What is an Individual Development Account (IDA)? An Individual Development Account (IDA) is a savings account with a potential match. For each deposit that you make, you receive matching funds – an additional deposit. For instance, with our dollar for dollar match, each time you deposit $25.00, you will get an additional $25.00 towards your savings goal.
What can I use my IDA for? IDA savings can be used to purchase a home, start or expand a business, attend college or vocational training, help with recertification costs, or to purchase a vehicle to help you get to work or school.
How do I get the “match funds”? The match funds are held by CEI. After you have saved for a minimum of six months and completed all program requirements, you will be able to use the IDA savings and “match funds”.
What are the other program requirements? While you are in the IDA program, you will be required to attend a free 12-hour group financial education training provided by one of our partners. You will learn all about financial institutions in the U.S., building a solid credit history, how to develop a savings plan, and other important skills to help you manage your money. You will also receive free financial coaching to help you reach your personal financial goals.
Is the IDA a loan? No, the IDA is not a loan and does not have to be paid back.
Who is eligible for the IDA program? Currently, you are eligible to participate in the IDA program if you:
- Are a refugee, asylee, Cuban or Haitian, victim of trafficking, or Amerasian
- Have income from a job that is within program guidelines, and
- Have less than $10,000.00 in net assets (not including your home and one car).
Why would anyone give away money like that? IDA savings matches are not giveaways. Participants earn matches by saving their earned income and taking other steps to prepare for the future, like attending Financial Education classes. Furthermore, providing match dollars is a way to help hard-working, low-income families and individuals build a more stable and secure future.
What if I am not able to complete the program? You might decide to withdraw from the Program for several reasons. If you are not able to continue saving or are having difficulties meeting the other requirements of the Program, the Case Manager will help you identify resources or other ways to continue to meet their Program obligations. If, after counseling, you decide to withdraw from the Program, you will be given the money in your IDA and any interest earned. You will not receive any matching funds.
How do I apply? Contact CEI at 207-535-2919 and ask to speak with Jill Lorom, the IDA Program Coordinator, or you can contact one of our partner organizations, Community Financial Literacy, and fill out an application there.