The 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is going into its third year. How has it worked out for you and your families? How will some of the most recent disability rulings affect future cases? And just how did that Legacy Fund work out for each of you? John Hogan has been advocating for a total reform of the current NFL/NFLPA Disability Plan and has been successful in many of his cases representing retired NFL players in their Disability and Social Security Disability cases. In this session, John discusses some of the most recent cases and their impact on all retired players. We were hoping to have Jimmie Giles join John on stage but his health and upcoming surgeries kept him at home. John discusses some of the strange details of how the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan and its Board actually runs under the dominant hand of The Groom Law Group with absolutely no checks and balances nor oversight from a so-called Board. If you have never had to apply for disability benefits from the NFL, this discussion is an eye-opener. And if you’ve applied for benefits, most of this information will sound eerily familiar. (You can read all Panelist biographies by clickingHERE.) . YouTube Hints: You can enlarge the video to Full Screen mode simply by clicking on that Full Screen icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. You can also watch videos in HD (if available) by clicking that gear icon in the lower right and then selecting the highest resolution available. And each YouTube video can actually be paused or stopped at any point and you can also jump to any spot where you may have left earlier so there’s no need to watch through an entire video. .
EDITOR’S NOTE:Fourth & Goal’s Bruce Laird sent in his comments and observations after reading the recent ESPN article from last Friday, Mixed Messages on Brain Injuries.(Click HERE to read the post that includes a link to the article.)Bruce and Sam Havrilak were also unceremoniously kicked out of the Baltimore chapter of the NFLPA for their outspoken and proactive activities for retired players. Here are some comments and observations from Bruce:
Some bits-and-pieces of information that have come in, starting with an interesting observation from disability attorney John Hogan (if anyone has heard anything about these reps on disability improvements, please feel free to let us know): . Article 61, Sec. 5 of the new CBA, which became effective over a year ago, provided for “further disability improvements” and that each side would appoint representatives not later than October 31, 2011 to consider these further improvements. I have no idea who was appointed and I have no idea if they have even met. Perhaps more importantly, no one we know has heard from ANY retired player who might have been consulted on what further improvements are needed. .
======================================== . At Sean Pamphilon’s movie preview in Pittsburgh last week, Dave also had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Leonard Marshall (1983 – 1994: New York Giants, New York Jets, Washington Redskins). Leonard’s book When the Cheering Stops: Bill Parcells, the 1990 New York Giants, and the Price of Greatness (co-authored with journalist William Bendetson) was released this past spring and provides a unique inside view of football from his days on the field interwoven with intimate stories about life after the game off the field. Here are two of Leonard’s interviews from last spring: .
A year later, we’re still learning more about the Legacy Fund every day and most of it isn’t coming from the NFL or the NFLPA. Disability Attorney John Hogan recently came across the one retired player receiving disability benefits who actually also qualified for some Legacy Benefits. Will wonders never cease? We’re passing along John’s observations to keep retirees informed. . Also attached is a copy of another document that Dave received last week actually detailing the ins-and-outs of adding Medicare Prescription Benefits. Seems they’re better at communicating how to get on the government dole than sending better instructions for navigating their own benefits system and process. Unbelievable! . Here’s John Hogan’s latest information on the Legacy Fund first: . A lot of guys on NFL disability have been asking questions about whether they’re entitled to receive any additional benefit from the Legacy Fund. The simple answer appears to be that most will not. Unless a player had a long career AND the amount of his benefit credits PLUS the Legacy Fund benefits is greater than the monthly amount he receives on disability, will that player get an increase. The only case where I have seen this happen is where the player is on the lowest-paying classification of Total and Permanent Disability – formerly known as “Inactive” – and has had his benefit permanently reduced by 25% for taking a one-time early pension draw AND if that player had a lengthy career (i.e. – 12 years in one case). . Also, if the Legacy Benefit calculation comes to more than the amount of the monthly disability benefit, the player will only receive the additional difference – the total Legacy Benefit is not paid IN ADDITION TO the disability benefit. . And here’s a copy of the NFL’s instruction sheet on Medicare Prescription Plan.We’ve uploaded this 6-pager to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the lower right corner of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (just hit the ESC key to close): . NFL on Medicare & SSI .
Here’s the broadcast on Disability Issues from our Independent Football Veterans Conference this past April in Las Vegas at the South Point. This is definitely the other topic that generates the most questions from retired players. . Disability attorney and retired player advocate John Hogan has been in practice for 35 years after also having worked inside the Social Security system. In this 54-minute open panel discussion, John discusses a wide range of topics regarding covering disability benefits, your rights, Social Security Disability, as well as the serious flaws within the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. . Dave joins John as a typical example of what most retired players have encountered in their battle to get access to their earned benefits that the NFL and NFLPA continue to deny. . There are a lot of questions from retired players. .
We’re all for great customer service and constructive feedback but if a survey’s not going to accomplish anything, why bother? Last week, Dave received this request to participate in a new survey from the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan Office in Baltimore: . Dear NFL Player, . In hopes of learning more about your experience with the Plan Office in Baltimore, we are conducting a brief survey. Your responses will help us determine areas the Plan Office in Baltimore has shown exceptional service as well as areas where there is room for improvement. We encourage you to click on the link below and provide candid feedback on the questions asked. The survey should only take 5 – 10 minutes to complete, and your responses will be greatly valued. The survey opens today, and will remain open for until the end of next week, closing Friday, July 6th at 5PM PST. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact our survey administrator (information provided below) .continue reading »
. A lot of us have been following Andrew Stewart’s long and winding case against the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. We first started posting a lot of the documents from Andrew’s applications for T&P football degenerative benefits back in Sept. 2010 with the last update of his hearing in March of this year at which point, he was left waiting for a decision from the judge in his hearing. Here are the background posts from 2010: . Andrew Stewart: Benefits Denied -clickHEREto read. . The New Dr. No.: Andrew Stewart Part II -clickHEREto read. . And here’s the story on Andrew’s hearing in March of this year: . Andrew Stewart: We ARE All Dog Food to the NFL -clickHEREto read. .continue reading »
Here’s a yearend update from Hausfeld LLP and Zelle Hofmann including articles from disability attorney John Hogan and George Visger. . We’ve uploaded their newsletter to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (and just hit the ESC key to close): . The Voice – NFL Retiree Newsletter, Vol 1, Issue 2 .
Some of you have already received your first letter from the NFL/NFLPA Benefits Office. The letter appears to be a standard letter that declares how your funds will be paid out by the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan. (Thanks to John Griffin for getting a copy of his letter to us so quickly!) . Attorney John Hogan was gracious enough to do a quick review: . “I don’t see any release or anything suspicious here. Just make sure that you answer all the questions honestly and accurately.” . We’ve uploaded a copy of the 2-page form to Scribd for easy viewing and to make it downloadable for printing. You can also click the Enlarge icon in the center of the menu at the bottom of the viewing screen to go Full Screen for easier reading (and just hit the ESC key to close): . NFL/NFLPA Legacy Fund Benefits Letter .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Several weeks back, the NFLPA put out a request to local chapters for three questions to send along to their big meeting in Washington DC. Disability Attorney John Hogan actually had a few questions to point out in the new CBA. John also has some observations from a recent case that was “approved” by the Disability Board: . 1. The CBA contains some significant changes in disability – specifically, there will no longer be a requirement to show that your disability is ALL football-related. Why weren’t these changes made retroactive so that guys who are disabled but denied football degenerative might be able to get a better deal? .continue reading »
Over the past couple of weeks, absolutely nothing of any serious significance or substance out of the NFLPA regarding retired players pensions especially that new Legacy Fund, other than a lot of the same chest-thumping and empty rhetoric that everyone has been hearing since the lockout ended late this summer. It would certainly seem like the lawyers have taken over once again and put out that Say Nothing Memo. . There was a meeting of the Seattle Chapter (probably much like other chapter meetings across the country) where the usual 8 members – out of approximately 48 NFLPA members listed in the Seattle area – showed up and voted on a few things that we’re sure will make a huge difference to all retirees: The meeting introduced some Business Opportunities (Hair Products!), the Touchdowns for Homes Programs, as well as some discussion on the School of Legends program. We also finally have some backhanded acknowledgment from the NFLPA HQ about loss of hearing from football (a shiny new discount hearing aid program!). . continue reading »
EDITOR’S NOTE: We just received an update from disability attorney John Hogan on another of his recent disability applications on behalf of another retired football player. He also included a copy of the Disability Board’s short 3-page boilerplate ruling. .
Attached is a recent decision I received from the Bell/Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan’s Disability Initial Claims Committee (DICC) finding that a former player was entitled to Inactive Benefits. (It was filed prior to Sept. 1st, so the new CBA rules do not apply and we are seeking Football Degenerative benefits.) continue reading »
A few comments from the notes I took down during the Santa Clara Law Sports Law Symposium: .
I was able to catch De alone for a few minutes outside at the coffee urn. He acted like he didn’t know who I was. Maybe he doesn’t??? In any event, I told him that I would really appreciate the opportunity to sit down with him and discuss disability. He told me to send him an e-mail! .
I received compliments from at least two guys who were amazed that I could hold my tongue during my presentation! I did directly ask him one question in my presentation – and he never answered it. It was about the new neuro-cognitive benefit – which I think is more PR or window dressing than a measure which will actually help any retired players. .
I thought he was taking down a lot of notes during my brief presentation – in fact, one of the audience members said that he was. However, when I looked over at him after I was finished, all I saw on the paper were doodles! .
De was the keynote speaker before our panel – the topic was concussions. However, other than saying that concussions were the NFL’s most significant health issue in the past five years, he did not speak at all about concussions. Rather, he said, “We need a broader discussion on health issues…(including) diabetes and heart disease… (as well as obesity).” .
One former player said that his talk was more like a commencement address, as it was filled with generalities and platitudes: “Our proper goal should be what is right and what is fair.” (Duh!) He also said to be, “…radical in your thoughts, unyielding in your criticism, with the goal of seeking justice.” .
Someone in the audience called out “My cow died!” .
De continued, unfazed, until the guy yelled out again “My cow died!” .
Somewhat rattled, De asked “What do you mean?” To which the heckler replied “I don’t need your bull anymore!” .
Now I can Dig That! .
Not a word about retired players. Not a word about the Legacy fund. Most unfortuately, there was no time for questions and De made a dash for the door with Delvin Williams and Irv Muchnick trying to ask him questions. .
Well, at least he showed up… .
Disability Attorney & Retired Players Advocate . . .
EDITOR’S NOTE:George Visger caught up with me on the phone this morning just before arriving at a job site. George is back at work trying hard to help his family recover from losing their home after suffering another near-fatal brain shunt failure last October. George is one of the most remarkably intelligent and resilient guys I’ve ever met and his tenacity comes through in everything he does. I often talk to him about what might have happened with his life had he never played professional football and sustained his life-altering brain damage. He starts off with an answer to John Hogan’s earlier post (click HERE to read John Hogan’s comment). .
From TheUnion.com: George Visger, a Grass Valley resident, shows his 1981 San Francisco 49ers team photo and Super Bowl ring. Visger has undergone nine brain surgeries since he stepped off the football field for the final time.