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.
We are committed to leadership in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities – as well as their families and caregivers – by helping them plan, invest and protect the future they envision. As such, we created a Special Needs Center of Excellence, which coordinates an internal Special Needs Task Force formed to concentrate on the following areas:
- Internal Awareness – to focus on how we can assist with holistic financial solutions and strategies across all Voya businesses that are appropriately aligned with government and community programs.
- Employee Education – to continue supporting our hiring practices, work environment and employee benefits that recognize and appropriately accommodate individuals with special needs or disabilities.
- Culture – to further a culture of inclusion that helps build, attract, and retain high-caliber talent and strengthens our relationships with our clients and distribution partners.
- Core Values – to communicate the initiative as part of Voya’s core values (particularly, ‘We Care’) to further emphasize our culture, our mission to help all Americans plan for a secure financial future and to increase employees’ pride in working for Voya.
These efforts resulted in the Voya Cares™ program, in which our advisors help people with special needs and caregivers plan for the future they envision. We developed and provided training in special needs planning to advisors and client groups to help them serve the special needs community. This helps us bridge the gap with our offerings to help individuals know where to turn for assistance.