Article 60NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan
Section 1. Maintenance
The parties shall continue under its current terms, except as amended below, for the duration of this Agreement, the NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan (“Disability Plan”), a Taft-Hartley welfare benefit plan, for the payment of disability benefits to former players who are eligible and qualify for such benefits under the terms of the Disability Plan. All past and future amendments to the Disability Plan are adopted in accordance with the terms of the Disability Plan, are incorporated by reference, and made a part of this Agreement; provided, however, the terms used in such Plan and the definitions of such terms are applicable only to such Plan and shall have no applicability to this Agreement unless the context of this Agreement specifically mandates the use of such terms.
Section 2. Benefit Amounts
Unless otherwise stated below, the minimum benefit amounts currently in effect under the Disability Plan before April 1, 2021, shall remain in effect for the duration of this Agreement. The Disability Plan shall be amended to provide that effective April 1, 2031, T&P benefits shall be reduced to the following annual amounts, to be paid in equal monthly installments, unless later agreed to by the parties in a subsequent agreement:
Benefit Category Annual Benefit Amount Active Football $48,000 Inactive Football $48,000 Inactive A $48,000 Inactive B $40,000
Section 3. Medical Records
The parties shall amend Sections 3.3(a), 3.8(a), 5.4(b), 5.4(c) and 6.2(d) of the Disability Plan to require, rather than permit, that a player submit all medical records available at the time of his application that relate to the underlying condition(s) for which the player seeks benefits as set forth in those provisions of the Disability Plan.
Section 4. Social Security Disability Insurance Offset
: The parties shall amend Section 3.6 of the Disability Plan by adding a Section 3.6(i) to state as follows: “Effective January 1, 2021, the monthly benefit amount of a player currently receiving, or later determined to be eligible to receive, the Inactive A benefit (except if the player is approved for an 88 Plan benefit) determined under this Section 3.6 of the Disability Plan shall be reduced until the player attains age 65 by the actual amount of the monthly disability benefit such player receives from Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”). This offset shall exclude any governmental insurance premium. The amount of a player’s monthly SSDI offset for a calendar year shall equal the monthly amount of the player’s SSDI benefit in effect on January 1st of the prior calendar year, less the aforementioned offset.”
Section 5. Whole Person Evaluation
The parties agree to amend Section 3.1 of the Disability Plan to base the determination that a player is totally and permanently disabled on a “whole person” evaluation of the player with such amendment to be effective on April 1, 2024. By June 1, 2020, a three-person panel shall be established to assist the bargaining parties in developing the whole-person evaluation process. The bargaining parties shall appoint one person each to the panel, and shall jointly appoint the third person to the panel. Any dispute between the bargaining parties over the evaluation process shall be decided by a majority vote of the panel. Solely for purposes of evaluating the wholeperson evaluation process, and not for determining a player’s eligibility for T&P benefits, for the Plan Year commencing April 1, 2023, players applying for T&P benefits shall be evaluated under both the evaluation process in effect under the Disability Plan as of the effective date of this Agreement, and under the whole-person evaluation developed under this Section 5. Effective April 1, 2024, the whole-person evaluation process shall be the basis for determining whether a player is totally and permanently disabled. The bargaining parties may re-evaluate the whole-person evaluation process again before April 1, 2025.
Section 6. Social Security Eligibility
The parties shall amend Section 3.2 of the Disability Plan by adding a subsection 3.2(c) to state that as of April 1, 2024, a Social Security determination of disability does not establish a player’s eligibility for benefits under this Disability Plan. This subsection (c) shall apply to all new applications received by the Disability Plan on or after April 1, 2024. Except as stated below, players eligible for benefits under this Section 3.2 based on Social Security determinations received by the Disability Plan prior to April 1, 2024, shall continue to be eligible for benefits so long as they otherwise remain eligible under the terms of the Disability Plan. On or before April 1, 2026, players receiving benefits under the Disability Plan based on a Social Security determination submitted to the Disability Plan prior to April 1, 2024, shall be re-evaluated under the whole-person evaluation process to determine if they continue to meet the Disability Plan’s eligibility requirements for T&P benefits. Players determined to no longer meet the Disability Plan’s eligibility requirements for T&P benefits shall have their benefits terminated upon such determination.
Section 7. Line of Duty
Article 5 of the Disability Plan shall be amended as follows;(a)
Section 5.5(a) shall be amended to state: “With respect to applications received on or after April 1, 2020, a ‘substantial disablement’ is a ‘permanent disability’ other than a neurocognitive, brain-related neurological (excluding nerve damage) or ‘psychiatric impairment’ that:”;(b)
Section 5.5(a)(4)(B) shall be amended to state: “With respect to applications received on and after April 1, 2020, is rated at least 9 points, using the Point System set forth in Appendix A, Version 2 to this Plan”; and(c)
Section 5.5(b) shall be amended to state: “With respect to applications received on or after April 1, 2020, a player who submits sufficient medical records to establish that he has a “substantial disablement” as determined by the Disability Initial Claims Committee or the Disability Board will not be subject to a Medical Evaluation under this Section 5.5(b).”
Section 8. Neurocognitive Disability Benefits
Article 6 of the Disability Plan shall be amended as follows;(a)
Section 6.4(a) shall be amended to increase the minimum amount of the Mild Neurocognitive Impairment Benefit to:
Plan Year(s) Minimum Benefit Amount 2020-2021 $3,000 2022-2023 $3,500 2024-2025 $4,000 2026-2027 $4,500 2028-2030 $5,000(b)
Section 6.4(b) shall be amended to increase the minimum amount of the Moderate Neurocognitive Impairment Benefit to:
Plan Year(s) Minimum Benefit Amount 2020-2021 $5,000 2022-2023 $5,500 2024-2025 $6,000 2026-2027 $6,500 2028-2030 $7,000(c)
Section 6.9 shall be amended to change the application deadline to March 31, 2031;(d)
Section 6.10 shall be amended to change the sunset date to March 31, 2031; and(e)
Effective April 1, 2020, Section 6.1 shall be amended to eliminate the requirements under Sections 6.1(a) and 6.1(b).
Section 9. Treatment for Neurocognitive Disorders
The Disability Plan shall continue to provide up to $10,000 per Plan Year in reimbursements for an eligible player’s out-of-pocket medical expenses relating to the treatment of his neurocognitive disorder that meets the definition of a medical expense under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code. An eligible player under this Section 9 is a player receiving benefits under Article 6 of the Disability Plan. The Plan shall only be a “secondary payor” covering the eligible player’s out-of-pocket medical expenses to the extent not paid by the player’s primary health insurer including, but not limited to, the Insurance Plan, but excluding the HRA Plan.
Section 10. Circuit Breaker(a)
If the annualized increase in Gross Disability Benefit Costs is more than 2% greater than the annualized increase in the Player Cost Amount as defined in Article 12, Section 6(c), over the period beginning on April 1, 2020 and ending on March 31, 2026, then the Disability Plan shall be amended effective for T&P applications received on or after April 1, 2026, but not applications received prior to this date, to reduce the Inactive A annual benefit amount to $115,000 before any offset. Gross Disability Benefit Costs shall be defined as the T&P and LOD benefits paid from the Disability Plan.(b)
If the annualized increase in Gross Disability Benefit Costs is less than the annualized increase in the Player Cost Amount minus 3%, over the period beginning on April 1, 2020 and ending on March 31, 2026, then the Disability Plan shall be amended effective for T&P applications received on or after April 1, 2026, but not applications received prior to this date, to increase the minimum Inactive B annual benefit amount to $70,000.