More facts are needed. Generally speaking, the answer to your first question is most likeky, and very likely if the restriction is limited by geography or to your industry only. Second question - your not likely to qualify for distribution but you need to check your plan documents or respective compensation policy/agreement for answers. Good luck.
My communications on this site are for the purpose of educating the general public about legal issues and not for offering situation-specific legal advice. By answering your questions, I am not agreeing to serve as your attorney, and my answers should be treated as they are intended - informal and not as a substitute for a formal legal consultation. If you are seeking an individual consultation, please do so by emailing me at email@example.com.
I always recommend that an employee consult a lawyer before signing any legal document. Once you sign a general release, you will not be entitled to anything not included contained in the severance agreement, including deferred compensation.
The level of complexity you are describing here probably requires a consultation with an attorney, I would recommend that you contact an experienced employment attorney such as one of the two New York based attorneys who answered this question already.
This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/WhiteRoseMarks) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteRoseMarks) if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.
Not enough specific facts and absent the old employer agreement and review of the separation agreement terms makes this impossible to even offer any advice as I have 100 questions that need specifics and analysis to give any guidance.
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained. Please click "helpful" or "best answer" if my answer added any value or add a "comment" if you have more info for me to help you get a better answer.