Guest Eric Jorgensen of True North Disability Planning starts by saying he’s fairly new to his work in the disability community. His son is on the spectrum, and has intellectual disabilities and other challenges, but his wife was the one who managed those in the past.  Just as he was about to retire from the Navy in 2012, his wife died from complications resulting from a rare autoimmune disease.  At that point, he had no job; no caregiver; no clue how to parent his son, manage his disabilities, or transition him into high school; or even how to run the household. Once he began figuring out many of these complex disability planning pieces, he wondered how other people were managing them and realized many people were not.  He asked at that point: How is someone supposed to know what they are supposed to be doing if all the professionals are waiting for you to tell them what you want or what you need?  In 2017, he created his agency, Special Needs Navigator as a way to help families navigate the maze of benefits, resources, and services.  As Jorgensen explains, his life mission is to change the reality of the fact that: “It is too hard for the average person to find out what they qualify for, and reach out and get those benefits in place.”

He recently rebranded his organization as True North Disability Planning, which offers roadmaps, or downloadable resources for print and online use which are specific to each state to help people with disability planning and building momentum in gaining access to benefit programs and supports.  Each roadmap contains the names and hyperlinks to all of the Medicaid programs in each state depending on the waivers that one has. In addition, the roadmaps include a timeline and checklist ordered from programs that are the easiest to apply for to the hardest. Plus, his resources are available in English and Spanish.

You can find the roadmaps and other resources on the True North Disability Website:

The disability roadmaps from True North Disability are similar to the Benefits Navigation program at the Bobby Dodd Institute (BDI). Check out our episode with the Anna Maki, Director of Benefits Navigation here: Maximizing Resources for a Stable and Independent Future.

Plus, look for upcoming collaborations between Host Annette Hines and Eric Jorgensen coming soon! Leave a comment to let them know what kind of resources you would like to see in the future: