Victims of crime could receive government funds to pay for hospital bills
PHOENIX, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) - Lombe Kaoma says she was heading back to work after her lunch break, when a driver ran a red light and smashed into her car.
The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital bed. Doctors told her she had been in a coma for three days. Kaoma was hit by a drunk driver who took off. The driver was eventually caught, but Kaoma was left with trauma to the brain and $20,000 in medicals bills, after insurance.
“They are telling me, ‘Oh, you need to pay now or we will put your bills in collection,’” said Kaoma.
Kaoma says she was paying $2,000 a month in medical bills, until finally she asked her case worker about assistance with the growing bills. “Is there any way I can find help with money? Because this is too much!” said Kaoma.
Luckily, Kaoma found help through the Victim Compensation Assistance Program. The government fund is money set aside to help victims of crime and can be used towards medical bills, funeral costs, therapy and even lost wages.
“I was so happy and so thankful to God that they accepted me and even now, I’m so thankful that they really helped me because I don’t know what I could have done without them. That was too much,” says Kaoma.
Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey invested an additional $1.2 million into the program. Andrew Lefevre, the Executive Director for the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, says the extra money can potentially help an additional 400 people.
“COVID has really impacted the state in a lot of ways, and this funding is important now because there are so many folks that have lost jobs that don’t have those normal forms of payment available to them,” Lefevre said. “This victim compensation program serves as that last safety net for them probably in their time of greatest crisis that they would have as a person.”
For more information on how to apply, click here.
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