Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"), NFL players are provided many benefits that often get overlooked. It is vital that NFL players learn and understand all of the benefits to which they are entitled in order to enjoy all the perks that being an NFL player has to offer. These benefits also aid in the wealth creation and preservation process if utilized properly. Here is a list of a several benefits available to you that you should start taking full advantage of as soon as possible.*
Tuition Assistance Plan
The NFL Player Tuition Assistance Plan will provide up to $20,000 per League Year as reimbursement for tuition, fees, and books to any player who earns an average of “C” or better per semester at an eligible educational institution. This benefit is great for players who want to continue building their human capital! A player must have earned at least one Credited Season prior to taking advantage of this benefit.
NFL Player Insurance Plan
Your life, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), medical and dental coverage is effective on the day of the first regular or postseason game that you have a Qualifying Benefit Status. Your spouse and children are eligible dependents under the insurance plan.
Life - A rookie player will be entitled to $600,000 in coverage, and a veteran player’s coverage will be increased by $200,000 for each Credited Season up to a maximum of $1,600,000 in coverage.
Medical - Each player is required to pay an annual deductible of $850 per individual per plan year and $1,700 per family per plan year, with maximum out-of-pocket expenses of $2,000 (including the deductible) for each covered individual. A prescription drug card will be provided to covered individuals with a three-tier, $15/$25/$50 co-pay. One physical per year for the covered player and his spouse will be covered. The maximum lifetime infertility benefit is $25,000.
Dental - Usual, customary and reasonable (“UCR”) dental expenses for all players and their eligible dependents will be reimbursed to players as follows: (1) Preventive care paid at 100% of UCR, (2) General services paid at 85% of UCR, and (3) Major services paid at 50% of UCR.
NFL Player Severance Plan
Severance pay is paid to you in a lump sum payment at the end of your career.
Each eligible player will receive severance pay in the amounts as follows: (a) $17,500 per Credited Season for each of the seasons 2012 through 2013; (b) $20,000 per Credited Season for each of the seasons 2014 through 2016; and (c) $22,500 per Credited Season for each of the seasons 2017 through 2020. Only players with two or more Credited Seasons will be eligible for severance pay under this plan.
Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account ("GU HRA")
The GU HRA will reimburse medical care expenses incurred by eligible players and their spouses and dependents.
The Club will contribute $25,000 for Credited Seasons 2004-2015 (excluding the 2010 season) and $30,000 for Credited Seasons earned from 2016-2020, up to a maximum of $350,000 for 2011 and thereafter. A player must have three Credited Seasons to be eligible for this benefit.
NFL Player Annuity Program
This annuity program provides long-term, tax-deferred earnings on the contributions of your club until you choose to receive this benefit.
All allocations to the Annuity Plan are made by the Club. The amount of the allocation will be: $65,000, for each of the Annuity Years 2011 through 2013; $80,000, for each of the Annuity Years 2014 through 2017; and $95,000, for each of the Annuity Years 2018 through 2020. A player must have four Credited Seasons to be eligible for this benefit.
You can begin receiving annual distributions as early as age 35, or five years after your last credited season in the league, whichever is later. However, we recommend delaying taking money out in order to maximize your benefit.
NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan
The NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan (the “Savings Plan”) helps you save for retirement in a tax-favored manner through player and Club contributions.
A player with at least two credited seasons in the league can contribute up to a maximum of $26,000 in pre-tax dollars per year and receive a matching team contribution of $2 for each $1 the player contributes to a plan (the team can contribute up to a maximum of $52,000 per year). Contributions limits increase to $28,000 per year for the 2019–2020 plan years (teams will contribute up to $56,000 per year).
You can access your retirement benefits as early as age 45, but we recommend delaying your distributions to maximize your tax-deferred savings. Note that any funds taken out before age 591/2 may be subject to IRS penalties.
Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan (Pension Plan)
The Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan provides a pension, generally beginning between ages 55 and 65, at your option. It also provides certain disability benefits, and widow’s and surviving children’s benefits. A player must have three Credited Seasons to be eligible for this benefit.
All contributions to the Retirement Plan are made by the Clubs in the following amounts: $470 for the Credited Season in 2011, $560 for each Credited Season from 2012 to 2014, $660 for each Credited Season from 2015 to 2017 and $760 for each Credited Season 2018 to 2020. Although you can begin receiving your monthly benefits for life as early as age 55, we recommend delaying your distributions to maximize your benefit.
NFL Player Disability Benefits
The Retirement Plan provides three types of disability benefits: (a) Total and Permanent Disability Benefits (T&P), (b) Line-of-Duty Disability Benefits, (c) Neurocognitive Disability Benefits. These extensive benefits provide financial payouts and assistance to players who are rendered disabled by injuries suffered as a result of football-related ($260,000 max benefit) and even non-football related ($165,000 max benefit) activities while an NFL player.
Group Licensing Agreement
Active NFL players will receive an annual royalty check simply for being a member of the NFLPA for allowing the League to use their images for marketing and promotion of the NFL.
Many more benefits (e.g long term care, neurological benefits, joint replacement, and more) exist for current and former players that aren't outlined here. For a comprehensive list of benefits and to learn more, go to NFLPlayerBenefits.com and register, or login using your username and password. You can also contact the NFL Player Benefits Office at their toll-free number (800) 638-3186. They will answer any questions you may have about your eligibility or your benefits. Additionally, these benefits are in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") and are subject to change in the new CBA.
*Please note that each plan has separate eligibility requirements. With exception to the Insurance Package and the Disability portion of the Bell/Rozelle Plan, all benefits are based on attaining a specific number of Credited Seasons. A Credited Season is defined as any season in which your name appears on the Active, Injured Reserve (IR) or Physically Unable to Perform List (“PUP”) in three or more regular-season or post- season (excluding the Pro Bowl) games. Additionally, a Credited Season may be earned if you have been released injured and paid the equivalent of at least three game checks.
Reggie D. Ford, CPA is the Founder and President of Rosecrete Wealth Management. Rosecrete provides personalized, comprehensive financial services to affluent and high net worth clients. Rosecrete's passion is helping younger generations with early retirement planning.
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