The National Special Needs Network Inc. was founded in 1995 by an interdisciplinary team of professionals representing the legal, medical, financial, and human services fields. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 and the codification of Special Needs Trusts in the Congressional Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA-93) convinced us that disabled Americans were about to take their long-neglected but rightful place in American society.
Americans with varying disabilities represent fully 25% of the U.S. population. The National Special Needs Network Inc. champions the use of Special Needs Trusts in conjunction with intelligent financial management to both address the special needs of every person with a disability even while strengthening the national economy with an infusion of billions of dollars in capital from this often disregarded segment of the population.
We envision a portal where disabled clients can seek out the services they need without struggling to navigate the often conflicting requirements of individual providers. Our continuing work with legislators, attorneys, medical professionals, human services specialists, caregivers, and consumers marks an endorsement of a system of national standards for service delivery across all professions.
Over the last 25 years, representatives of the National Special Needs Network Inc. have crisscrossed the United States from Miami to Seattle, from Boston to Los Angeles, and many points in-between, to meet with the Directors of the largest Health Management Systems and with the CEOs of major investment houses, to promote these ideas.
Our efforts have borne much fruit. Our “Humanitarian Welfare Reform” proposal was adopted by Congress as the “Ticket To Work Act” and many of our suggestions found their way into “The Welfare Reform Act of 1996” and other subsequent legislation. NSNN’s work in Washington ultimately led to the adoption of the “21st Century Cures Act” and its liberalization of rules in regard to the use of Special Needs Trusts.
Thanks to our efforts, most financial houses established separate divisions and departments to service Special Needs individuals and have established corporate protocols for managing their unique, often singular, requirements. Today, all competitive Wall Street firms and other providers offer such services. We ourselves continue to design highly individualized Special Needs Trusts geared to each disabled beneficiary’s personal needs.
Although the concept of a “one-stop shop” for Special Needs remains an idea whose time has not yet come, we are justly proud of our legacy of service to all Americans. Our work as advocates goes on, for now more than ever, it is critical to innovate. And so our legacy continues.