Victims of Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program
The 2015 Appropriation Act contained language on compensation for sterilization victims or their authorized representatives. Regulations were approved outlining the application and compensation process. Information on how to apply for compensation is posted below.
If you are interested, contact Ruth Anne Walker or 804-225-2252.
How to File a Claim for Compensation
To apply for compensation, please read all information below, then complete and mail the application form and required documents to:
ATTENTION: Virginia Victims of Eugenical Sterilization Compensation Program (VESC)
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
P.O. Box 1797
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797
As noted on the application, persons claiming eligibility for compensation who were involuntarily sterilized under the 1924 Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act (“Act”) or their lawfully authorized representative must complete this application form and attach the relevant documentation as specified on the form.
- “Lawfully authorized representative” means (i) a person who is permitted by law or regulation to act on behalf of an individual or (ii) a personal representative of an estate, as defined in § 64.2-100 of the Code of Virginia, of an individual who died on or after February 1, 2015. (12VAC35-240-10)
- Attach a copy of documentation to prove the legal authority to act on behalf of the claimant.
If you are completing the application yourself but would like to authorize the department to discuss your application with another person who is assisting you but who is not the “lawfully authorized representative,” fill out the separate authorization form to authorize the department to discuss your application with this person.
If you are signing the application for yourself, but do not authorize the department to discuss your application with another person, we will only communicate with you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Virginia’s Compensation for Victims of Eugenics Sterilization Program
What is this program?
The Virginia Victims of Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program (VESC) provides compensation for people involuntarily sterilized according to the 1924 Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act (“Act”), if they file a claim and meet specific eligibility requirements.
Who is eligible to be compensated?
An individual or his lawfully authorized representative (i.e., someone who has the legal authority to act on his behalf) is eligible to request compensation under this program if the individual was:
- A. Involuntarily sterilized pursuant to the 1924 Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act;
- B.Living as of February 1, 2015; and
- C.Sterilized while a patient at Eastern State Hospital; Western State Hospital; Central State Hospital; Southwestern State Hospital; or the Central Virginia Training Center (formerly known as the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded).
Is there a waiting list I can put my name on to get compensated?
No. You will be required to submit an application form to the department to request compensation. You can download the form from this site, or contact Ruth Anne Walker by email, or phone, 804-225-2252, if you are interested. Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are determined to be complete according to date and time of receipt of all required documentation.
What is the process for filing a claim for compensation?
Regulations were adopted in November 2015 to implement the provisions of the 2015 Appropriation Act (Virginia Acts of Assembly Chapter 665), and the regulations state the specific process for filing a claim for compensation. Since the regulations became effective, the department began accepting application forms for claims. Individuals who make a claim for compensation are required to provide proof of their identity and documentation that they meet the eligibility requirements that are listed above.
Do I need an attorney to help me file a claim for compensation?
The compensation application process is easy and straightforward, and you should not need an attorney to apply.
Should you decide to hire an attorney, you will still be required to complete an application, but the application and required documents may be submitted by your attorney. A copy of documentation to prove the attorney has the lawful authority to act on your behalf should be attached to the application.
Can I obtain my records now?
Yes, and it is recommended that you do so because it will take time to process the request for the records.
If you require assistance locating your records, contact the Health Information Management (HIM) Office of the hospital or training center where you were sterilized. Below is a list of department hospitals and training centers and the HIM Office number for each.
- Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Release of Information Officer: (804) 524-7319
- Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, HIM Office: (757) 208-7980
- Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Marion, Release of Information Specialist: (276) 783-1237
- Western State Hospital in Staunton, HIM Office: (540) 332-8015
- Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg, HIM Office: (434) 947-6284
If you do not know the name of the hospital or training center, you may contact Annette Leeworthy for assistance, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (804) 524-4746.
What documents will I need to process my claim for compensation?
- Proof of identity (state issued driver’s license, United States or foreign passport, state issued identification card, United States military card).
- Proof that you were a patient at Eastern State Hospital, Western State Hospital, Central State Hospital, Southwestern State Hospital, or the Central Virginia Training Center (formerly known as the State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded).
- Proof that you were involuntarily sterilized at one of the above facilities.
- Death certificate, if the individual died after February 1, 2015.
- Documentation of lawfully Authorized Representative status, if the applicant is making a claim on behalf of the individual.
How long will the process take once I submit an application for compensation?
The department will make every effort to process all applications for compensation as quickly as possible. However, each application must undergo a series of reviews. You will be notified of the status of your application at each step of the review process. If additional documentation is needed to process your claim, you will receive a letter requesting the additional information. After you have submitted all documents and they have been reviewed, you will receive a certified letter in the mail that will tell you if your claim was approved or denied.
If my claim for compensation is approved, when do I get my check?
If your claim for compensation is approved, you will receive a certified letter that informs you of the approval of your claim. Then, once the request for a check is processed, the check will be sent in the mail separately.
Is there anything I can do if my claim for compensation is denied?
You will be notified if your claim was denied and why, and information about the process for asking for reconsideration of your claim. Once you receive that notification, you will have 30 days to provide additional information to the department to review. Once the reconsideration review process is complete, you will receive a letter that informs you of the final decision of your claim.
If you have any additional questions, contact Ruth Anne Walker or call 804-225-2252.
Is compensation received from the Victims of Eugenics Compensation Sterilization Program taxable for federal or state income tax purposes?
On October 7, 2016, the Treatment of Certain Payments in Eugenics Compensation Act was signed by the President and became law as Public Law 114-241. This federal law provides that payments made under a state eugenics compensation program shall not be considered as income or resources for purposes of determining the eligibility of a recipient of such compensation for, or the amount of, any federal public benefit. The bill defines “state eugenics compensation program” as state program for compensating individuals who were sterilized under the authority of the state. Although the department does not provide legal or accounting advice, we wanted to bring this to your attention so you could seek professional guidance, as you deem appropriate.
In regard to whether compensation to victims is taxable, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation, this depends on federal law. While the Internal Revenue Service has not yet ruled on this specific question, it is likely that such compensation would be exempt from federal income taxation. Because Virginia generally follows federal income tax law, your compensation would only be subject to state income taxes if it is subject to federal taxation. For more information, please contact the IRS or a tax professional.
General Tax Resources
DBHDS does not provide legal or accounting services. The information provided is to be regarded as general information and is not intended as an exhaustive list of tax professionals. An individual should seek professional guidance from a source they deem appropriate.
- The main number for the IRS is 1-800-829-1040. A list of local offices in Virginia can be found here.
The IRS has two free programs for certain individuals:
- The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.
- In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.
To find out more about these programs and to locate one near you, go here.
For questions or assistance, please contact Ruth Anne Walker or call 804-225-2252.
Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program Regulations
To receive notice of any changes to this regulation, sign up as a public user on Virginia’s Regulatory Town Hall.
How to Obtain Medical Records
If you require assistance locating your records, contact the Health Information Management Department of the hospital or training center where you were sterilized. Below is a list of Department hospital and training centers and the Health Information Management (HIM) Department’s number for each.
- Catawba Hospital, in Catawba (Roanoke), Main Number: (540) 375-4200
- Central State Hospital, in Petersburg, Release of Information Officer: (804) 524-7319
- Eastern State Hospital, in Williamsburg, HIM Department: (757) 208-7980
- Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, in Fairfax, Main Number: (703) 207-7100
- Piedmont Geriatric Hospital HIM Department: (434) 767-4411
- Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, in Marion, Release of Information Specialist: (276) 783-1237
- Western State Hospital, in Staunton, HIM Department: (540) 332-8015
- Central Virginia Training Center, in Lynchburg, HIM Department: (434) 947-6284
- Northern Virginia Training Center, in Fairfax, HIM Department: (703) 323-4005
- Southeastern Virginia Training Center, in Chesapeake, HIM Department: (757) 424-8244
- Southwestern Virginia Training Center in Marion, Main Number: (276) 728-3121
- Hiram Davis Medical Center, in Petersburg, HIM Department: (804) 524-7420
If you do not know the name of the hospital or training center, you may contact Annette Leeworthy, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (804) 524-4746.