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Flexible Spending Accounts (Dependent Care)

A dependent care FSA is separate from a healthcare FSA, and is available to all employees who work over 21 hours per week, including those with an HSA. Funds in a dependent care FSA may be used to pay for eligible child care expenses for dependent children under age 13, or adult care expenses for a person who qualifies as your dependent if he or she is physically or mentally incapable of self-care and such care is needed so that you are able to go to work.

Like a healthcare FSA, a dependent care FSA helps you save money on eligible expenses by putting aside pre-tax income. You may elect to contribute up to an annual maximum of $5,000 from your pay for a Dependent Care FSA. However, unlike a healthcare FSA, you cannot be reimbursed for more than you have in your account at the time, and no funds may rollover from year to year. Funds from your pre-tax payroll deductions will become available approximately 3 to 5 days after payday. For more information about Dependent Care FSAs, visit PayFlex.

NOTE: Make sure that you are eligible for this benefit before enrolling in the Dependent Care FSA. You must have a qualified dependent, and that dependent must be receiving care as defined below for you to be eligible.

Who Qualifies as a Dependent

A qualifying person is:

  1. A qualifying child under age 13 whom you can claim as a dependent. If the child turned 13 during the year, the child is a qualifying person for the part of the year he or she was under age 13.
  2. Your disabled spouse who was not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself and lived with you for more than half the year.
  3. Any disabled person who was not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself whom you can claim as a dependent.

There are some restrictions and exceptions. Learn more by visiting the PayFlex web page: "Who Is An Eligible Dependent?"

Eligible Expenses

Some of the most common eligible expenses include:

  • Child daycare
  • Adult day nursing care
  • Child daycamps
  • Before- or after-school programs for children
  • In-home nursing care
  • Transportation to and from eligible dependent care (provided by a care provider)

For a full list of eligible and ineligible expenses, visit the PayFlex website: "Dependent Care FSA Eligible Expenses"

A Word of Caution

To avoid complications down the road, as you proceed through the open enrollment process, if you are only enrolling in one type of FSA, please double check your enrollment to be sure you enroll in the appropriate account. A healthcare FSA is used to reimburse medical, dental and vision expenses for you and your dependents. A dependent care FSA is used to reimburse child day care or adult day care expenses.