An Important Message from Tony Davis (now with Additional Clarification)
Our friend, Disability Attorney John Hogan, added some clarification to Tony’s urgent message. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see John’s comments.
Anyone who took their pension early and now wants to file for disability needs to call the Bert Bell Retirement Plan office and verbally request that you be sent an application for disability.
Also, anyone who is getting some form of Social Security Disability and wishes to file for NFL disability as well can call the Bert Bell Retirement Plan office and request an application.
Last, if you feel you are disabled due to your playing days call the Bert Bell Retirement Plan office and request an application.
Do not wait. This process takes some time to get through.
Here’s the phone number and contact:
PHONE: Bert Bell Retirement Plan: (800) 638-3186
CONTACT: Ask for Paul Scott; if you’re unable to reach him, then simply request the application.
John Hogan’s additional notes:
“. . . already receiving retirement benefits from the NFLPA, but is on Social Security disability, or wants to convert their retirement benefits to disability benefits,”
YOU MUST BE UNDER 55 YEARS OLD AS OF APRIL 1, 2008 to be eligible for the re-application window open through July 31. Normal Plan provisions preclude a former player from receiving disability benefits after he has begun receiving retirement benefits from the Plan.
If you are receiving Social Security disability,* the Plan will accept this as proof that you are totally and permanently disabled (T&P), and apparently will qualify you for inactive benefits. If you feel you are eligible for the higher-paying football degenerative benefits, that will have to be proven separately. To be eligible for the football degenerative benefits, you will need to establish that you were totally and permanently disabled due to NFL injuries/activities, within 15 years of your last credited season.
For those retirees (under 55) who feel they are disabled, but not receiving Social Security, they can establish their disability using the Plan’s normal procedures : that is, submit to one or more examinations by the Plan’s physicians.
*A former player who is receiving SSDI benefits (Social Security Disability Insurance – which comes with Medicare eligibility) will be able to receive both SS benefits and NFLPA benefits without reduction.
However, if a former player is receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance disability – which comes with Medicaid) the receipt of T&P benefits from the Plan will cause you to lose your SSI and Medicaid.