The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that one in five children and adults will experience a special need or disability during their lifetime. Voya Financial ’s white paper entitled “Helping American families achieve financial security while facing special needs and disabilities challenges” provides insight into the many economic and emotional challenges faced by the estimated 65 million Americans living with special needs, and their caregivers.
We believe employers should assume the role of a navigator to help their employees successfully and efficiently steer through their caregiver concerns. Similar to Voya’s initiatives, in this role companies can:
- Provide one-stop educational access to resources and information on caregiving.
- Reduce the emotional stress of caregivers by helping employees understand complex legal and financial issues relating to caregivers and people with special needs.
- Open or create portals that provide access to support and education networks.
- Advocate for the concerns of working caregivers and people with special needs.
- Increase awareness of service providers who are experts in assisting people with special needs.
- Provide increased employment for people with special needs and disabilities.
- Offer access to financial solutions involving quality of life and care issues.
- Providing flexible work schedules for caregiver duties.
- Eliminate perceived or real biases of performance and productivity toward employees caring for people with special needs.
- Create understanding among employees of the challenges facing co-workers who care for people with special needs.
- Foster an atmosphere of encouragement that allows employees caring for people with special needs to be open about their responsibilities.
Voya Financial has an ongoing effort to help people with special needs and their caregivers. This includes forthcoming pilot programs for financial advisors to help them serve the needs of families facing disability challenges.