Pension plan defines ‘calstris’ pension,but will it apply to players?
The NFLPA and other players’ unions are seeking clarification on a pension plan that defines “calstrus” as a player with at least one injury that will require a disability pension, and which also allows players to take out medical insurance.
The pension plan is defined as a “Pension Plan to be established by and for the benefit of retired players, retired players’ employees and their dependents,” according to a news release issued Tuesday by the NFLPA.
“Players who are unable to receive medical insurance coverage on the regular market due to injury will have their pension contribution automatically calculated at the time of the injury and not at the end of the contract,” the release said.
“The plan is subject to the terms and conditions of any medical insurance policy which may be in effect and the terms of any other applicable contracts.”
Players’ union executive director DeMaurice Smith said the pension plan could be considered a “non-pension benefit,” but the NFL is not obligated to follow the guidelines set out by the union.
“I don’t think it’s a good use of their resources to create a separate pension plan for retired players,” Smith said.
In a statement, the NFL said the guidelines “have been developed for player benefit purposes.”
“The NFLPA will work with the union to resolve any confusion,” the statement said.
The NFL also issued a news brief Tuesday to clarify the definition of the plan.
The guidelines for the NFL’s pension plan are separate from the union’s pension plans, but they share certain elements, such as a defined-benefit pension, which can be paid out in lump sum.
The league’s new pension plan also allows a player to use the pension funds to pay medical expenses, such a car insurance policy or prescription drugs.
Smith said that while the union has not yet been given the specifics, “we will certainly look at what’s in the [pension] plan.”
The league, however, has not released any specific details on how it would implement the new pension plans.
In addition to the NFL, the union is asking the NFL Players Association to work with its players and the league’s pension department to define the “calstris” definition.
“We believe that the current pension plan should reflect that the term ‘calstri’ includes all players,” the union said in a news statement.
The NHLPA said it would not agree to the union and the NFLP’s proposal.
“For the NHLPA, this is not about the rules.
This is about the fact that there are players with injuries that require medical care,” said Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice-president of player safety and health.
“It’s not an issue of players’ health.”
The NHL’s pension fund has not been frozen and it is likely to be in the red for the rest of the season, he said.
That means it will need to pay out a lot of money, which is why it is important to work through this, he added.
The union said it is not sure whether it would be able to afford to pay players for their medical expenses if it did not receive the plan from the NHL.
“What the NHL is doing with its new pension is very significant,” said Smith.
“This is one of the first things the union needs to do, because there is a lot going on.
We’re just not quite sure how much the NHL and NHLPA can afford.”
The NFL has not said how much it plans to pay each player, but Shanahan said the league was not aware of the pension plans’ current size.
The minimum pension payment for a retired player is $12,000 per year.
The current minimum for players with at-risk injuries is $5,000, and players with chronic conditions can be eligible for more, depending on their level of risk.
If a player has a disability, the maximum annual pension payment is $23,000.
The average salary for a player is about $2.8 million, and the average pension payout is $1.9 million.
The AFL Players Association, which represents the AFL’s current players, has also not commented on the pension issue.