Frequently Asked Questions
 

LIENS FAQs


8.01. What is a Lien?

A Lien is a legal right that someone can claim to a settlement award (here, Monetary Awards and Derivative Claimant Awards) in order to secure repayment of a debt.  Such claims are usually made by a third-party creditor.  

A common type of Lien that may be associated with a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award is a medical (or healthcare) Lien.

Non-medical Liens may also apply to an Award.

8.02. What are non-medical Liens?

There are four types of non-medical Liens that the Program will honor.  These Liens will be paid from a Settlement Class Member’s Monetary Award, Supplemental Monetary Award, or Derivative Claimant Award.
  • Attorney Liens: Liens for attorney’s fees and costs for work performed in connection with the NFL concussion litigation and/or the Program.  The Program will not honor liens asserted for attorney’s fees for legal work in other areas, such as a divorce or a business deal, unless they are enforced as Judgment Liens.
  • Child Support Liens: Liens from a federal or state child support agency for unpaid child support debts. 
  • Tax Liens: Liens from a federal or state tax agency for unpaid tax debts.
  • Judgment Liens: Liens for debts based on final judgments entered in federal or state court.

8.03. Are there any purported non-medical Liens the Claims Administrator will not honor? 

The Claims Administrator will not honor:  
  • Liens asserted against attorneys representing Settlement Class Members in the Program or against any individual or entity other than a Settlement Class Member;
  • Creditor claims against Settlement Class Members that have not been reduced to judgment.  For example, claims based on lending agreements with Settlement Class Members or contracts with Settlement Class Members for anything other than legal work performed in connection with the NFL concussion litigation and/or the Program; or

8.04. How does a lienholder notify the Claims Administrator of a valid non-medical Lien?

To provide notice of a valid Attorney Lien, an attorney must file a Notice of Attorney’s Lien with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, MDL 2323.  Attorney Liens filed with any other court or served by any other method are not binding on the Claims Administrator.

To provide notice of a valid Child Support Lien, Tax Lien, or Judgment Lien, a lienholder must notify the Claims Administrator of a valid non-medical Lien by: 
  • Email to ClaimsAdministrator@NFLConcussionSettlement.com, using a secure and encrypted method, and include “ATTN: NFL Liens” in the subject line;
  • Mail to NFL Concussion Settlement, Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 25369, Richmond, VA  23260, ATTN: NFL Liens;
  • Delivery by overnight carrier to NFL Concussion Settlement, c/o BrownGreer PLC, 250 Rocketts Way, Richmond, VA  23231, ATTN: NFL Liens
  • Fax to (804) 521-7299, ATTN:  NFL Liens; or
  • By direct upload to a secure web-based page to be established by the Claims Administrator for this purpose. 
Child support agencies can provide a mass Income Withholding Order accompanied by a data file with the name and Tax Identification Number of the persons who owe child support debts in the respective state to provide notice of Child Support Liens.

8.05. What information do I have to provide to assert a valid non-medical Lien?

A valid non-medical Lien assertion must include: 

Claimant-Identifying Information
  • The Retired NFL Football Player’s or Derivative Claimant’s full name; and
  • The Retired NFL Football Player’s or Derivative Claimant’s Social Security Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, Foreign Identification Number, or Settlement Program ID; and
Documentary Proof
  • The amount the Retired NFL Football Player or Derivative Claimant owes the lienholder; and 
  • Documents establishing that there is a legal obligation to withhold payment of all or part of a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award to a Settlement Class Member under applicable federal or state law.  The required documents vary depending on the type of Lien:
  • Attorney Liens: A copy of the attorney’s retainer agreement signed by the Settlement Class Member, an itemized statement of costs, if the attorney is seeking reimbursement of costs in addition to fees, and a notice of attorney’s lien filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, MDL 2323.
  • Child Support Liens: An individual Income Withholding Order, a Notice of Income Assignment, or a substantially similar document from the appropriate federal or state child support agency or court establishing the current child support debt.  
  • Tax Liens: A Notice of Levy, a Notice of Freeze, or a substantially similar document from the federal or state tax agency establishing the current amount of the tax debt.
  • Judgment Liens: A file-stamped writ of garnishment as entered by a court of competent jurisdiction naming the NFL Concussion Settlement Program or the Claims Administrator for the Program as garnishee. 
You must provide complete claimant-identifying information and documentary proof of your Lien by the deadline(s) established by the Claims Administrator.  The Claims Administrator cannot honor a Lien if the lienholder has not provided complete claimant-identifying information and documentary proof before it begins the process to pay the affected Settlement Class Member.  

8.06. What happens after I submit the required information and documents for a valid non-medical Lien?

The Claims Administrator will place a hold on any payment(s) that may be made to the affected Settlement Class Member and issue a Notice of Lien to the affected Settlement Class Member and the lienholder.

8.07. What is the process for evaluating valid non-medical Liens?

The Claims Administrator reviews each Lien assertion, but it can only honor Liens that are supported by sufficient claimant-identifying information and documentary proof and received before it begins the process to pay the affected Settlement Class Member.

If the lienholder does not include sufficient claimant-identifying information, the Claims Administrator will contact the lienholder to request it.  If the lienholder fails to provide sufficient claimant-identifying information within 20 days of this request (23 days if the request is mailed), the Claims Administrator will not withhold funds from any Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award or take any other action related to that particular Lien. 

If the lienholder provides sufficient claimant-identifying information, but does not provide the required documentary proof, the Claims Administrator will contact the lienholder to request such proof if and when the affected Settlement Class Member submits a Claim Package or Derivative Claim Package.  If the lienholder fails to provide the requested documentation within 20 days (23 days if the request is mailed), the Claims Administrator will not withhold funds from any Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award or take any other action related to that particular Lien.

After the lienholder provides sufficient claimant-identifying information and the required documentary proof, the Claims Administrator will issue a Notice of Lien.  This Notice will provide information about the Lien, how to notify the Claims Administrator of the Settlement Class Member’s consent to or dispute of the Lien, and additional information about how the Lien impacts payment of any Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award. 

8.08. I am an attorney currently representing a Settlement Class Member.  What do I need to do after I receive a Notice of Lien asserted against my client?

You need to confer with your client and respond to the notice by the deadline provided, telling the Claims Administrator whether your client consents to or disputes the Lien.  

To protect your attorney's fees in the face of any valid Lien, you must assert a Lien for attorney’s fees and costs before the Claims Administrator begins the process to pay the affected Settlement Class Member.

8.09. How do I dispute a non-medical Lien?

A Settlement Class Member can tell the Claims Administrator that he/she disputes the Lien by email to ClaimsAdministrator@NFLConcussionSettlement.com, or by mail to NFL Concussion Settlement, Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 25369, Richmond, VA  23260, ATTN: NFL Liens.

After receiving notice of the dispute, the Claims Administrator will issue a Notice of Duty to Resolve Lien Dispute.  This Notice explains that the Claims Administrator will withhold enough money to pay the Lien, to the extent funds are available, until the dispute is resolved.

8.10. How do I resolve a dispute over a non-medical Lien?

The Claims Administrator will not participate in the resolution of non-medical Lien disputes.  The Claims Administrator will withhold the disputed Lien amount until it receives written confirmation from the Settlement Class Member and the lienholder that the dispute is resolved. 

Attorney Liens:  If the Settlement Class Member disputes or fails to consent to an Attorney Lien, we refer the dispute to the Magistrate Judge for resolution pursuant to a dispute resolution process to be approved by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, MDL 2323, and administered by the Magistrate Judge.  We withhold an amount sufficient to satisfy the Attorney Lien (as reflected in the holdback amount for Non-Medical Liens in the Notice of Monetary Award Claim Determination or Notice of Derivative Claimant Award Determination), to the extent funds are available, until we receive either (1) notice of satisfaction and discharge of the Non-Medical Lien from the lienholder; (2) a written agreement signed by both parties specifying the distribution of the withheld funds; or (3) a copy of a final decision from the Magistrate Judge determining the amount, if any, to be paid to the lienholder.

Child Support Liens, Tax Liens, and Judgment Liens:  If the Settlement Class Member disputes or fails to consent to a Child Support Lien, Tax Lien, or Judgment Lien, we withhold an amount sufficient to satisfy the Non-Medical Lien (as reflected in the holdback amount for Non-Medical Liens in the Notice of Monetary Award Claim Determination or Notice of Derivative Claimant Award Determination), to the extent funds are available, until we receive either (1) notice of satisfaction and discharge of the Non-Medical Lien from the lienholder; (2) a written agreement signed by both parties specifying the distribution of the withheld funds; or (3) a copy of a final decision from the applicable federal or state agency or court determining the amount, if any, to be paid to the lienholder.

8.11. How and when does the Claims Administrator pay a valid non-medical Lien?

Undisputed Liens
: If the Settlement Class Member consents to payment of the Lien, the Claims Administrator will deduct the Lien amount from any Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award and pay the Lien amount to the lienholder.  The Settlement Class Member must respond to the Notice of Lien and consent to the Lien before the Claims Administrator will pay it. 

Disputed Liens: After a dispute is resolved, the Claims Administrator will either (1) pay the entire withheld amount to the Settlement Class Member after receiving a notice of satisfaction and discharge of the Lien from the lienholder; (2) pay the Settlement Class Member and/or the lienholder according to the terms of their written agreement; or (3) pay the Settlement Class Member and/or the lienholder according to the terms of a final decision from the Magistrate Judge for Attorney Liens disputes or from the applicable federal or state agency or court for Child Support Liens, Tax Liens, and Judgment Liens.

8.12. How does the Claims Administrator pay more than one valid non-medical Lien asserted against a single Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award if there is not enough money to fully satisfy each Lien?

The Claims Administrator will establish and announce a hierarchy for paying non-medical Liens asserted against a single Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

8.13. Will I be notified when the Claims Administrator pays a valid non-medical Lien?

The Claims Administrator will issue a Notice of Lien Payment to the Settlement Class Member no later than 30 days from the date of the payment and include information on the date of the Lien payment, the lienholder to whom the payment was issued, and the amount of the payment.

8.14. What are medical Liens?

If a healthcare insurer/payor (such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others) paid for medical items, services, and/or prescription drugs related to your Qualifying Diagnosis, and if you are awarded a Monetary Award as a result of your Qualifying Diagnosis, then the healthcare insurer/payor may be able to claim a medical Lien (that is, the right to be reimbursed for those payments) out of your Monetary Award.

For Derivative Claimants, if a healthcare insurer/payor (such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and others) paid for medical items, services, and/or prescription drugs for any physical, mental, or emotional conditions or injuries you suffered as a result of the Qualifying Diagnosis(es) of the Retired NFL Football Player with whom you claim to have a relationship entitling you to a Derivative Claimant Award, then the healthcare insurer/payor may be able to claim a medical Lien out of your Derivative Claimant Award.

8.15. What is a “holdback?"

A “holdback” is a portion of a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award that is withheld from disbursement to the Settlement Class Member while all Liens are verified and resolved.  Once final Lien amounts are known, the proceeds withheld are used to pay those Liens.  Any funds that are held back but ultimately are not needed to resolve Liens will be paid to the Settlement Class Member later.  Holdbacks ensure that there are sufficient proceeds available to pay any and all verified and resolved Lien amounts while still allowing the Claims Administrator to disburse some portion of proceeds to the Settlement Class Member promptly.

The use of holdbacks is authorized by the Settlement Agreement as part of the procedures and protocols established in accordance with Section 11.3(c)(i), 11.3(g), and 11.3(h).  Holdback amounts are determined by the Lien Resolution Administrator and are based on several criteria specific to each Settlement Class Member, including, but not limited to:
  1. The Qualifying Diagnosis;
  2. The date of the Qualifying Diagnosis'
  3. The type of Lien identified (Lien by a Governmental Payor versus other Lien, etc.);
  4. Whether the lienholder has confirmed entitlement to those benefits;
  5. Estimated medical treatment associated with the Qualifying Diagnosis; and
  6. The anticipated Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.
The Lien Resolution Administrator strives to identify the lowest holdback amount possible that balances releasing as much of the Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award as possible against withholding enough proceeds to verify and resolve any and all identified Liens.   Keep in mind that a holdback amount for medical Liens does not necessarily mean that a valid Lien exists.   The Lien Resolution Administrator is responsible for affirmatively verifying whether each Settlement Class Member is or was entitled to benefits under certain health insurance programs such as the Medicare Program and the Medicaid Program.  Thus, even if a Settlement Class Member does not identify that he or she was entitled to such benefits on his or her Claim Form, the Lien Resolution Administrator must still complete this verification process directly with the relevant agencies to confirm the Settlement Class Member’s eligibility (or lack of eligibility) for such benefits.  Accordingly, a holdback amount may be applied to a Settlement Class Member’s Award while this verification of entitlement process is being completed and/or for the other reasons described herein.

Holdbacks placed against a Settlement Class Member will be reduced as the Lien Resolution Administrator verifies:

  1. The Settlement Class Member's entitlement to healthcare insurer/payor benefits (such as Medicare, Medicaid and others);
  2. Whether any lienholder has any medical charges related to the Qualifying Diagnosis that must be reimbursed; and
  3. Any available opportunities for reductions of the final Lien amount.
As holdback amounts are reduced, it may allow additional proceeds to be released by the Claims Administrator.  For more specifics to the holdback amounts associated with a particular Settlement Class Member, please contact the Lien Resolution Administrator at NFLLiens@garretsongroup.com.

8.16. Do I have to resolve medical Liens against my Monetary Award or my Derivative Claimant Award?

The Settlement Agreement requires the identification and satisfaction of all Liens that may be asserted by Governmental Payors and/or Medicare Part C and Part D Program Sponsors against your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award as a prerequisite to releasing funds to Settlement Class Members. 

Also, depending on the type of insurer/payor, medical Lien repayment obligations may arise from federal or state law or from the plan documentation you signed when you enrolled for health coverage.  If medical Liens are not properly resolved, your future healthcare benefits may be adversely affected.

8.17. How will Medicare (Part A and Part B) Liens be resolved?

The Lien Resolution Administrator is working directly with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and Medicare’s recovery contractor to resolve Medicare Part A and/or Part B reimbursement claims.

As one of the benefits of the Settlement, the Lien Resolution Administrator is affirmatively verifying whether Settlement Class Members are (or have been) entitled to Medicare Part A and/or Part B benefits at no cost to the Settlement Class Member.  If a Settlement Class Member is identified as a Medicare beneficiary, the Lien Resolution Administrator will resolve (using the proceeds withheld to pay final Lien amounts) any Medicare Part A and/or Part B recovery claims and satisfy such repayment obligations out of any Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award to that Settlement Class Member.

If you are currently a Medicare beneficiary, or have been in the past, there is no action required on your part unless specifically requested.  PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT MEDICARE regarding potential reimbursement claims associated with your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.  Doing so could trigger duplicate recovery efforts (i.e., an additional case may be established when the Lien Resolution Administrator is already addressing these obligations).

8.18.
What are Medicare Part C and Part D Program sponsors, and how will these Liens be resolved?

Medicare Part C Program sponsors (also known as “Medicare Advantage Plans”) are private health insurance providers that contract with federal Medicare to provide the same services as traditional Medicare (Parts A and B), as well as additional benefits in some instances.  If you currently receive benefits through a Medicare Part C Program sponsor, or have received such benefits in the past, you are required to identify the Part C Program sponsor on your Claim Form or Derivative Claim Form.  The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to verify and resolve any Lien that may be claimed by the Part C Program sponsor in connection with your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

Medicare Part D Program sponsors are private health insurance providers that contract with federal Medicare to provide supplemental prescription drug coverage.  If you currently receive Medicare Part D coverage, or have received it in the past, you are required to identify the Part D Program sponsor on your Claim Form or Derivative Claim Form.  The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to verify and resolve (using the proceeds withheld to pay final Lien amounts)  any Lien that may be claimed by the Part D Program sponsor in connection with your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

If you receive notice of a potential Lien from a Medicare Part C or Part D Program sponsor, provide that correspondence to the Claims Administrator as soon as possible, which in turn will share it with the Lien Resolution Administrator.

8.19. What is Medicaid, and how will Medicaid Liens be resolved?

Each state and territory in the United States has its own Medicaid Program, which provides medical coverage for individuals and families with limited resources.  Each state’s Medicaid Program is different and it is possible for an individual to have received benefits from more than one Medicaid agency if he or she has lived in more than one state.

The Lien Resolution Administrator has reached agreements with most state Medicaid agencies to resolve all Medicaid recovery claims with terms that ensure Settlement Class Members receive equitable compensation.  Specifically, the Lien Resolution Administrator will take the following steps to resolve potential Medicaid Liens:

1.  Affirmatively verify whether you are or were a Medicaid recipient in the state(s) of residency identified on your Claim Form or Derivative Claim Form;

2.  Determine whether the state Medicaid agency or agencies have paid for medical expenses related to your claim for a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award;

3.  Secure claims histories from the Medicaid agency or agencies;

4.  Audit each claim to ensure that the applicable Medicaid agency is repaid only for medical expenses related to your claim for a Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award; and

5.  Determine the final amount owed to the agency or agencies, to be deducted from your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award in order to satisfy such obligation(s).

8.20.
What are TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and how will TRICARE and VA Liens be resolved?

TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) are governmental benefit programs that provide medical coverage for eligible members of the military and their families.  If you currently receive medical coverage through either agency, or have in the past, and if the agency paid for treatment related to your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award, then the agency may have a statutory right to be reimbursed for the payments it made.  This reimbursement is to be withheld from your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

You are required to identify any TRICARE or VA coverage information on your Claim Form or Derivative Claim Form.  The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to verify and resolve (using the proceeds withheld to pay final Lien amounts) any Lien that may be claimed by TRICARE or the VA in connection with your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

8.21.
What is the Department of Indian Health Services, and how will Indian Healthcare Services Liens be resolved?

The Department of Indian Health Services (“IHS”) is a federal agency that provides medical services for American Indians and Alaska Natives.  If you currently receive healthcare benefits through IHS, or have in the past, and if IHS provided any healthcare benefits related to your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award, then IHS may have a statutory right to be reimbursed for the payments it made.  This reimbursement is to be withheld from your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.

You are required to identify any IHS coverage on your Claim Form or Derivative Claim Form.  The Lien Resolution Administrator will use this information to verify and resolve (using the proceeds withheld to pay final Lien amounts) any Lien that may be claimed by IHS in connection with your Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award.  

8.22.
How will private healthcare insurance Liens (other than Medicare Part C and Part D Program Sponsor Liens) be resolved?

Private healthcare insurance Liens arise from health insurance coverage offered through private, non-governmental entities.  Private insurance policies of this type are commonly referred to as insurance “plans.”  Examples of private healthcare insurance include coverage offered through a Settlement Class Member’s (or a family member’s) employer or those independently purchased from an insurance company.  Private insurance plans often refer to the policy holder as a “subscriber” or “plan member.”

The majority of private insurance plan documents (such as a contract or a plan booklet) contain provisions requiring subscribers to notify the insurer of any illness or injury attributable to a third party.  When this happens, and if the plan member receives compensation from the third party, then the insurer may demand full or partial repayment from that compensation.  Failing to comply with such provisions can result in legal action against the subscriber or have adverse effects on future coverage under the plan.

The Claim Form and Derivative Claim Form request that Retired NFL Football Players and Derivative Claimants identify any private healthcare insurer.  If you identify a potential private healthcare insurance Lien in Section VII.E of your Claim Form or Section V.F of your Derivative Claim Form, you will receive additional information explaining your options for verifying and resolving the potential Lien.  

The Claims Administrator will withhold the Settlement Class Member’s Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award until the Settlement Class Member provides the Claims Administrator with (1) documentation demonstrating satisfaction and discharge of the private medical Lien from the lienholder; or (2) a written agreement signed by both parties specifying the distribution of the withheld funds.  

8.23. I received a Notice of Private Payor and I do not want to hire the Lien Resolution Administrator to verify and resolve the potential Lien; what is the process then?

You must return the Notice of Private Payor with your decision indicated.  In accordance with Section 11.3(h) of the Settlement Agreement, a holdback amount will still be assigned until “…the Settlement Class Member (and counsel individually representing him or her, if any) presents documentary proof, such as a court order or release or notice of satisfaction by the party asserting the Lien, that such Lien has been satisfied and discharged….”  After such documentary proof is provided, the holdback amount may be reduced to the amount required to pay the Lien and the Claims Administrator may effect payment to the lienholder.  

8.24.
I received a notice from my healthcare insurer saying that it may have a Lien against me.  What should I do?

If you have not previously provided the notice with your Claim Form, then you should provide that information, along with your Settlement Program ID, name, and contact information by mail to:

NFL Concussion Settlement
Claims Administrator
P.O. Box 25369
Richmond, VA 23260

8.25.
Should a Settlement Class Member contact a lienholder to speed up the Lien resolution process?

No.  The Lien Resolution Administrator is already working with lienholders in the most efficient manner possible.  Contacting a lienholder regarding a Lien may result in multiple recovery attempts, which can significantly delay processing time.

8.26. How do I dispute a medical Lien?

After the Lien Resolution Administrator determines the final repayment amount needed to satisfy medical Liens against your Monetary Award, you will be notified of the final amount of any such Liens; this notification will also include instructions on how to assert a challenge.  Note: beneficiaries of Medicare Part A and/or Part B are not eligible to challenge medical Liens against a Qualifying Diagnosis of Level 1.5 or Level 2 Neurocognitive Impairment, as the repayment amounts for those Qualifying Diagnoses were established through a global agreement with CMS, and the Settlement Agreement does not grant you the right to challenge them.  

8.27.
If there is more than one medical lienholder to be paid out of my Monetary Award or Derivative Claimant Award, what is the priority in paying their Liens?

Medical Liens have the following order of priority when there are two or more medical Liens to reimburse: 

1.Medicare Program and Medicare Part C and Part D Program Sponsors

2.Other federally based Liens (such as the VA, TRICARE, IHS, etc.)

3.Medicaid

4.Private insurance 
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1-855-887-3485
ClaimsAdministrator@NFLConcussionSettlement.com
P.O. Box 25369 Richmond, VA 23260