South Carolina Governor's Office

SOVA at a Glance...

(How Crime Victims' Compensation Claims are Processed)

PDFSOVA Crime Victims' Compensation Claims Flow Chart
SOVA Benefits Quick Reference Chart

Victim/Witness Assistance Services

  • Receives all incoming compensation applications
  • Screens and reviews all incoming applications prior to conducting data entry
  • Assists all callers such as victims/claimants, victim advocates and service providers with their inquiries and makes the necessary referrals
  • Assists walk-in crime victims with filing compensation applications
  • Provides crisis intervention, support and advocacy to crime victims
  • Assists victims/claimants before, during and after the appeals process
  • Coordinates all Outreach Initiatives for the agency
  • Coordinates all training activities for the agency
  • Reassigns claims to Eligibility Services
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Eligibility Services

  • Receives all claims from the Victim/Witness Assistance Services Section
  • Reviews, screens and investigates each claim
  • Provides follow up on claims as deemed necessary to victims, law enforcement, solicitor’s offices etc.
  • Makes recommendations concerning eligibility or ineligibility status
  • If eligible recommendation; claims forwarded to Restitution Services Section
  • If ineligible recommendation; claim is presented to Team Staffing
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Eligibility Criteria

  • The crime must have occurred in SC and not have occurred over 4 years ago
  • The victim must have been directly injured physically or emotionally
  • The victim must not have been engaged in any illegal activity at the time of the crime
  • The victim must not have initiated, provoked, caused, or contributed to the incident
  • The victim must cooperate with the State Office of Victim Assistance and law       enforcement
  • The claim must have been filed within 180 days from the date of the incident
  • The crime must have been reported to law enforcement within 48 hours
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Restitution Services

  • Receives all claims from the Eligibility Services Section
  • Reviews all claims for financial recovery to  assist in ensuring solvency of the Compensation Fund
  • Provides an initial request letter to victims/claimants requesting their assistance with court notification and restitution recovery for future victims
  • Attends court when warranted regarding restitution matters
  • Works with Court Administration, Solicitors’ Offices, SCDPPPS, Victim Advocates, Victims, Attorneys and the presiding Courts to develop policies and procedures that will ensure full restitution recovery
  • Places claims on tracking charts for monitoring for future restitution recovery  
  • In the event restitution is ordered prior to SOVA’s involvement, SOVA will request that restitution payments be directed to SOVA.   (Restitution for property damage will not be collected by SOVA)
  • Provides payment transaction histories to accommodate requests and inquiries
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Processing Services

  • Receives all claims from the Restitution Services Section
  • Reviews and screens claims for payment
  • Process both compensation and sexual assault evidence collection claims
  • Assists victims/claimants, advocates and service providers with inquiries
  • Provides victims/claimants with notice of award letters and other correspondences
  • Provides follow up with service providers, victim advocates and victims/claimants as warranted
  • Enters data into the system regarding payment transaction history
  • Prepares vouchers for processing of payments
  • Closes all case files with no activity for 18 months
  • See SOVA Benefits Quick Reference Chart for additional information on  what’s covered and paid under the compensation program
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Financial Services

  • Reviews and signs all claim payment vouchers received from the
  • Processing Services Section to ensure funds are available for payment
  • Forwards all vouchers to the Governor's Accounting Department for processing of payment
  • SOVA coordinates with numerous departments and agencies to distribute checks statewide on behalf of crime victims
  • SOVA does not prepare checks
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Team Staffing

  • Team Staffing  - this group is comprised of the Managers from the following sections: Victim/Witness Assistance Services, Eligibility Services, Restitution Services and Processing Services as well as the Director
  • Reviews recommendations for ineligible claims previously made by investigators
  • Reviews existing and or additional information during the team staffing
  • During the team staffing, the team may recommend that there be a reduction in the award
  • Makes requests of investigators to collect additional information and if warranted work with other staff members to accomplish objectives
  • Upon collecting additional information and reviewing existing documentation, the team may recommend that the claim be deemed eligible and forwarded to the Restitution Services Section and then to Processing Services
  • Upon collecting additional information and reviewing existing documentation, the team may recommend that the claim be deemed ineligible and the claim is then closed.  A denial packet is sent to the victim/claimant to include an appeal brochure, appeal application, letter stating reason of denial and a copy of the law
  • Victims/Claimants are asked to return to the Appeal Services Manager the appeal application within 30 days of receipt along with any additional supporting documentation to assist in their appeal
  • Upon the receipt of the appeal application, a second team staffing is held on the claim if warranted
  • Upon the receipt of the appeal application, the claim is also screened and reviewed once again and reinvestigated
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The Appeal Process

  • Thirty (30) days prior to the appeal hearing and or appeal review, the  Appeal Services Manager will send victims/claimants a letter informing them of the date, time and location of their hearing/review
  • During the appeals hearing, the Victim/Witness Assistance Services Section will provide victims/claimants with support, advocacy and appeal accompaniment
  • During the appeals hearing, the victims/claimants have the opportunity to present their case to the Crime Victims’ Advisory Board Appeals Panel
  • The victims/claimants are encouraged  to wait for the Appeal Panel’s decision if they so desire
  • Upon the conclusion of the hearing for the victims/claimants, the staff in the Victim/Witness Assistance Services Section will conduct an optional appeal exit survey to determine the level of satisfaction of the client assistance services
  • Upon the receipt of the Order and Opinion from the Chairman of the Appeals Panel, the original order is sent by mail to the victim/claimant
  • If the Appeals Panel modifies the decision (deems the claim eligible), the claim is forwarded to the Processing Services Section
  • If the Appeals Panel affirms the decision (deems the claim ineligible), the victim/claimant is notified via the appeal order as noted above and the case file is closed
  • During the Appeal Hearing, if the Appeal Panel requests additional information,  the hearing may be continued until the next quarterly Appeals hearing/review
  • Pursuant to S.C. law 16-3-1140, “the Appeal Panel’s decision is final and nonappealable”
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