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Achieving Savings Goals


Are you a refugee interested in saving money for:

  • A first home or apartment
  • Starting or growing a small business
  • Continuing your education, vocational training or professional certification

If so, our IDA (Individual Development Account) program may be right for you.

The BCNA IDA program is a specialized savings program for refugees & individuals with approved asylum-status who successfully save money and complete a financial literacy course. After the course is completed, the program matches each dollar you have saved with a dollar in grant money, up to $2,000 per individual or $4,000 per family.

BCNA's Francess Smith with IDA clients

You still have control over the money you have saved, while the “matching grant” is kept in a separate account that can only be used for down payments, investment in your small business, or your education.

To qualify for an IDA, your household income must be within the following limits:

Family Size & Income Limit:

1 member: $24,280
2 members: $32,920
3 members: $41,560
4 members: $50,200
5 members: $58,840
6 members: $67,480
7 members: $76,120
8 members: $84,760


Financial Literacy Seminars

BCNA’s seminars help ensure that you are prepared for the financial responsibilities of entrepreneurship, home ownership, continuing education or vocational training. All classes are free and held at our offices. Topics include:

  • Budgeting
  • Goal setting
  • Managing credit
  • Investment and saving
  • The home-buying process
  • Starting a business

FAQs

No. The matched money is kept in a separate, BCNA-controlled account. When you are ready to use your IDA savings to buy your first home, or begin a business, the matching funds plus your savings are paid directly by BCNA to the bank you are working with. You have no access to the matching funds at any time.

No. You will not be taxed on the matched income.  However, you will be taxed on any interest earned in your individual savings account.

You may keep the money in your IDA account for up to 12 months after completing the program until you are ready to use it for the specified purpose. After 12 months, your savings will be automatically returned to you, and your matching funds will be withdrawn by BCNA.

Most people have never heard of the Independent Savings Account (IDA) program and are surprised to learn that they can be  rewarded for saving money.

IDA was designed by the Federal government to encourage low-income individuals and families to get into the habit of saving money. The hope is that by learning about money management, then using their own talents and energies to make and save money, people will become self-sufficient faster.

The U.S. government believes this goal of self-sufficiency is so important that it is willing to reward those who attend money management classes, make a savings goal, stick to their savings plan, and achieve their savings goal.  The government believes that those who successfully complete the IDA program will have the skills needed to be more financially successful, then pay enough additional taxes, so that the program will pay for itself.

For more information on IDAs, visit Prosperity Now’s website, formerly The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED),  https://prosperitynow.org/issues/individual-development-accounts

IDAs are designed for low-income families and individuals, as defined by the Federal government (requirements listed above).  To qualify for an IDA through BCNA, you must have refugee or asylee status.

No. You can only use IDA to purchase a first home, further your education, or fund a business. If you own a car or taxi service, you may use the IDA to purchase a vehicle for that business.

For more information, contact:


Francess Smith,
Manager of IDA Program
fsmith@nybcna.org
212-898-7850

Click here for a fact sheet on BCNA’s IDA Program