Support & FAQ

Dependent Care FSA

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  • What is a Dependent Care FSA?
    A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, or “FSA,” is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for dependent care services while you are at work. The money you contribute to a Dependent Care FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, so you end up paying less in taxes and taking home more of your paycheck. Under this type of account, a “dependent “ is a child under 13 years of age (until the day of their 13th birthday) and adult dependents who can't take care of themselves. Please keep in mind that they must live with you and be claimed as dependents on your tax return. Please review the eligible expense list [list] to see what's covered under your Dependent Care FSA.
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  • What is a "work-related" expense?
  • What kinds of expenses are covered by a Dependent Care FSA?
    All kinds! A Dependent Care FSA covers a wide variety of dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before- and after-school programs, and child or elder daycare. Here's a handy list of eligible expenses to review, download, or print out for future reference. Please keep in mind that IRS rules determine which expenses are eligible.
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  • How is a Dependent Care FSA funded?

    There two ways you can use the funds in your Dependent Care FSA:

    • Pay My Provider. You can arrange to have your dependent care provider paid directly.
    • Pay Me Back. You can be reimbursed for eligible dependent care expeses you pay out of pocket.
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  • How do I use my Dependent Care FSA funds?

    There are several ways you can use the funds in your Dependent Care FSA

    • You can arrange to have your healthcare provider paid directly from your Healthcare FSA.
    • You can also be reimbursed for eligible expenses you pay out of pocket.
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  • What if my claim amount is greater than the balance in my Dependent Care FSA?
    You will be reimbursed up to your account's current balance. The rest of your claim will be held until your account is funded. Then you will be reimbursed for the remainder of your claim.
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  • Will I be able to use the full amount I've elected to contribute to my Dependent Care FSA on the first day of my plan year?
    Sorry, you can't access the full amount of your Dependent Care FSA at the beginning of the plan year. Funds need to build up in your account before you may use them.
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  • What if my spouse has a Dependent Care FSA, too?
    If your spouse has a Dependent Care FSA, you may each contribute up to $2,500 into your respective accounts. The annual Dependent Care FSA contribution limit for married couples who file their taxes jointly is $5,000. Please keep in mind that you can't "double-dip" expenses, which means that expenses reimbursed under your Dependent Care FSA can't be reimbursed under your spouse's Dependent Care FSA and vice versa.
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  • Who qualifies as a dependent under a Dependent Care FSA?

    The following people qualify as "dependents" under your Dependent Care FSA:

    • A child under the age of 13 who resides with you and for whom you are entitled to a personal tax exemption as a dependent. Keep in mind that if you are divorced, the child is a qualifying individual with respect to you if the child lives with you even if you have permitted the noncustodial parent to take the exemption.
    • A spouse, parents, or other tax-dependent adults who reside with you and who are physically or mentally incapable of self-care. Learn more about eligible dependents.
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  • Can I change my election amount after Open Enrollment or during the benefit year?

    You can only change your election amount outside of Open Enrollment if you meet one of the special circumstances set by the IRS and your employer.


    Examples of special circumstances include:

    • A change in marital status (such as marriage, divorce or death of your spouse)
    • A change in the number of your dependents (such as the birth or adoption of a child, or death of a dependent)
    • A change in employment status of you, your spouse or dependent
    • An event that causes your dependent to satisfy or cease to satisfy an eligibility requirement for a particular benefit
    • A change in residence of you, your spouse or dependent
    • A change in cost in coverage
    If you believe you qualify for a change of your election, please contact your employer.

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  • What happens to the funds in my Dependent Care FSA at the end of the plan year?
    Sorry, any money left in your Dependent Care FSA at the end of the plan year is forfeited to your employer per IRS regulations, so please plan your contributions and expenditures carefully. Use this savings calculator to help guide your contribution planning.
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  • Does a Dependent Care FSA cover healthcare expenses for my dependents?
    Sorry, a Dependent Care FSA covers only dependent care expenses, such as before- or after-school programs for children or elder day care for dependent adults, so you can continue to work. It does not cover healthcare expenses. If you’re interested in covering healthcare expenses for your dependents, you should enroll in a Healthcare FSA if your employer offers one.
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  • Do my Dependent Care FSA contributions continue while I am on a leave of absence?
    No, your contributions will stop if you take any type of leave of absence. Your Dependent Care FSA is intended to help you pay for eligible dependent care expenses to allow you to work. Therefore, you cannot be reimbursed for expenses incurred while you are on a leave of absence from work.
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  • What happens to the funds in my Dependent Care FSA when I leave my employer?
    Sorry, we can't be too specific about this answer because it depends on your employer's Dependent Care FSA program. Often employers offer a period of time when you can still submit claims so you can spend down funds remaining in your Dependent Care FSA. But please keep in mind that you need to incur all eligible expenses before your last day of work. We recommend asking your employer about your options.
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  • How do I submit a receipt for reimbursement under my Dependent Care FSA?
    The easiest way to submit a receipt is to use the WageWorks® EZ Receipts® mobile app. With this handy app, you can use your mobile device to take and store photos of your receipts and submit them for reimbursement. You can even have your dependent care provider sign receipts using your mobile device. You can also submit digital copies of receipts by logging into your WageWorks account.
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  • How do I submit a receipt for reimbursement under my Healthcare or Dependent Care FSA?

    There are two ways to submit a receipt for reimbursement:

    1. Through the WageWorks EZ Receipts® mobile app. Use your mobile device to snap a photo of your receipts and submit them for reimbursement.
    2. Though your WageWorks account. Log into your account, select the Pay Me Back option, upload a digital image of your receipt, and submit your claim.

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  • Is a Dependent Care FSA for healthcare for my kids?
    No. Although both are Flexible Spending Accounts, a Healthcare FSA is very different from a Dependent Care FSA. A Healthcare FSA is to help you pay for healthcare expenses for you and your dependents. A Dependent Care FSA is to help you pay for childcare and elder care expenses so you can continue to work.
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