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Friday, January 6, 2012

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs): Background and Current Legislation for Federal Grant Programs to Help Low-Income Families Save

Gene Falk
Specialist in Social Policy

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are savings accounts to help low-income families and persons save for specified purposes, usually education, purchase of a home, or to start a business. IDA programs match an individual’s contributions, much like retirement 401(k) accounts. The Assets For Independence (AFI) Act, enacted by Congress in 1998, specifically authorizes IDA demonstration programs. Authorization for the AFI program expired at the end of FY2003, though Congress continued to appropriate money for the program. The Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-74) provides FY2012 funding of $19.9 million for the AFI program. States are also given authority to use funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to fund IDA programs.

Date of Report: December 2
8, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: R
Price: $19.95

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