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What is the Individual Development Account Program?

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The Individual Development Account (IDA) program is a matched savings program focusing on financial stability that assists qualifying participants in acquiring a lasting asset—a first-time home, college education or start or expand a small business.  The IDA program is part of Assets for Independence, a federal program administered by the Office of Community Services of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. United Way of Central Alabama serves as an administrator for the IDA program and partners with United Way of West Alabama to bring the program to West Alabama residents.

It’s easy… A special U.S. government savings program allows you to have up to $500 of earned income savings when using the IDA for college related expenses and up to $2,000 of earned income savings when using the IDA towards the purchase of a home or to start or expand a small business.  Your earned income savings is matched with $4,000 for your final IDA account total of either $4,500 (i.e. education related) or $6,000 (i.e. home purchase or small business related) that can be used to help achieve your financial goals.  By enrolling in the Individual Development Account program, you will learn the benefits of saving, receive financial education and credit counseling, become eligible for free income tax preparation assistance and have the opportunity to develop smart financial habits that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

Opening an Individual Development Account is easy. Once you complete the Intake Survey and the Application Form and submit online, you will be contacted by an Individual Development Account representative to guide you through the process. They will work closely with you, answer all of your questions and help you learn financial responsibility so that you can watch your assets grow.

Get up to $4,000 towards a home, college or small business!

1. Find out how to qualify by contacting 2-1-1

2. Open a free Individual Development Account (a no-fee savings account) and make monthly deposits of at least $25 which will be matched by a federal grant program

3. Begin the free financial education classes

4. Use your earned income savings and match funds for a home purchase, towards college expenses or to start or expand a small business

How do I qualify for an IDA?

To be eligible for the IDA program, individuals must have:

  • Earned income
  • Annual adjusted gross income of less than $47,100 for a family of four or an individual income of $22,980 (see chart below).
  • No more than $10,000 in total net worth excluding an automobile and home.
  • Call 2-1-1 to learn more

IDA Income Eligibility

Persons in Family 
Annual Income
1
Up to $22,980
2
Up to $31,020
3
Up to $39,060
4
Up to $47,100
5
Up to $55,140
6
Up to $63,180
7
Up to $71,220
8
Up to $79,260

For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person.

What do I do once I qualify?

Representatives will guide you through the process and serve as your personal contact throughout the program. You will begin making monthly deposits (minimum of $25 per month) into an IDA – a free savings account with no fees–and participate in financial training classes – offered at no cost. As your savings grow and are matched, you get closer to your dream and can withdraw up to the total balance in your IDA account to apply towards your goal.

 How do I get started on my IDA?

  • Click here to submit your Application Form.
  • Once submitted, a United Way representative will contact you and guide you through the process
  • Once enrolled, begin making monthly deposits (minimum of $25 per month) into your IDA – a free savings account with no fees
  •  As your savings grow and are matched, you move closer to achieving  your dreams

The Individual Development Account program is administered by United Way Central of Alabama who partners with United Way of West Alabama to bring the program to West Alabamians.  It is supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Community Service. Local matching funds are provided through the United Way Financial Stability Partnership of Alabama by corporations, foundations, municipalities and individuals, who are committed to helping Alabamians become financially stable and build assets for personal financial independence.  Call 2-1-1 to learn more.