Individual Development Accounts (IDA) are matched savings accounts designed to help refugees save for a specific purchase. Under the IDA program, the matching funds, together with the refugee's own savings from their employment, are available for purchasing one (or more) of four savings goals:
Public or private non-profit organizations administer IDA programming. Refugees receive basic financial training to help them understand the American financial system, budgeting, saving and credit. In addition, refugees receive training focused on the specific savings goals. The specialized training ensures that refugees understand how to manage their assets.
IDA grantees provide matched savings accounts to refugees whose annual income is less than 200 percent of the poverty level and whose assets, exclusive of a personal residence and one vehicle, are less than $10,000. Grantees provide matches of up to $1 for every $1 deposited by a refugee in a savings account. The total match amount provided may not exceed $2,000 for individuals or $4,000 for households. Upon enrolling in an IDA program, a refugee signs a savings plan agreement which specifies the savings goal, the match rate, and the amount the refugee will save each month.
In addition to persons who meet all requirements of 45 CFR 400.43, eligibility also includes:
Technical assistance is available through the Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED). For specific technical assistance questions, contact:
The Administration for Children & Families, Office of Community Services (OCS) administers the Assets for Independence (AFI) program. ORR and OCS collaborate to provide refugees with access to these mainstream programs. There are more than 200 such programs across the country. Find an IDA program near you or find more information on AFI and how to become an AFI provider.
CFED, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, is a nonprofit organization that helps Americans expand economic opportunity. One area of focus is their 2007 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, an evaluation tool which details individual state programs and policies designed to build assets. Additionally, CFED maintains a searchable IDA Directory which lists IDA programs nationwide.
Financial education resources are available from a variety of sources.
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Administration for Children and Families
901 D Street SW
Washington DC 20447