Are the matching funds deposited into my account?

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 bank you are working with.  You have no access to the matching funds at any time.

Will I be taxed on the matching funds?

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

What if I am not able to use my IDA money as I had originally planned?     

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 purpose you specified.  After 12 months your savings will be automatically returned to you, and your matching funds withdrawn by BCNA.

What if I change my mind?  For example, what if I get a full-time job
and decide not to start my own business?

You will get back the money you saved but lose any matching funds.

This sounds too good to be true.  How is it possible?

Most people have never heard of IDAs and are surprised to learn that people can be generously rewarded just for saving money.

The Independent Saving Account (IDA) program 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 thinks that 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 they need to be more financially successful, then pay enough additional taxes, so that the program will pay for itself.    

For more information on IDAs in general, visit The Corporation for Enterprise Development's website,  http://cfed.org/programs/idas/.

Can anyone get an IDA?

IDAs are designed for low-income families and individuals, as defined by the Federal government (check here to see if you qualify).  To qualify for an IDA through BCNA you must be a refugee or asylee.

I need a new car.  Can I use an IDA to buy one?

NO.  You can only use the IDA to purchase a first home, further your education, or fund a business.

Please click here for a fact sheet on BCNA's IDA Program


For further information, please contact Francess Smith at fsmith@nybcna.org, 212-898-7850.