Former NFL Players File Class Action Suit Over Disability Benefits

    February 10, 2023, 09:00 AM

    Ten former NFL players filed a proposed class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland claiming, among other allegations, that the NFL’s disability plan engages in an “overly aggressive and disturbing pattern” of arbitrarily denying benefits for players and former players covered by the plan.

    The former players also allege that when players seek disability benefits, they are forced to navigate a “sham” claims process that is full of lies, material misrepresentations, clear violations of federal law, and reliance on conflicted advisers and physicians.  Furthermore, the former players claim that the disability plan itself is illogically interpreted and applied in an “ever-shifting inconsistent” manner.

    The complaint also alleges that the NFL’s disability board highly compensates handpicked doctors to examine the players and overwhelmingly recommend that their benefit claims be denied.  The former players also claim to have “powerful statistical evidence” that the more a board pays a given physician, the more likely it is that the physician will return a “high rate” of claim denial recommendations.

    It is important that players and former players clearly understand their benefits under and the terms of the collecting bargaining agreement to which they are subject.  Unfortunately, due to the short nature of many NFL careers, not all players will qualify for benefits beyond their playing careers.  However, it is important that every player understand what they do qualify for and make ensure their access to those benefits which they are entitled.  If those benefits are not accessible, then players sometimes need to take legal action to enforce their rights to benefits.