Caregiving in a COVID-19 World: Voya Financial Study Finds the Special Needs Community Facing Heightened Challenges During the Global Pandemic


Higher Levels of Fear, Confusion and Uncertainty Grip Individuals with Specials Needs and Those Who Care for Them

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), announced today results of a study* that found that the special needs community feels isolated and alone to a higher degree than those who are not part of this community, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe. Overall, more than a third of respondents (37%) say COVID-19 has had a severe impact on their daily lives, while only a quarter of those outside of the special needs community said the same. Among the feelings most gripping those polled are fear, confusion and uncertainty.

Specifically, the study found:

  • 44% of respondents feel an increased level of anxiety over physical and mental health issues;
  • 44% also feel isolation and loneliness; and
  • Four in 10 (40%) of those polled say COVID-19 caused a disruption in care, i.e., in-home services, therapies, doctors’ appointments and respite care.

The Voya study also found higher levels of financial concern around economic well-being in this community, likely due to the resulting lack of resources as well as a higher likelihood of job loss. However, people in the special needs community are taking some steps to overcome financial challenges experienced during the pandemic. While some actions are positive, others paint a more troubling picture.

For example, approximately three in 10 (29%) of those polled say they are evaluating their daily expenses, reflecting concerns about critical daily living expenses, and 17% of respondents have decreased the number of hours worked, or stopped working altogether.

“In a world that has been drastically impacted due to COVID-19, the support that employers provide to people with disabilities and special needs, as well as to those who care for them, has never been more critical,” said Voya Financial Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr. “Voya champions equity and inclusion in all that we do — and that includes providing specific resources for the disabilities and special needs community, as well as other underserved communities. Through our Voya Cares® program, we offer tools, education, support, resources and advocacy to aid people with disabilities and their caregivers.”

Many employers are increasing efforts to provide resources to their employees that specifically address the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to the disabilities community. As an example, Voya has elevated two important relationships that are designed to empower the special needs community to take charge of their futures and overcome the challenges they face.

  • Through its relationship with Wellthy, Voya helps its employees who care for others by providing free access to administrative and logistical support aimed at helping families navigate care-related tasks, like finding an in-home aid or contesting insurance bills.
  • As part of its collaboration with No Barriers for National Family Caregivers Month, caregivers can tap into support and experiences focused on both expanding a family caregiver’s community and providing critical tools for self-care, including a financial wellness guide and government benefits webinar provided by Voya.

“While it is a good thing that our study found people in the special needs community are taking some steps on their own, it is also clear that we need to do more to help them navigate the challenges that they are facing due to COVID-19,” said Jessica Tuman, VP, Voya Cares® Center of Excellence at Voya Financial. “Through this research and our ongoing efforts, we’ve taken steps as an organization to learn more about this community’s needs and provide timely, relevant information and solutions that help them each and every day.”

Along with providing Wellthy to its employees, Voya’s Retirement and Employee Benefits businesses offer Wellthy’s services to current and prospective workplace clients to purchase.

For additional information on navigating the global pandemic, please read the Caring for Caregivers during COVID-19 article on Voya.com. To learn more about Voya’s commitment to the disabilities community, visit the Voya Cares section of the company’s website.

* AYTM COVID-19 Consumer Tracker conducted via online survey among n=1,000 adults aware of COVID-19 sampled and weighted to be reflective of the U.S. population with additional question content that is specific to Voya Financial. Wave 7 fielded from May 6-7, 2020, using AYTM’s survey platform and proprietary panel PaidViewpoint. Sample includes n=252 consumers who are part of the Special Needs Community, which is defined as an individual with a special need or disability or a parent/caregiver of a person with a special need or disability — including developmental, behavioral, emotional and/or physical disabilities, or a critical illness.

About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.8 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $7.5 billion in revenue in 2019. The company had $657 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Sept. 30, 2020. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as a 2020 World’s Most Admired Company by Fortune magazine; one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index by Disability:IN. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.

About Voya Cares®

An extension of Voya's vision and mission to help all Americans have the quality of life they seek in retirement, the Voya Cares program is committed to being a leader in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities — as well as their families, caregivers and other providers — by offering a depth of resources focused on education, planning and solutions. Go to voyacares.com to learn more.

About Wellthy

Wellthy is a modern healthcare concierge service. Wellthy uses dedicated Care Coordinators and a seamless technology platform to project manage healthcare for families with complex, chronic, and ongoing care needs. Wellthy takes the pain out of healthcare — scheduling appointments, finding the right specialists, researching treatment options, managing insurance, organizing records, communicating with family members and much more. Wellthy adds a layer of much-needed customer service to the health system — giving families help, hope and peace of mind. Get the care you and your loved ones deserve. With a Wellthy Care Coordinator, you'll always have someone on your side. Find out more: www.wellthy.com. Follow Wellthy on LinkedIn and Twitter @WeAreWellthy.

About No Barriers

The mission of No Barriers is to fully unleash the potential of the human spirit. Each year, No Barriers guides tens of thousands of people through our proven principles, the No Barriers Life. Through it people rediscover the connection between living a purpose-driven life and the ability to break through barriers by approaching challenges with optimism; building strong teams who support you; and reaching for a purposeful life. No Barriers shines a light on the path forward — giving everyone the opportunity to live their best life and make a difference in the world.

VOYA-IR VOYA-CR

Jessica Speziale
Voya Financial
Phone: (646) 284-3063
[email protected]

Source: Voya Financial, Inc.