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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 24th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 7 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 7

Locals can seek compensation from a Massachusetts program

BY ANDREA KANG

It’s the only thing anyone’s been able to talk about for the past couple of weeks, it seems, and it’s hard to imagine how closely the Boston Marathon bombing has impacted members of our community. Santa Barbara County residents who were near or emotionally impacted by the explosions should seek help from the Massachusetts Victim Compensation and Assistance Division, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced April 19.

Each state is different in terms of their compensation program, victim witness manager Megan Rheinschild said, but California residents will be able to look to Massachusetts for help. According to the 2013 Boston Marathon website, 20 registered runners were from Santa Barbara. There were also two from Goleta, two from Carpinteria, and one from Lompoc.

“It’s really about proximity to the bombing. They might cover medical expenses or health expenses. If one of their loved ones was injured or killed, they’re eligible for funeral burial services or mental health counseling,” she explained.

In California, Rheinschild said, the compensation program is paid for by fines and penalties offenders must pay when convicted. If a national tragedy such as the Boston bombing occurs, the federal government will match what federal criminals in high-profile financial cases must pay to help fund the program.

Rheinschild said she hasn’t received any calls, but she’d like residents to be aware of what California provides.

People who believe they’re qualified for compensation should call the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General at (617) 727-2200, Ext. 2160, or visit the website at mass.gov/ago/public-safety/resources-for-victims/victims-of-violent-crime/victim-compensation.html. They can also contact the Santa Barbara County District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance Program at 568-2400 for more information and referrals.

Intern Andrea Kang compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at intern@santamariasun.com.