costs; and, no longer accounts for the deduction of subrogation and restitution recoveries.
This memorandum informs victim compensation programs of considerations that may apply when victims of crime are beneficiaries of crowdfunding campaigns.
Clarification Regarding the Applicability of the Payer of Last Resort Provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to State VOCA Victim Compensation Programs
This guidance clarifies how the payer of last resort provision for certain Indian health programs under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act applies to victim compensation programs.
VOCA Fix Exception RE: VOCA Compensation Eligibility Requirement to Promote Victim Cooperation with Law Enforcement (en Español)
This bulletin clarifies additional criteria state compensation programs may consider when granting exceptions to the requirement to promote victim cooperation with law enforcement in order for victims to be eligible for compensation.
Including State Payments for Sexual Assault Forensic Exams on Victim Compensation Certification Forms
This memorandum serves to provide clarification regarding the charging and certification of forensic exam payments with respect to victim compensation programs.