An Important Message from Tony Davis (now with Additional Clarification)

Apr 16, 2008

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.

Tony Davis Nebraska vs. Minnesota


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.

Tony D.

John Hogan’s additional notes:

John Hogan - Disability Attorney

“. . . 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.

John Hogan

Disability Attorney

9 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Ron Porter
    April 17th, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    Ron Porter

    Question for John Hogan…

    What about those of us that applied for disability benefits before the recent magical change of heart?

    I applied for disability benefits in 1996, before the age of 55 (the age limit at the time) and, naturally, was declined. I proceeded through the appeal process — bottom line and $5,000 later, declined.

    Since that time, two knee replacements stressed my wife out so much that she would rather button my shirts than have me suffer through any more “procedures.”

    Is there any hope for individuals like me (I am certain there are many more) to receive any of these new found benefits?

    I feel as though I should have and Indian name – instead of “Dancing with Wolves” it could be “Fall Through the Cracks.”

    Ron Porter

  2. Conrad Dobler
    April 18th, 2008 at 6:25 am #

    Conrad Dobler

    Question for John Hogan

    I applied for disability benefits before I reached the age of 45 or 12 years after leaving the NFL. It took over three years for them to decide to decline my request and they then proceeded to tell me that I was past the age of 45 and did not qualify anymore because of the time limit. Now I received the new application but my age is 57 and it looks as if I am again not allowed to file because I am now past the age of 55! Is this true and if this is true why did they send me the application?

    Conrad Dobler

  3. John Hogan
    April 18th, 2008 at 7:08 am #

    John Hogan Attorney


    You and many other former players! This “Alliance” agreement only covers those under 55, not currently on disability. I think we can all agree that the Plan needs a lot of changes, and a lot of guys are actively working to make them come about.

    Stay tuned to Dave’s blog for further information. We may need more information from former players like you to make sure we cover all the necessary changes.

    John Hogan

  4. John Hogan
    April 18th, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    John Hogan Disability Attorney


    I don’t know why they sent you the application. I don’t know why they are only going for those under 55. (Other than it is “normal” retirement age under the Plan. When they made the announcements about it, they never mentioned any age limit and I wasn’t aware of it until I saw the application form. You should question the NFLPA , the retired player reps and the “Alliance” members.

    As I indicated in my reply to Ron, there are still many changes that need to take place…and we’re working on them.


  5. Dave Pear
    April 18th, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    Dave Pear Seattle Times


    We’re building our case. This fight is for ALL retired players that have been abused by this rotten system called the NFLPA. Please continue with BOLD PERSISTENCE and ZEAL to seek justice. We will prevail even though our former teammate, Gene Upshaw, has conveniently betrayed us. Gene’s legacy will be summed up in one word: GREED! Never stop this fight for justice.

    Dave Pear

  6. Dave Pear
    April 18th, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    Dave Pear Card

    Thank you, John Hogan!

    You continue to provide insight and answers to so many questions from retired players. As we build our case, it is necessary to be accurate and Mr. Hogan has provided his legal expertise of over 25 years as a disability attorney to help answer some of these complex questions.

    I strongly encourage retired players to come forward and ask their questions NOW while Congress is looking into this scandal.

    Dave Pear

  7. Marvin Cobb
    April 18th, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    Marvin Cobb - Bengals

    Thank you, John, for serving as a much-needed resource.

    My question is this: I have moved so many times in the last 5 years that I no longer can find my medical records or documents from my disability filing when I was 44 back in 1998 which was of course denied (which is why I decided to take early retirement). I can’t find my MRI results from 2002 that showed my “stinger” in 1979 (according to the Bengal team doctors) was really a fracture. I don’t have a job, I don’t have medical insurance and I can’t afford to see a doctor on my own. Can I still apply for disability under the new “open window” without any medical records? Who pays for the exams by the Plan’s physicians?

    Marvin Cobb

  8. john hogan
    April 19th, 2008 at 3:04 am #

    John Hogan Disability Attorney


    If I’m doing my math right, you are still under 55, and thus eligible under this “window.” Therefore, you can apply under this Alliance plan, and if you are not on Social Security, the NFLPA will send you to “neutral” physicians. In the past, you had to pay for these exams yourself but now the Plan will pay for them and any travel expenses you might incur.

    Under these circumstances, you might also want to apply for Social Security. It would be difficult to obtain a favorable decision from SSA in time to meet the July 31st deadline but you can generally receive both of these benefits.

    Also, the Plan won’t give you medical insurance but if granted disability by SSA, you can receive Medicaid and/or Medicare.

    If you want more information, give me a call.

    John Hogan

  9. Rob Thompson
    April 19th, 2008 at 7:17 am #

    Marvin good morning,

    I spent years as a social worker and had to find old medical files constantly. I may be wrong but I believe the last doctor you saw – regardless of what it was for – would be able to track the MRI files down for you.

    Rob Thompson