Chartered Special Needs Consultant®

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Financial planning professionals who want to take their existing expertise and apply it to this curriculum to enhance the quality of life of families with special needs. The designation is targeted as an advanced designation for experienced and dedicated planners who want to serve this market, either as a portion or the majority of their book of business. In addition to completing the coursework, a ChSNC® designation holder must meet professional and educational experience requirements.

Families with unique financial and life planning needs require an advisor with a credential they can trust. The ChSNC® is the only credential primarily focused on providing financial services for this expanding, underserved population

Globally, there are more than 1.3 billion people with a disability; in the United States alone, one-in-five Americans have a disability. The aging baby boomer generation is also adding to the size of this demographic. Among those who are caregivers, nearly two-thirds are very concerned about outliving their retirement income, and 55 percent are unaware of how to establish a lifetime financial plan for their special needs dependent.

Families and caregivers of persons with special needs require the support of a financial professional who is well versed in such unique issues as:

  • Special education
  • Family dynamics
  • Emotional and language considerations
  • Disability law
  • Special needs trusts
  • Life insurance
  • Government benefits
  • The ABLE Act
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement planning for three people

The ChSNC® brings together the expertise of lawyers, financial planners and psychologists to give designation-holders a comprehensive understanding of the needs of their clients. Caregivers routinely say they need professionals who understand their challenges and their environment — who speak their language. It’s more than financial education. The ChSNC® prepares advisors to help clients who are currently underserved.

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.

Tuition: $810 (per course)​
3-Course Package Tuition: $2,400
Live Webinar Capstone: $1,060
Retake/Reschedule Fee: $125

Your tuition includes all required study materials, access to convenient online learning tools, and your examination.

  • Two self-study courses supported by robust online learning capabilities.
  • Final course is a live webinar.

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

Professor Ted Kurlowicz
Theodore T. Kurlowicz

Professor of Taxation

Charles E. Drimal Professor of Estate Planning

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