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DOJ Seal, September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001

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Compensation for Deceased Victims

Distribution Plan Information

The Personal Representative (PR) completes the Distribution Plan, found on page 13 of the Compensation Form for Deceased Victims. The PR must distribute the award according to state law. The PR will provide a proposed distribution plan to the Special Master for review prior to payment. The Special Master will then review the plan. If there is a will, then the distribution plan will usually follow the will for the estate, or non-economic, portion of the award. If there is no will, then the distribution plan will follow state intestacy law for the estate or non-economic portion of the award. The economic loss portion of the award will be distributed according to the state's wrongful death statute.

There are three components of the VCF Compensation Award

1. Non-Economic Award The $250,000 presumed award on behalf of the victim is generally distributed in accordance with the victim's will, or in the absence of a will, state intestacy law.

2. Non-Economic Awards for Dependents The $100,000 additional non-economic award for each dependent is paid directly to the qualifying dependents. If there are dependents who are minor children, please see below for further guidance necessary to facilitate the payment of their awards.

3. Economic Loss Award The wrongful death law of the state of the victim's domicile generally governs the distribution of the economic loss portion of the award.

If all parties eligible for the wrongful death portion of the award agree to an alternative distribution plan, the Personal Representative may submit to the Fund proof that the alternative plan has been consented to by the PR and all other inclusive parties. Please note that money for minor children cannot be redistributed to other parties.

Example: A married victim domiciled in New York without any children and with surviving parents.


With respect to the non-economic award for this claim, the $250,000 presumed award is generally distributed in accordance with the victim's will, or in the absence of a will, state intestacy law. (New York intestacy law provides that the spouse is the sole beneficiary when there are no children). The $100,000 additional non-economic award is paid directly to the victim's spouse.


Wrongful death law generally governs the distribution of the economic portion of the award. Under New York wrongful death law, when a decedent is survived by only a spouse and parent(s), the victim's parents may also be entitled to a portion of the economic award to the extent that the parents have suffered a pecuniary loss. See generally N.Y. Est. Powers & Trusts Law 5-4.4(a)(McKinney 2002). Pecuniary loss in New York is defined broadly and may include cases where the parent is not dependent, but may reasonably expect support from the decedent in the future. The amount, if any, of an economic loss award that a parent may be entitled to under New York wrongful death law is a fact-based decision that depends on the unique family circumstances of each case.


As a result, the economic loss portion of the award will be deposited in the estate's account and overseen by the surrogate court to be distributed according to New York law. Any dispute would be settled by the surrogate court.


To expedite payment, the PR may also send the Fund proof of a plan of distribution that has been consented to by the victim's parent or parents. The Fund may approve direct payments of the entire award after receiving a written consensual plan, signed and notarized by both the PR and the decedent's parent(s).


If any dispute should arise that cannot be resolved, the Fund would release the payment of the award to a court supervised account and the dispute would be settled by the appropriate surrogate court.



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