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Payback: Idaho's victims compensation fund

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Payback: Idaho's victims compensation fund

By Don Nelson. CREATED Jul 3, 2014

For the last 28 years, the state of Idaho has provided assistance to victims of crime and who suffer from personal loss.

Natalie Marti was only 23 years old when a drunk driver headed the wrong way on I-84 slammed head on into her vehicle and killed her husband and baby.

That was 11 years ago, and although Natalie admits she has a hard time remembering a lot following the accident, she does remember she needed help.

Natalie explained, “I shouldn’t have to be out of money. I’m out my husband, my daughter. I’ve got to support myself for the rest of my life and I have these huge bills. How can I do this? I found out about the crime victims compensation fund and that was really exciting for me.”

If a victim is found to be eligible for the program, they can receive up to $25,000 in benefits.

George Gutierrez from the State Industrial Commission described the program, “We provide a benefit package to victim’s benefits that includes medical, mental health, and funeral benefits if the victim was injured and can’t work.”

Linda Lebrane who was beaten, stabbed, and left for dead on a rural Canyon County road believes that some of the requirements go beyond common sense.

Lebrane explained to On Your Side’s Don Nelson, “The hardest thing in the crime victims compensation program is they wanted my session notes from my psychiatrist before they would pay him to ensure that my therapy had something to do with the attack.”

Canyon County prosecutor Brian Taylor wanted to emphasize the state has to follow strict guidelines for eligibility.

Taylor furthered, “If the crime victims compensation program deems the injury that asking for reimbursement was not actually caused by the crime then you’re not eligible. Which makes sense.”

So where does the money for this fund come from?

According to George Gutierrez from the Industrial Commission, “For every person who is convicted of a misdemeanor crime, they pay a fine of $37 and felony charges pay $74. For sex offenders, $300 is put in the fund. It feels good to be able to help folks that need it.”