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Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC)


Special needs childIndividuals who have the designation of chartered special needs consultant (ChSNC) are the only financial advisors who have been specifically equipped and vetted to advise you on the financial and estate planning needs of special needs clients. Since 25% of adults in the U.S. have a disability, it’s very likely that you or one of your loved ones will someday benefit from specialized financial advice. Even 7% of children have a developmental disability. Here’s what you need to know. 

No matter what kind of expertise you’re looking for in a financial advisor, SmartAsset can help connect you with several in your area. 

Chartered Special Needs Consultant Defined

The chartered special needs consultant (ChSNC) designation is granted, after a course of study, to those financial or legal professionals who want to expand their client base to those in need of financial planning for special needs individuals. Those who have earned the ChSNC designation build on their existing knowledge as financial professionals to offer services specifically for those with special needs. People who seek out the services of a ChSNC could be a loved one or caregiver of a special needs individual or a special needs family.

ChSNCs may offer services :

This is not an exhaustive list.

These services are not typically offered by traditional financial planners. Instead, financial planners can expand their knowledge by offering more specialized services to clients. ChSNCs are also well educated in the ABLE Act, Achieving a Better Life Experience. This program allows states to create tax-advantaged savings plans for those who are special needs. All the topics mentioned here are beyond the scope of traditional financial analysts and planners.

Qualifications for Obtaining the ChSNC Designation

Female with Down syndrome

The ChSNC is a specific designation above the financial advisor that can help you help those with special needs. ChSNCs take pride in being able to help those in a specific community, the special needs community, with navigating the array of resources available to them. You may study to become a ChSNC if you meet the following qualifications:

  • 5 years’ experience as a financial planner, financial analyst or law professional
  • You may also have the qualifications if you attended a four-year accredited university and have worked for one year in a law practice or as a finance professional
  • You may receive a ChSNC professional certification if you have one of the following designations: CLU, ChFC, AEP, CFP, CPA or an academic degree like a Ph.D. in financial planning or an M.S. in one of the financial planning disciplines
  • In addition to experience and professional certifications, you have to take a course of study specific to special needs individuals

There are three courses required to obtain your ChSNC. They will vary a bit based on the institution you are enrolled in. The general curriculum is:

  • Introduction to Disability and Lifetime Planning
  • Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families
  • Financial Planning for Caring for Those With Special Needs

Candidates for the ChSNC must follow the American College Financial Services Code of Ethics. They must also be recertified on an ongoing basis. You also must complete continuing education requirements every two years.

Hiring a ChSNC

Should you, as a parent of a child with special needs, hire a ChSNC? It depends on the situation. There are some things that you, as a parent, will know how to do and some things you won’t. It might benefit your special needs child to have a trust fund, for example. You may not know how to set up or navigate trusts. You can employ a ChSNC to help manage the complex things you may have to deal with and to point you toward the right resources.

The Bottom Line

Man with a disabilityCaregivers of loved ones with special needs may have the responsibility of employing someone to help with financial planning. When it comes to a special needs person, there are special financial programs and possibly different rules and regulations. Serving the disabled and special needs segment of the population is a challenge entrusted to the most well-trained financial analysts and planners. Only those financial planners who have had a special course of study along with their advisor training are trained to serve them. This course of study leads to the ChSNC designation, which is a high-level certification.

Tips on Estate Planning

  • Finding the financial advisor who is a fit for your needs or those of someone you love is important. However, finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor, get started now.
  • Those going at their investments alone should have a wide array of resources at their disposal to help them make the right investment decisions. SmartAsset is here to help, with tons of free online resources to help you on your investment journey. Check out our free investment calculator today.

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