The NFL and NFL Players Association have reached agreement on how to distribute to retired players the $620 million “Legacy Fund” that was established as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Nothing the league can do can ever fully express our appreciation to the players who helped build our league,” said Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “However, the Legacy Fund is a significant step, especially as the benefits apply to the older players.”
The new benefit has three important points:
- Players will receive these pension increases for their lifetime, not just the duration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that of their eligible beneficiaries.
- Current benefit payments to retirees and their beneficiaries/former family members will immediately be increased to no less than $600 per month, regardless of the form of benefit. In addition, this $600 per month floor on benefits will apply for players who are not yet receiving pension payments, based on electing a life annuity or joint & survivor benefit.
- In addition to the floor of $600 per month, the new Legacy Fund benefit credit will be added to players’ current monthly pension checks. If a player is over 55 and already receiving his pension, then he will receive in his monthly check an additional $124 per season for seasons before 1975, and $108 per season for seasons beginning with 1975 and continuing through 1992. If a player is over 55 and not yet receiving his pension, the additional Legacy Fund payments will be slightly higher when he starts his pension. If a player is under 55 and takes his pension early, his Legacy Fund addition will be lower.
After discussions with the leaders of several retired player groups – including MIKE DITKA, CARL ELLER, BRUCE LAIRD, WILLIE LANIER, GEORGE MARTIN and RON MIX – the formula for pension increases was agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, and was designed to give larger increases to those retirees who played in the league’s earliest years.
This new benefit applies to more than 4,700 players who were vested in the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Player Pension Plan prior to 1993, regardless of whether they are currently receiving a pension check.
Players currently receiving pensions will receive an immediate increase in their payment for seasons before 1993. For players who are not yet receiving their pension, their pension credits for seasons before 1993 will be increased through the Legacy Fund.
Details of the Legacy Fund benefit were communicated today to retirees.
Below are two examples of how the Legacy Fund benefit will greatly increase monthly pension payments to many retired players:
- There is a 10-year veteran player who retired in the 1960s who has been receiving a $200 monthly pension. The Legacy Fund benefit will increase his monthly check to $1,840.
- Another 10-year veteran who retired in the 1970s will see his monthly check increase from $165 to $1,810.