Department of Human Services

Families First Online Policy Manual

Individual Development Account




Table of Contents


To participate in the IDA Project:


        The individual must be a member of an eligible Families First assistance unit.


        The participant must notify the county Department of Human Services office, in advance, that he/she is going to start an IDA. This account must be one with a cosignatory relationship between the Saver and the Tennessee Network for Community Economic development (TNCED). Applicants must notify the caseworker about any individual in the assistance unit who has an IDA at the time of application in order for it to be considered a timely notification. For recipients, if the notification of the county office is prior to the recipient attending the first IDA group meeting, it is considered a timely notification. If the Department is not notified prior to the establishment of an IDA or at the time of application, the total funds in an IDA are counted as a resource up to the day that the Department is notified. Starting on the day that the Department is notified, the funds in the IDA will be disregarded.


        A participant does not have to be employed to open an IDA. However, deposits into IDAs must be from earned income.


        The participant must join an IDA group which meets twice a month at an approved non-profit sponsor. An approved non-profit sponsor is one that has agreed to and operates the IDA program in compliance with DHS policies and procedures. At these meetings, the group will receive training, support and technical assistance in maintaining and using this account. Attendance policy is determined by the non-profit sponsor and the IDA group. When the non-profit sponsor contacts the caseworker or IDA contact regarding an IDA Saver who is not in compliance with the attendance policy, the participant is not eligible to be in the IDA group, and funds in the IDA are counted as a resource.


        The individual (an IDA Saver) must commit to depositing funds to the IDA during these twice monthly meetings (the actual deposits will be completed the next business day by the individual). Deposits to the account must be from earned income. The amount of the twice monthly contributions to the IDA must be decided on beforehand at an amount that is manageable for the participant. If that amount becomes too burdensome, the participant and the non-profit sponsor can determine another amount that is more appropriate for his/her budget. For times when a participant is unemployed, the contribution amount can be set at zero, but the participant must notify the non-profit sponsor of this change.




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