ChSNC - Chartered Special Needs Consultant

Why you should consider the ChSNC®

Families caring for a person with special needs face unique financial challenges. The Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) designation will provide you with the strategies and knowledge you need to help these families thrive.

Through the ChSNC® program, you’ll augment your current financial and interpersonal skills with specialized skills focused on helping parents and caregivers plan for immediate and long-term considerations. Learn to wisely and compassionately guide families through complex financial decisions and benefits systems so they can gain the peace-of-mind they deserve.

With the ChSNC®, you can give your career a higher purpose—and make a real difference in people’s lives.

 According to the CDC, 26% of U.S. adults have some type of disability and 7% of children have a developmental disability.

ChSNC - Chartered Special Needs Consultant

What You’ll Learn

Bringing together the expertise of lawyers, financial planners, and psychologists, The ChSNC® is the only credential designed to prepare financial advisors to help people with special needs. Through the program, you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of the best strategies for ensuring that families who are caring for a person with disabilities have the resources they need to live well.

Additionally, the ChSNC® will elevate your understanding of what it means to live with special needs so you can fully address the concerns, hopes, and goals of everyone who comes to you. For many who are caring for someone with special needs, just having an advisor who speaks the language makes a huge difference. The ChSNC® will prepare you to do just that. And give you a dynamic understanding of:

  • Disability law
  • Life insurance
  • Healthcare issues
  • Special needs trusts
  • The ABLE Act
  • Government benefits
  • Social Security
  • Medicaid complexities
  • Special education
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Tax deductions

Who Should Take the ChSNC®

The ChSNC® is designed for experienced financial advisors who want to gain the additional knowledge they need to make a real difference in the lives of people with special needs. It’s a good choice for any mid-career financial professional seeking to make a lasting difference.

Program Delivery

Designed for the Working Professional

The ChSNC® is an online program consisting of three courses.

The first two courses are offered in a self-study format, allowing you to learn the material and complete the courses at your own pace, while supported by robust online resources.

The final course is a live webinar.

Tuition & Fees

  • First two courses: $810 each
  • Third Course (live webinar): $1,060
  • Three-course package: $2,400 (savings of $280)

Tuition includes all required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, your examination, and shipping fees.


Required ChSNC® courses:

  • HS 375 Introduction to Disability  
  • HS 376 Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families
  • HS 377 Financial Planning for Caring for Those with Special Needs 

View Course Details Below​


Required ChSNC® Courses:

Introduction to Disability (HS 375)
This course introduces students to the field of disability and provides an orientation to working with individuals with disabilities and their families. It covers philosophical approaches, legislation, special education policies and procedure, disability etiquette, and how to work collaboratively with families. Students will learn the categories of disabilities such as emotional and behavioral challenges, sensory impairments, autism, and learning disabilities. Special attention is given to the planning requirements for the transition of a child with disabilities into adulthood, when many educational programs and financial supports are no longer available.

Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families  (HS 376)
This course covers unique legal techniques and tools that apply to special needs planning. Of particular importance are third-party funded special needs trusts created as part of an estate plan, wills, powers-of-attorney, guardianships, ABLE accounts, and self-settled special needs trusts established under federal and state law. The applicable issues surrounding Social Security and Medicaid are covered. In addition, special income tax topics enable financial advisors to understand and identify tax deductions and/or credits that may be available to families with special needs children and adults. It addresses some unique aspects of the medical expense deduction, the child and dependent care credit, the adoption credit, and the dependency exemption rules which define a dependent for families of individuals with special needs. The student will examine some potential alternative minimum tax traps that may affect some of these families. This course builds upon Introduction to Disability (HS 375) by providing the detailed legal and financial considerations crucial to the special needs environment.

Financial Planning for Caring for Those with Special Needs  (HS 377)
Delivered as a live webinar, this course combines self-study material with an interactive learning experience. Team-taught by experts in the field, the course covers issues for special needs individuals who are minors as well as those who are adults. Topics include unique federal income tax issues, the creation and administration of special needs trusts, the ABLE account, SSI, Medicaid, and disability-related issues. The course incorporates case studies covering both the financial and unique aspects encountered in a special needs planning engagement. Successful completion of this course requires passing the final examination. For an additional tuition amount, professionals who purchase the package will have an opportunity to take the capstone course in a live classroom setting.

The requirements to complete the Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) are:

  • Successful completion of the courses numbered HS 375, HS 376, and HS 377
  • An application for designation approved by the Registrar of The American College of Financial Services

Any student may enroll in Huebner School courses, however usage of the designation and its mark, ChSNC®, are limited to those who have successfully completed the coursework and met the prerequisite standards established by the faculty. At a minimum, any individual must present an application that clearly identifies:

(a) At least five years of professional experience in financial services or the practice of law, or

(b) Four years of professional financial services experience and an undergraduate degree.

Individuals who hold the CLU® or ChFC® designations, the CFP®, MSFS, and/or who have met the sufficient experience requirements are eligible to use the designation after completion of the ChSNC® coursework. The aforementioned experience requirements may be reduced or waived depending upon academic background and a petition to The College requesting such a waiver.

ChSNC® designees must also adhere to The American College of Financial Services Code of Ethics and comply with The College’s Professional Recertification Program.

See the Student Resources and Policies page for comprehensive details on refund policies, learning policies, recertification information, and more.

Program Faculty

Thomas M. Brinker, Jr.

Adjunct Professor of Taxation and Special Needs Planning

Director of the MassMutual Center for Special Needs

Lesley Mehalick, Adjunct Professor at The American College
Lesley Mehalick

Adjunct Professor of Taxation and Special Needs Planning

Kelsey LeFavour, Adjunct Professor of Special Needs Planning
Kelsey LeFevour

Adjunct Professor of Special Needs Planning