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Special Collection: Asset Building and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

This special collection includes a categorized and selected listing of articles, fact sheets, papers, reports and surveys. It is offered as an additional tool to assist advocates working on and interested in Asset Building and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), including how they specifically relate to survivors of domestic violence. Items in this collection may appear in more than one place for ease of use. Direct links to the documents are provided from this page. Those interested in this topic may also want to review material contained in the topic areas credit, employment and welfare. Please contact the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence with comments, questions, or suggestions for new additions to this collection.

Special thanks to Anna Melbin, Founder of Catalyst Consulting and Training for developing this collection in partnership with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Table of Contents:

Asset Building

Individual Development Accounts

  • Acronym & Abbreviation Key
    Click here for a list of organizational, legislative, and trade-related acronyms and terms contained in the annotated entries of this special Asset Building and Individual Development Account (IDA) collection.

Asset Building

Asset Building encompasses a wide range of anti-poverty strategies and resources which individuals, families and communities use to increase economic stability. Asset building strategies often focus on savings accounts, homeownership, business development, accessing higher education, and car ownership. Policies and programs aim to increase long-term economic security through the acquisition of tangible assets.

Asset Building Basics and Fact Sheets | Back to top

  • Asset Building and Financial Literacy Fact Sheet | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Women in Government, Family Economic Success Policy Resource Center (July 2009)
    This brief fact sheet outlines the importance of asset building for low income families and provides a few key statistics.
    + View Summary
  • Building Economic Security in America's Cities | PDF PDF (96 p.)
    by the Center for Enterprise Development (January 2011)
    This is a comprehensive overview of various strategies local communities are using to increase assets and economic stability. Topics include access to financial education and counseling, income supports and tax credits, and the policies and systems change needed to successfully implement the strategies.
    + View Summary

State and Federal Policies | Back to top

  • Promoting Economic Security for Working Families | PDF PDF (33 p.)
    by Heather McCulloch for Asset Building Strategies (July 2005)
    This report describes asset building efforts in six states and is a resource for policymakers and others interested in promoting asset building among working families.
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  • The Assets Report 2011 | PDF PDF (35 p.)
    by Reid Cramer and Rachel Black for the New America Foundation (June 2011)
    The goal of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview of the federal government's efforts to encourage asset accumulation. The full report offers a survey of current federal asset-building programs, specifically describes recently enacted relevant legislation and the President's 2012 budget proposals, and includes an analysis of current tax policies that promote asset building objectives.
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Microenterprises | Back to top

  • Domestic Violence and Microenterprise Development Fact Sheet | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity & the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    This fact sheet provides basic information and statistics for domestic violence programs working on microenterprise strategies, and for microenterprise programs working with domestic violence survivors.
    + View Summary
  • Underserved Entrepreneur Index | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity
    This index details the number of microenterprises in the United States, and their geographical distribution. Also included is a comparison of traditionally owned versus 'underserved' microenterprises, and the impact of microenterprises on the U.S. economy.
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  • Enhancing Opportunities for Entrepreneurship: 2003 findings from the third round of the Collaborative Fund for Women's Economic Development | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by the Collaborative Fund for Women's Economic Development
    This study highlights nine organizations and their work with disadvantaged women entrepreneurs between 2001-2004. Included are details about how the organizations were funded, the cost of services, and real outcomes for the women served.
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  • Wyoming Women's Business Center - Links Website | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by the Wyoming Women's Business Center
    This site provides links to numerous resources on starting small businesses, micro-loan programs, and women-owned microenterprises.
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Education Savings Plan | Back to top

  • Women's Independence Scholarship Program | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by the Women's Independence Scholarship Program
    The WISP provides scholarship money to survivors of domestic violence interested in furthering their education, and to advocates working in domestic violence programs, to increase professional development (eligibility criteria apply). The site also has a comprehensive list of financial aid sources, on the Links page.
    + View Summary
  • 529 Plans: Questions and Answers | HTML HTML
    by the Internal Revenue Service (June 2011)
    A 529 Savings Plan, named after the corresponding IRS code, is an account in which individuals can make after-tax deposits and save for future higher education costs. This page addresses common questions and answers about 529 plans.
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  • Reducing the College Progress Gap between Low- to Moderate-income and High-income Young Adults | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by William Elliott III, Monique Constance-Huggins, and Hyun-a Song for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (January 2011)
    This is a summary of new research examining various types of economic capital (assets) and the connection to predicting whether individuals of low and moderate income attend and succeed in college.
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Asset Building for Domestic Violence Survivors | Back to top

  • Asset Building Programs for Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF HTML HTML (14 p.)
    by Cynthia K. Sanders in consultation with Meg Schnabel (November 2011)
    This Applied Research paper discusses asset building programs, including some of the benefits of asset ownership and the importance of such programs for domestic violence survivors. The lack of literature on asset building and domestic violence issues is highlighted, implying a need for further research.
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  • Asset Building Programs for Domestic Violence Survivors, an Interview with Cynthia Sanders | Other MP3 Other M4A [13:47]
    by Sheetal Rana for VAWnet, the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (January 2012)
    On this podcast, Sheetal Rana of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse interviews Cynthia Sanders, author on the VAWnet Applied Research paper: Asset Building Programs for Domestic Violence Survivors.
    + View Summary
  • Facilitating Savings and Asset Ownership among Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Cynthia Sanders for the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin (May 2011)
    This paper provides an overview of the importance of savings and asset accumulation for survivors, and details surveys of survivors participating in IDA programs.
    + View Summary
  • Integrating Asset-building Strategies into Domestic Violence Advocacy | PDF PDF (14 p.)
    by Andrea Kovach for the Clearinghouse Review Journal of Poverty Law and Policy (July 2009)
    This paper discusses the importance of building tangible assets as an anti-poverty strategy. Included are in-depth case studies of programs working to increase domestic violence survivors' assets, as part of their basic economic advocacy services.
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  • Asset Building for Domestic Violence Survivors: Why is it Important? | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Assets for Independence Resource Center (August 2011)
    This page provides a brief overview of economic abuse, the importance of various asset building strategies for survivors, and findings from a few key asset building programs.
    + View Summary
  • Economic Empowerment of Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF HTML HTML (13 p.)
    by Judy L. Postmus in consultation with Rene Renick, Sandra Mayoral Pedroarias, and Kim Pentico (October 2010)
    This Applied Research paper reviews and critiques the existing literature on economic abuse experienced by domestic violence survivors and selected economic empowerment programs designed to address such abuse and its aftermath.
    + View Summary
  • Domestic Violence and Microenterprise Development Fact Sheet | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity & the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
    This fact sheet provides basic information and statistics for domestic violence programs working on microenterprise strategies, and for microenterprise programs working with domestic violence survivors.
    + View Summary

Asset Building with Underserved Populations | Back to top

Native Americans
  • Native Financial Education Coalition Policy Brief | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Native Financial Education Coalition (April 2007)
    The brief highlights the role that financial education plays in the future of Native Americans, focusing on the following five policy priorities and related recommendations.
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  • Asset Building in Native Communities: An Asset Building Framework | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by First Nations Development Institute (January 2004)
    This study describes specifically how IDAs affect and can affect, and be used by, the Native American Community.
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  • Asset-building in Tribal Communities: Generating Native Discussion and Practical Approaches | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by Sarah Hicks, Karen Edwards, Mary Kate Dennis and Christy Finsel for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (March 2005)
    This policy report outlines the basic concepts of asset-building, including terms and definitions. The authors then use a cultural context to understand these concepts in Native American communities, and highlight a few examples of programs across the country.
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  • Financial Education in Native Communities: A Briefing Paper | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by Jennifer Malkin for First Nations Development Institute, National Congress of American Indians, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (June 2003)
    This briefing paper provides an assessment of the effectiveness of financial education in Native American communities. Included are descriptions of initiatives by tribes and other organizations to promote financial education in Native American communities, and goals and objectives for increasing such services across the country.
    + View Summary
  • Saving for Post-secondary Education in American Indian Communities | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by Amy Locklear Hertel and Mary Elizabeth Jäger for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (July 2010)
    This research brief provides a summary of a larger study examining the trends of post-secondary education saving among in American Indian communities.
    + View Summary
Immigrants
  • Low-income Immigrant Women and Wealth Building Fact Sheet | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by the Center for Community and Economic Development (Spring 2010)
    This fact sheet provides statistics about immigrants in the United States, the relationship between race, gender and wealth, and a number of ways that immigrants build assets. The paper concludes with recommendations for federal policies.
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  • Lessons from Diverse Perspectives: Financial Access for Immigrants | PDF PDF (106 p.)
    by Anna Paulson, Audrey Singer, Robin Newberger, and Jeremy Smith for The Brookings Institution (May 2006)
    This publication outlines lessons learned from various initiatives over a three-year period, related to financial access among immigrant populations. The activities discussed include regional meetings, a national conference and several independent research projects.
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People with Disabilities
  • Building Assets with a Plan for Achieving Self Support | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Real Economic Impact, National Disability Institute (August 2011)
    The Plan for Achieving Self Support is a Social Security work incentive that allows individuals to save money above the $2000 asset limit. This site provides basic facts, tips for successfully applying, and links to additional resources.
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  • Disability‐Inclusive Asset Building: New Strategies for Achieving Real Economic Impact for Americans with Disabilities | PDF PDF (15 p.)
    by Johnette Hartnett and Tobey Davies for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (September 2010)
    This paper, sponsored by the National Disability Institute, describes the efforts and outcomes of a national dialogue on how successful asset building strategies can be extended to people with disabilities.
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Children and Youth
  • Child Development Accounts and Saving for Children's Future: Do Financial Incentives Matter? | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by Lisa Reyes Mason, Yunju Nam, Margaret Clancy, Youngmi Kim, and Vernon Loke for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2009)
    This study describes outcomes in the first large-scale CDA demonstration in the U. S. The research examines connections between savings outcomes and incentives in an asset-building program for children and highlights implications for CDA policy and design.
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  • Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children's educational outcomes: Implications for theory, policy, and intervention | PDF PDF (45 p.)
    by William Elliott III, Mesmin Destin, and Terri Friedline for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2011)
    This paper reviews the relationship between assets and children's long-term educational attainment, and highlights Child Development Accounts (CDAs) as an important asset in this equation.
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  • Lessons from SEED: a National Demonstration of Child Development Accounts | PDF PDF (52 p.)
    edited by Michael Sherraden and Julia Stevens for the Corporation for Enterprise Development (September 2010)
    This summary report details the experience of over 1100 children in 12 states, working with the SEED program. Included is information on related state and federal policy, market development, and communications. The results of this research have implications for the design of a larger system of CDAs.
    + View Summary


Individual Development Accounts

An IDA, or individual development account, is a special savings account for people with low incomes and minimal assets. Money saved in an IDA account is matched with donated dollars. The match is typically donated by government agencies, private companies, or local community-based organizations. Any individual, organization or business can contribute match dollars to IDAs, and in most cases, donors can get a tax deduction for contributions to IDAs. The most common source of match dollars for IDA programs are federal funds (see Federal Assets for Independence Program section). Match rates vary, but are typically 2:1 or 3:1. Savings must be used for specific asset-building purchases or investment, such as to buy a home, pay for education, or to start a small business. Programs vary in terms of flexibility on the types of allowable assets, and increasingly programs are including major home repairs and car purchases, as allowable assets.

IDA Basics & Fact Sheets | Back to top

  • Fact Sheet on Individual Development Accounts | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks (August 2011)
    This document, in Q&A format, explains the basics of IDAs and is written for consumers. Eligibility, selecting a program, and general differences between programs are covered.
    + View Summary
  • Individual Development Accounts | PDF PDF (4 p.)
    by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (2009)
    This overview provides information about all the IDA basics, including how these accounts work, where the match comes from, how to find and apply for an IDA, and eligibility criteria and program requirements.
    + View Summary
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Individual Development Accounts | HTML HTML (2 p.)
    by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (August 2011)
    This page covers all the basics of IDAs including what they are, who qualifies, funding sources, and how to start an IDA program. Also available is a link to join a network of IDA providers.
    + View Summary
  • Individual development Accounts: An Asset Building Tool | PDF PDF (12 p.)
    by Josh Lohmer, Christen Lara and Rochelle Finzel for the National Conference of State Legislatures (December 2008)
    This document provides a comprehensive overview of IDAs, including the what, why and how, as well as an outline of state-supported IDA programs and various policy options for states and communities.
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  • Encouraging Saving: Financing Individual Development Account Programs | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by The Finance Project (October 2002)
    This report has general information about IDA, as well as, general guide principles for using IDAs.
    + View Summary

Federal Assets for Independence Program | Back to top

The Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) is a Federal law that supports Assets for Independence (AFI) programs. Originally passed in 1998, AFIA was authorized at $125 million for five years. Congress appropriated $10 million for its first two years and appropriated $24 million in 2010. The AFI program provides 5-year grants to enable organizations and government agencies to implement asset building programs for low income families. These projects create IDAs, where every dollar deposited by participants is matched (from $1 to $8 combined Federal and nonfederal funds) by the AFI project. The AFI program is administered by the Office of Community Services (OCS), within the Administration for Children and Families, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Highlighted Resource

The Assets for Independence Resource Center: Created by OCS, this resource center is a one-stop source for all types of information related to the AFI program and IDAs. The website includes information on how to apply and successfully administer the AFI program, best practice tips, and links to general publications as well as resources for specific populations, including domestic violence survivors. Training and individual technical assistance is also available.

  • AFI Project Builder: Guide for Planning an Assets for Independence Project | PDF PDF (51 p.)
    by Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Updated June 2006)
    This guidebook provides the nuts and bolts on how to design an AFI project. A short section also makes the case for why asset building is an important strategy for addressing poverty and building self-sufficiency.
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  • Assets for Independence Program Status at the Conclusion of the Ninth Year | PDF PDF (105 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services (2009)
    This report is an overview of AFI grants and grantees through fiscal year 2008. It includes data on characteristics of account holders, support services, savings accounts, and program outcomes and evaluation.
    + View Summary
  • Assets for Independence: A Fact Sheet for Domestic Violence Service Providers | HTML HTML
    by Assets for Independence Resource Center (August 2011)
    This page provides basic information about the AFI program, who is eligible and how to apply. Information is written for providers working domestic violence survivors.
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Statistics on IDAs | Back to top

  • Individual Development Accounts and Banks: A Solid "Match" | HTML HTML (6 p.)
    by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (2007)
    This page offers a brief history of IDAs, a description of the role of banks, and a breakdown of where the match comes from, which states have state-supported IDA programs, and examples of successful IDA outcomes.
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  • Assets for Independence Program Status at the Conclusion of the Ninth Year | PDF PDF (105 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services (2009)
    This report is an overview of AFI grants and grantees through fiscal year 2008. It includes data on characteristics of account holders, support services, savings accounts, and program outcomes and evaluation.
    + View Summary

IDAs and Eligibility for Public Benefits | Back to top

  • IDA Participation and Public Benefits | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Vikki Frank and Susan Smith, ISED Solutions (September 2004)
    This paper outlines the effects of savings and asset accumulation on public benefits eligibility, and provides guidelines for learning about state specific eligibility policies. Included are tips for accessing public benefits while participating in non-AFIA and non-TANF funded IDA programs.
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  • Do Welfare and IDA Program Policies Affect Asset Holdings? | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, and Yunju Nam for The Urban Institute (May 2008)
    This paper examines the relationship between asset building and 13 specific program rules and policies. It aims to determine the relationship between specific TANF, Food Stamp, IDA, and EITC program rules and minimum wage requirements, and liquid and vehicle asset holdings for low education families, including single-mothers.
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  • IDAs and Public Assistance Asset Limits: What States can Do to Remove Penalties for Saving | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Center for Social Development, Washington University, IDA State Policy Briefs
    This brief explains TANF IDAs, AFIA IDAs, and "non-TANF, non-AFIA IDAs, and the ramifications of these differing accounts on TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, SSI, and housing assistance. State discretion is emphasized in maximizing eligibility.
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  • How IDAs Affect Eligibility in Federal Programs: Federal IDA Briefing Book | PDF PDF (65 p.)
    by the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (2002)
    This briefing book explains the treatment of IDAs in various federal assistance programs, including TANF IDAs, AFIA IDAs, food stamps, Medicaid, and the SCHIP.
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Financial Education | Back to top

Financial education is often a required component of IDA program participation. Even where not required, financial information on banking, borrowing, credit, charge cards, taxes, budgeting, and investments may be helpful for advocates and survivors. There are many different curricula used by IDA programs. Some programs create their own financial education trainings and others use developed curricula from other organizations. Asset-specific training, such as home ownership, microenterprise development, and postsecondary education are also commonly offered with IDA programs. Information here includes links for financial education programs as well as briefs and reports about how to assess and improve access to relevant financial counseling for all.

  • Economic Education Programs for Battered Women: Lessons Learned from Two Settings | PDF PDF (25 p.)
    by Katie Ciorba VonDeLinde and Amy Correia, Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (April 2005)
    This BCSDV paper discusses economic education, sometimes also called, "financial or economic literacy." The discussion describes well-established economic education programs based in domestic violence agencies in Iowa and St. Louis, Missouri.
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  • Hope & Power for Your Personal Finances: A Rebuilding Guide Following Domestic Violence | HTML HTML
    by National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2000)
    This participant workbook can help survivors learn about, and organize, the financial aspects of their lives. Topics covered include financial inventories, budgeting, and job search. This resource is a component of NCADV's Financial Education Project.
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  • Core Competencies for Financial Education | PDF PDF ( p.)
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center (2011)
    This document outlines the core elements included in financial education curricula provided through the AFI program. Demonstrated understanding of these competencies is the foundation for basic financial literacy. These guidelines can be used by financial educators to develop financial education assessments, curricula and related materials.
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  • Providing Financial Education Services to Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center (2011)
    This brief paper discusses the importance of financial education programs, and specific considerations when working with domestic violence survivors.
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  • A Literature Review of the Effectiveness of Financial Education | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by Matthew Martin for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (June 2007)
    This review summarizes various research on financial literacy programs, and examines the relationship between financial education and behavior, and how financial literacy services can impact behavior and ultimately influence financial stability.
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  • Understanding Financial Literacy for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Judy L. Postmus for the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin (May 2011)
    This brief describes the connection between intimate partner violence and economic instability, and details various efforts to increase financial literacy for survivors. Results from surveys with program participants are included, as well as key terms.
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  • Building the Capacity of Human Service Providers to Deliver Financial Literacy to Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Kameri Christy-McMullin for the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin (May 2011)
    The author outlines the need to incorporate economic abuse, financial literacy, and asset building into all aspects of direct services, and policy and research agendas.
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  • Effects of Mandatory Financial Education on Low-income Clients | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by J. Michael Collins for the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin (July 2010)
    Many public policies mandate financial education for low-income people, but little research has documented the impact of these mandates on credit behavior. This paper summarizes an evaluation of mandated financial education for clients in a housing voucher program.
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  • Financial Education in Native Communities: A Briefing Paper | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by Jennifer Malkin for First Nations Development Institute, National Congress of American Indians, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (June 2003)
    This briefing is organized into four main topics: access to capital and financial services, need for financial education, efforts to promote financial skills in Native communities, and goals and objectives for further exploration and action.
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  • Financial Counseling: A Meaningful Strategy for Building Wealth in the Latino Community | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Beatriz Ibarra, National Council of La Raza (2005)
    This brief puts context, particularly for the Latino community, to financial education initiatives. Access to financial planners (beyond education programming) is a primary theme. Current policy efforts and recommendations for improvement are made.
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  • Financial Education in Latino Communities: An Analysis of Programs, Products, and Results/Effects | PDF PDF (69 p.)
    by National Council of La Raza (2004)
    This report includes a snapshot of the economic status of Latinos in the U.S., a research review, an overview of Hispanic-focused financial education efforts, challenges and opportunities of reaching Latino consumers, and elements of successful programs.
    + View Summary

Laws & Public Policies | Back to top

The Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) is a Federal law that supports Assets for Independence (AFI) programs. Originally passed in 1998, AFIA was authorized at $125 million for five years. Congress appropriated $10 million for its first two years and appropriated $24 million in 2010. The AFI program provides 5-year grants to enable organizations and government agencies to implement asset building programs for low income families.

Some IDA programs are known as "TANF IDAs." These programs meet the criteria for IDAs established in 1996 as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (also referred to as welfare reform). This federal law on TANF IDAs can be found at Section 404(h) of the Social Security Act.

Federal Law
  • Assets for Independence Act - Community Opportunities, Accountability, and Training and Educational Services Act of 1998, Title IV, Assets for Independence Act, P.L. 105-285 | HTML HTML (11 p.)
    Actual statute language. This Act sets criteria for IDAs under the AFI program.
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  • Social Security Act § 404(h) - 42 U.S.C. 604(h) | HTML HTML (6 p.)
    Actual statute language. Describes uses of grants under the Act, for IDAs under the TANF program.
    + View Summary
State Policies and Programs
As of October 2005, thirty-five (35) states had legislated IDAs. Approximately 22 state-supported IDA programs, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were in operation. (From: "Status of State Supported IDA Programs in 2005, CSD Policy Report 05-03, October 2005, at 1).
  • State-by-State, IDA Policy Information | HTML HTML
    by Center for Social Development, Washington University (August 2011)
    This on-line database provides basic information on IDA state law, links to state-level IDA programs, and applicable rules and regulations. Short summaries of legislative history and state program development are also available.
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  • Status of State Supported IDA Programs in 2005 | PDF PDF (35 p.)
    by Naomi Warren and Karen Edwards, Center for Social Development, Washington University (October 2005)
    This report describes results from a 2005 survey of state-sponsored IDA programs. Information reported includes IDA policy background, state funding allocations and sources, state-level collaborations, and efforts to recruit diverse populations.
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  • 2009-2010 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard | PDF PDF
    by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (August 2011)
    This page provides an overview of state IDA policies and scores each state based on four key elements.
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  • State Policy Options to Encourage Asset Development for Low-Income Families | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by NGA Center for Best Practices (February 2006)
    This article addresses concerns regarding low-income individuals gaining self-sufficiency. It outlines specific policies states should adopt.
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  • Summary Tables: IDA Policy in the States | PDF PDF (19 p.)
    by Center for Social Development, Washington University (February 2007)
    This document provides three summary tables regarding state-level IDA policy. Tables include information on state-supported IDAs, states with IDA legislation, sources of public funding, and a detailed chart of state-supported programs including eligibility, match rates, and approved uses.
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  • State Policy Trends for Individual Development Accounts in the United States: 1993-2003 | PDF PDF (15 p.)
    by Karen Edwards and Lisa Marie Mason, Center for Social Development, Washington University (May 2003)
    This policy report explains the IDA movement, the case for asset-based policy development, trends in state IDA policy development, and analysis of selected state law provisions and policies. Challenges for the future are offered.
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Poverty and Income Guidelines | Back to top

The federal poverty guidelines are issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and are used to determine eligibility for various social services programs, including many IDA programs. Typically, a family must fall within 200% of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for federally-supported IDA. Another income eligibility measurement for IDA programs is the Area Median Income or AMI.

Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • The 2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines | HTML HTML
    by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2011)
    This site provides the 2011 poverty guideline amounts and describes what the guidelines are, how they are used, and how they are similar and different to the poverty threshold. Links to a fact sheet and additional background information are provided.
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  • 2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the Federal Register (January 2011)
    This one page summary provides a quick reference to the 2011 federal poverty guidelines and breakdowns of family size and income as a percentage of the guidelines.
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  • How the Standard Differs from the Federal Poverty Measure | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Wider Opportunities for Women
    Wider Opportunities for Women has created a self-sufficiency standard to determine how much money working adults need to meet their basic needs without subsidies. While this standard is not used for eligibility for federal assistance programs, it provides an interesting context for the existing federal poverty guidelines.
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Annual Area Median Income
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines and reports on the annual area median income (AMI), also referred to as Median Family Income (MFI) figures. A percentage of AMI can be used to determine income eligibility for IDA programs. Local public housing authorities are a good source for AMI figures.
  • FY2011 Income Limits | HTML HTML (2 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Effective May 31, 2011)
    Includes 2011 AMI figures, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
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Reports and Research | Back to top

  • 2010-2011 IDA Program Survey | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Corporation for Enterprise Development (2011)
    This report provides findings from a survey of IDA programs across the country. The results include key aspects of the IDA field including information on accountholders, common asset purchases, and funding sources, as well as resource gaps of the field.
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  • Major Findings from IDA Research in the United States | PDF PDF (28 p.)
    by Emily Carpenter for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2008)
    The Center for Social Development undertook a review of current research on IDAs in the U.S. This report details this data gathering project, and highlights prime research examples as well as both common and uncommon findings.
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  • State-level Individual Development Account (IDA) Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for Rural Areas | PDF PDF (27 p.)
    by Karen Edwards and Jon Bailey, Center for Social Development, Washington University (2006)
    This report gives a brief IDA policy history and outlines variations in state level policy and how they affect rural populations. Special attention is paid to policy reforms to make IDAs more relevant and helpful for different rural populations.
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  • Promoting Economic Security for Working Families: State Asset Building Initiatives | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Heather McCulloch, Fannie Mae Foundation (July 2005)
    This report gives context to how IDAs fit within the broader asset-building movement. State asset policy initiatives in CA, DE, PA, HI, IL, and MI are highlighted. A glossary of state level policy tools is provided.
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  • Assets for Independence Act Evaluation: Impact Study Final Report | PDF PDF (62 p.)
    by Abt Associates (February 2008)
    This report provides the first national estimates of the effects of individual development accounts on participants in the Assets for Independence program.
    + View Summary
  • Savings Experiences Past and Present: Narratives From Low-Income African American Women | HTML HTML
    by Marcia A. Shobe and Kameri Christy-McMullin, Affilia, Vol. 20, No. 2. (Summer 2005)
    This study describes the IDA savings experiences of 9 African-American women. The paper reports on the women's explanations of their past and present financial experiences, barriers to savings, and the impact of the IDA program.
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  • Financial Education in Latino Communities: An Analysis of Programs, Products, and Results/Effects | PDF PDF (69 p.)
    by National Council of La Raza (2004)
    This report includes a snapshot of the economic status of Latinos in the U.S., a research review, an overview of Hispanic-focused financial education efforts, challenges and opportunities of reaching Latino consumers, and elements of successful programs.
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  • IDAs, Saving Taste, and Household Wealth: Evidence from the American Dream Demonstration | PDF PDF (16 p.)
    by Jin Huang for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2009)
    Results indicate that participating in an IDA increases financial assets, and participants with less wealth experience greater benefits than those with more wealth. Importantly, the research suggests that participating in an IDA program changes participant's overall savings behavior and increases the affinity for saving.
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IDAs for Domestic Violence Survivors | Back to top

  • Establishing Individual Development Accounts for Domestic Violence Survivors | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center
    This brief fact sheet describes IDA programs, eligibility requirements, and how AFI grantees can work with domestic violence programs to offer IDAs to survivors.
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  • Assets for Independence: A Fact Sheet for Domestic Violence Service Providers | HTML HTML (2 p.)
    by Assets for Independence Resource Center (August 2011)
    This page provides basic information about the AFI program, who is eligible and how to apply. Information is written for providers working domestic violence survivors.
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  • Savings Outcomes of an IDA Program for Survivors of Domestic Violence | PDF PDF (37 p.)
    by Cynthia K. Sanders for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2010)
    This study examines saving rates, withdrawals, and purchases made among 125 women who participated in the IDA program in St. Louis, MO.
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  • Building Survivor Wealth: A Matched Savings & Individual Development Account "How to Guide" | PDF PDF (38 p.)
    by the The National Network to End Domestic Violence (March 2010)
    This guide provides comprehensive information about IDAs, funding sources, examples of existing programs, and the nuts and bolts of starting an IDA program for domestic violence survivors, including the roles of state coalitions and local programs.
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  • Facilitating Savings and Asset Ownership among Domestic Violence Survivors | PDF PDF (6 p.)
    by Cynthia Sanders for the Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin (May 2011)
    This paper provides an overview of the importance of savings and asset accumulation for survivors, and details surveys of survivors participating in IDA programs.
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IDAs for Underserved Populations | Back to top

Native Americans
  • First Steps to Building an IDA Project in Native Communities | HTML HTML (2 p.)
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center
    This brief document presents an overview of the challenges and considerations when creating an IDA program with Native American communities.
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  • Sovereign Individuals, Sovereign Nations: Promising Practices for IDA Programs in Indian Country | PDF PDF (72 p.)
    by Sarah Dewees and Lou Florio, First Nations Development Institute (October 2003)
    This research report provides an overview of existing Native IDA Programs, a conceptual framework for understanding unique issues in Indian Country, and funding sources. Lessons learned are provided.
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  • Building Native Communities—Saving for the Future, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for Native Families | PDF PDF (88 p.)
    by First Nations Development Institute, First Nations Oweesta Corporation, and CFED (2005)
    This interactive workbook is part of the Building Native Communities curriculum series on financial education. It is designed for specific use with IDA programs.
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  • Financial Education in Native Communities: A Briefing Paper | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by Jennifer Malkin, First Nations Development Institute, National Congress of American Indians, and the Corporation for (2003)
    This briefing is organized into four main topics: access to capital and financial services, need for financial education, efforts to promote financial skills in Native communities, and goals and objectives for further exploration and action.
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Immigrants
  • Reaching Cultural Markets with IDAs: 10 Strategies That Work! | HTML HTML (2 p.)
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center (2011)
    An examination of 22 highly successful IDA programs for refugee communities indicates certain strategies are important for program success. This brief report highlights 10 such strategies.
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  • Financial Literacy for Newcomers: Weaving Immigrant Needs into Financial Education | PDF PDF (32 p.)
    by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and Refugee Works
    This report examines the need for cultural context in financial literacy programs, and examines how existing financial education programs can incorporate the specific needs of immigrant populations.
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People with Disabilities
  • Individual Development Account Question and Answer Sheet: A Guide for IDA Consumers with Disabilities | HTML HTML (3 p.)
    by Dede Leydorf for the World Institute on Disability
    This fact sheet specifically addresses the impact of IDAs on SSI and SSDI.
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  • Increase Access to IDAs for People With Disabilities | HTML HTML
    by the Assets for Independence Resource Center (August 2011)
    This site includes information on IDA programs for people with disabilities. Resources include eligibility considerations, impact of IDAs on SSI and SSDI, information for AFI grantees serving people with disabilities, principles of universal design, etiquette considerations, and much more.
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Children and Youth
  • Why Children's Development Accounts?: Arguments and Evidence to Support Long-Term Asset Building Accounts for America's Youth | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) Initiative (August 2008)
    This guide provides data and other information regarding creating asset building for children.
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  • Child Development Accounts and Saving for Children's Future: Do Financial Incentives Matter? | PDF PDF (17 p.)
    by Lisa Reyes Mason, Yunju Nam, Margaret Clancy, Youngmi Kim, and Vernon Loke for the Center for Social Development, Washington University (2009)
    This study describes outcomes in the first large-scale CDA demonstration in the U. S. The research examines connections between savings outcomes and incentives in an asset-building program for children and highlights implications for CDA policy and design.
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Finding an IDA Program | Back to top

Field experts estimate there are over 600 IDA programs in the United States, with tens of thousands of individual account holders.

  • IDA Online Directory | HTML HTML
    by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (2011)
    This online directory of IDA programs allows you to find an IDA program in your area by entering your state and/or a specific organizational name.
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  • AFI Project Locator | HTML HTML
    by the Office of Community Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    The federal Office of Community Services offers a directory of more than 200 organizations across the nation that run AFI supported IDA programs. Programs are organized by states.
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Acronym & Abbreviation Key | Back to top

This is a list of organizational, legislative, and trade-related acronyms and terms contained in the annotated entries of this special Asset Building and Individual Development Account (IDA) collection.

  • AEO- Association for Enterprise Opportunity
  • AFIA - Assets for Independence Act
  • AFI - Assets for Independence program
  • CDAs - Child Development Accounts
  • CFED - Center for Enterprise Development
  • CSD - Center for Social Development
  • DHHS - United States Department of Health and Human Services
  • IDA - Individual Development Accounts
  • ISED - Institute for Social Economic Development
  • NCADV - National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • NCSL - National Conference of State Legislatures
  • NDI - National Disability Institute
  • NRCDV - National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
  • OCS - Office of Community Services, DHHS
  • SCHIP - State Children's Health Insurance Program
  • SEED - Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment
  • SSI - Supplemental Security Income
  • SSDI - Social Security Disability Insurance
  • TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families