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So You Want to Do IDAs?. Starting Your Own Program Megan O’Neil WID. World Institute on Disability. The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a nonprofit research, public policy, and advocacy center dedicated to promoting independence and full societal inclusion of people with disabilities.

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so you want to do idas

So You Want to Do IDAs?

Starting Your Own Program

Megan O’Neil



World Institute on Disability

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a nonprofit research, public policy, and advocacy center dedicated to promoting independence and full societal inclusion of people with disabilities.


WID’s Access to Assets Program

Access to Assets (ATA) bridges the asset building and disability communities to improve the economic status of individuals with disabilities.

Toll-Free Hotline:1-866-723-1201

individual development accounts
Individual Development Accounts
  • What are IDAs?
    • Matched savings accounts
    • Save for education, homeownership, or starting their own business.
    • Accountholders typically receive financially education and counseling.
  • Who Qualifies for an Individual Development Account?
    • earned income
    • 200% of poverty level
    • Other requirements (vary by program)
idas disability benefits
IDAs & Disability Benefits
  • Federally funded IDAs are exempt from asset calculations on ALL benefit programs- SSI, Medicaid, food stamps, etc…
  • Non-federally funded IDAs count unless included as part of a PASS plan
  • Contributions deduct from countable income
so you want to start an ida program
So You Want To Start an IDA Program?

Feasibility Assessment

  • Determine #’s of Eligible Participants
  • Funding
  • Partnering Organizations
  • Program Design
  • Technical Support
  • Capacity
funding foundations
Funding: Foundations
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Citigroup Foundation
  • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Fannie Mae Foundation
  • F. B. Heron Foundation
  • The Ford Foundation
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Levi Strauss Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Moriah Fund
  • Peninsula Community Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
funding afia
Funding: AFIA
  • Assets for Independence Act (AFIA)

Office of Community Service, Department of Health & Human Services

  • June 15th is next Due Date
funding recommendations
Funding Recommendations
  • Don’t Be Intimidated!
  • Not all participants are eligible
  • Go Local- contact area Banks, Charities, Philanthropic individuals
  • Find local organizations/individuals to donate time

-Teach financial literacy classes

-Banks may not contribute funds, but may manage accounts

-Business owners to serve as mentors

financial institutions
Credit Unions


JP Morgan Chase

Bank of America

Compass Bank

Whitney Bank

Hibernia Bank


Washington Mutual

Financial Institutions
program design recommendations
AFIA Funding

Good fit for self-employment

Leverage other sources of operating funds

Collaborate with other organizations to offer financial literacy & asset specific training

Private/State Funding

Flexibility in Allowed Assets

-vehicles, computers, assistive technology

Consider developing a matched PASS-like IDA (allowing SSI/SSDI to count)

Asset Limits of SSI/Medicaid

Program Design Recommendations
so you want to start an ida program12
So You Want to Start an IDA Program?


  • IDA Collaboratives Toolkit:
  • IDA Program Design Handbook-Fourth Edition is available in PDF format on CD-ROM, along with IDA resources and a trial copy of MIS IDA. Price: $25.00
  • IDANetwork Program Design Resources:
equity disability and asset building communities working together
EQUITY:Disability and Asset Building Communities Working Together

Recent EQUITY topics:

·Youth with Disabilities

·Making Tax Time Pay

·Latinos with Disabilities

·Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

·Intersection Between Benefits Programs and Asset Building


WID Access to Assets Contacts

  • Kathy Martinez:


  • Megan O’Neil:


Toll Free Technical Assistance Hotline


idas are harder then you think

IDAs are harder then you think.

Abby Cooper

Washington State


know who can help you
Know who can help you
  • Talk to people in your State who have started an IDA program or are interested in being involved.
    • Community Development Corporations (CDC)
    • Community Action Agencies (CAA)
    • Community Action Partnership (CAP)
    • Public Housing Authorities (PHA)
    • Elected Officials
    • MIG
    • Transformation Grants
    • AFIA organizations
    • One stop centers
build your support boarder then just your agenda
Build your support boarder then just your agenda
  • The disability community & professionals have not been part of the poverty conversations.
  • In order to establish support and networks must be willing to broaden your focus.
  • Learn from what other programs have already tried and succeed or failed at.
  • Partner on the creation of needed materials.
  • Work collaboratively on issue that impact asset building in your State- predatory lending, pay day loans, credit scoring, resource limits.
the match is difficult
The Match is difficult
  • IDAs are expensive to run
  • People, corporations, foundations will not be falling all over you to give you money
  • Can not draw down your federal $ with your match
  • Be creative where you look for support
need to have an overall plan for match dollars
Need to have an overall plan for match dollars
  • DVR can use it’s Social Security reimbursement dollars to support IDAs
  • In Washington State at least one One-stop supports IDAs.
  • MIG funding can support marketing, training, and focus groups.
  • Mental Health Transformation Grants
barriers with disability organizations
Barriers with disability organizations
  • The current disability system is built on the delivery of services, not helping people get out of poverty.
  • You will have to educate organizations, most do not view asset building as their role.
  • Many people with disabilities will not trust what you are offering.
  • Fiscal literacy is critical
  • Many people will numerous public benefit rules and resource limits they need to follow, be sure you or someone in your organization understands all of these rules.
  • Do not assume that benefit planners understandasset building.
  • If someone is doing a PASS and an IDA be sure they are receiving good fiscal support.
self employment and idas
Self-employment and IDAs
  • Do not expect everyone will want an IDA.
  • Start small
  • Know who will do the case management
  • Know where you envision the IDA fitting into the self-employment planning and implementation process
  • A support group of IDA account holders can be very useful

Contact information

Abby Cooper

(206) 273-7114