If you lost a loved one to cancer or other illness linked to the 9/11 dust cloud, you may be eligible to pursue compensation on their behalf, as well as for the economic loss you suffered. However, only the personal representative of the estate is permitted to pursue a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. But in some cases, there may be more than one personal representative — when this happens, the co-personal representatives must agree on who will take the lead in communicating with the VCF and receive the compensation issued for the claim.
What Role Does the Lead Personal Representative Serve?
If you’re the spouse or dependent of a responder or survivor who passed away due to a 9/11-related illness, you must obtain Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary before you can file a VCF deceased claim. Importantly, the VCF recently updated its resources, requiring a Lead Personal Representative Designation Form to be filed with a claim.
In the event multiple personal representatives have been designated by the court, the individual chosen as the lead personal representative by the others for the purpose of filing a VCF claim must also be a person listed on the court order. While the designation of a lead personal representative does not give that individual any additional authority over a VCF deceased claim, they serve the following roles:
- They receive all correspondence from the VCF
- They serve as the VCF’s primary point of contact
- They provide direction to the VCF regarding payment of the claim
- They distribute payment based on the court order and applicable laws
All personal representatives receive notification by mail when the VCF validates the co-personal representatives and designates the lead personal representative. Each can also request access to the claim in the VCF’s online claims system. This can give them the ability to upload documents, view correspondence, and check the claim status. The co-personal representatives also have the authority to call the VCF helpline for status updates regarding the claim, along with the lead personal representative.
What Documents Does the Lead Personal Representative Need to File with the VCF?
Each personal representative may submit a separate Lead Personal Representative Form with their own signature if they choose. Otherwise, the VCF will accept one document that includes the initials and signatures of all personal representatives who have been court-appointed. Critically, if the personal representatives submit their own forms, the same lead personal representative must be listed on each.
In addition to the VCF’s Lead Personal Representative Designation Form, other documents must also be submitted to the VCF. These documents include a copy of the court order appointing the multiple personal representatives and a claim form signature page that is initialed and signed by each personal representative. The VCF will also accept individual signature pages from each personal representative.
Forms that are required to be submitted with the VCF deceased claim (such as exhibits), must be signed by the lead personal representative. But they do not require the individual signatures of each co-personal representative. Only one copy of each form is considered sufficient for the purpose of filing a claim with the VCF.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you lost a loved one to a 9/11-related health condition you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation from the VCF. However, the regulations associated with filing a VCF deceased claim can be confusing and complicated. A 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney can guide you through the VCF claims process and help ensure you receive the maximum award to which you’re entitled.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF cases for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.