Matched Savings Program

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Matched Savings ProgramUnited Way of Southwest Louisiana’s Matched Savings Initiative works with low-income individuals and families to reward savings goal achievements. The initiative is designed to help participants achieve financial goals that build long-term wealth.

Participants will save toward the purchase of a specific asset such as home, vehicle, secondary education or home maintenance while United Way of Southwest Louisiana provides a financial incentive for individuals and families to save for that goal. Studies show participants in matched savings programs experience positive outcomes like savings accumulation and goal attainment even with small amounts of savings.

Families with savings of $250 - $750 are less likely to be evicted, miss a payment or receive public benefits when an emergency strikes. A large portion of Southwest Louisiana lacks the savings to face an unexpected expense of $400 without selling something, borrowing money or missing an important payment.

Participants make regular deposits to special savings accounts held at a financial institution.

Participants receive a 3:1 match on their savings toward long-term asset weath:

Those saving up to $1,000 will be matched with $3,000 for a maximum total of $4,000 for post-secondary education, a vehicle purchase, or home purchases and home maintenance

Why does it matter?

  • Having few or no assets to rely on in the event of a financial setback such as a medical crisis or job loss makes weathering difficult times more stressful and uncertain.
  • New research shows it can have lifetime impacts on the children in these families as well. Children who grow up in poverty experience increased risks for lifelong hardship.
  • Experiencing financial insecurity and poverty without the tools to respond when setbacks happen can lead to eviction and a lack of basic necessities.


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Earned income is money received as pay for work performed, such as wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, tips, and net earnings from self-employment.

Who qualifies?

Participants may be an individual or a household, must have EARNED INCOME and meet ONE of the following criteria:



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Individual or household is eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program at the time of application.


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 Household net worth was less than $10,000 at the end of the calendar year that preceded the time of their application (not including the value of their primary dwelling unit and one motor vehicle)


Annual adjusted gross household income is less than twice (200%) the Federal Poverty Line at the time of application (see chart at right) or within Federal Earned Income Tax Credit limits

  250% Poverty Level
Persons in Family* Annual Income (up to)
1 $33,975
2 $45,775
3 $57,575
4 $69,375
5 $81,175
* for each addition person after 8, add $11,800

Program Requirements

  • Must open a new savings account (any banking institution)

  • Commit to staying in the Matched Savings Initiative until reaching savings goal

  • Deposit between $50 to $180 once a month into approved savings account while participating in the program

  • While enrolled in the program, you cannot withdraw money out of the savings account

  • Must be working the entire time while in the program

  • Cancellations need to be made within 24hours (Credit Counseling) *Cannot Cancel more than three times*

  • Attend financial education and asset-specific training

What is an asset?
something you own that has monetary value, like a house, car, checking account, savings account or stock


Program Components

  • Credit Counseling Services
  • Case Management Services
  • Financial Education Training
  • One (1) year follow-up