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Disabled Retired Professional Athletes: What Is Next For Them?

When you think about an individual applying for Social Security Disability, what kind of person do you picture? Perhaps you picture someone much like yourself-a hardworking person, spending countless hours at the office to provide for their family, when an unfortunate injury or impairment prevents them from doing so. Perhaps you picture an electrician, a secretary, a school bus driver, or a carpenter. But...have you ever pictured a professional athlete? After all, they are working individuals who can suffer from disabilities too. Specifically, what happens to NFL players who become disabled and are forced into retirement?

An article from the Newsroom Jersey, dated July 23, 2010, discussed this exact issue (click on "Newsroom Jersey" to read the full article). The article notes the struggles of a number of former NFL players, who were severely injured either during their careers or are experiencing lasting effects from the "wear and tear" of the game. Many of the injured former professional athletes are uninsurable as a result of said injuries, and-to top it off-they've been denied disability severance from the NFL.

With the inability to obtain health insurance, and a denial for disability from their former employers, many disabled former NFL players are placed in the same location as several of our clients. Much like our clients applying for Social Security Disability, former NFL players have paid FICA taxes-making them eligible for disability payments. And, with the help of a Social Security Advocate, former NFL players have been able to rely on government support such as Medicare and Social Security Disability to aide in their continued medical needs.

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