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Individual Development Accounts
Individual Development Accounts (IDA) are special savings accounts that help low and moderate income families save by matching their contributions. They are typically operated as partnerships between local non-profit organizations and local banks. There are more than 500 IDA programs in the US, each with different criteria. The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) maintains a directory of IDA programs. Most IDA programs are designed to help low and moderate income families save for college or job training, purchase a first home or start a small business. On average, about a fifth of IDA program funds are used by participants to pay for education. IDA program participants are twice as likely to enroll in college. Typically the IDA programs will match contributions dollar for dollar up to an annual limit for one to three years. Some will match contributions at a $2 for $1 or $3 for $1 rate. The IDA programs provide (and require) the participants to receive free financial literacy training. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the largest funder of IDA programs through Assets for Independence (AFI). These programs receive up to $2,000 in federal matching funds per participant, without affecting SSI benefits. Participants in AFI-funded programs must be eligible for TANF or EITC or have income below 200% of the poverty line.