Children, Spouses, Parents

Eligible Dependents

{Find Out Who Qualifies}

Who Is An Eligible Dependent? 

 You can use your WageWorks® Dependent Care FSA to pay for care for eligible children, spouses, parents, or other dependent adults. 

Who is Eligible?

Who Is Eligible?

A qualifying child or relative

  • Your qualifying child* – under the age of 13.
  • Your spouse, or a qualifying child or relative* – who is physically or mentally incapable of self care.

* See the definitions below to determine if you have a qualifying child or relative.

  • Any of the following: your child, grandchild, stepchild, foster child or adopted child; brother, half-brother or stepbrother; sister, half-sister or stepsister; nephew or niece; the child or grandchild of any of the relatives listed above; your father, grandfather or stepfather; mother, grandmother or stepmother; uncle or aunt; or son-, daughter-, father-, mother-, brother- or sister-in-law. Or, any other person who will reside with you for the entire year (while not in violation of local law).
  • Will reside with you for more than half the year
    • Disregard temporary absences due to illness, education, business, vacation, or military service. You must maintain a home for the person during the temporary absence and the person must be expected to return after the absence.
  • Will regularly spend at least eight hours a day in your home.
  • Will not file a joint tax return with his/her spouse for the calendar year (unless the qualifying relative is your spouse).
  • Will not be claimed by any other person as a qualifying child for the calendar year. (If you are not the child’s parent, your adjusted gross income is higher than the adjusted gross income of either of the child’s parents.)
  • Is a citizen, national or resident of the US; or a resident of Canada or Mexico (unless the person is an adopted child).
  • And, you will provide more than 50% of this person's support for the calendar year, are not the qualifying child or relative of any other person.

Are There Stipulations?

Are There Stipulations?

There are Rules


All of the following must be true about the care:

  • The care is provided while you work or to enable you to work. If you are married, the care is provided while your spouse also works or to enable your spouse to work or go to school full-time (at least five months a year) or while your spouse is incapable of self care.
  • The care is provided when the dependent meets the definition of a qualifying child or relative (per the IRS, based on a tax year).
  • The care may be provided by a relative or non-relative but cannot be provided by your child under the age of 19 (tax dependent or not), the child’s parent, or another tax dependent.
  • Your care provider conforms to state and local laws (including being licensed, if required) and is able to provide you with his/her Social Security or Tax ID number. You will need this when filing the Form 2441 with your income taxes.

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances

They are Considered


Divorced or separated parents: 

Check with your legal or tax advisor to see if special rules apply to you that would enable your child to be claimed by the non-custodial parent or by both parents. 


If two or more people want to claim the same child as their qualifying child, the person who has the right to is:

  1. The child's parent - if one person is the child's parent and the other is not.
  2. The parent with whom the child lives with longest in the year - if both people are the child's parents.
  3. The parent with the higher adjusted gross income - if both people are the child's parents and the child
    lives equally with both during the year. 
  4. The person with the higher adjusted gross income - if both people are not the child's parents. 

Who is Covered Under Eligible Expenses?

Who is Covered Under Eligible Expenses?

A person is determined to be a qualifying child or a qualifying relative on a daily basis


A person is determined to be a qualifying child or a qualifying relative on a daily basis.

You can use your Dependent Care Account to pay for eligible dependent care services provided for a qualifying child or relative during your coverage period – as long as the services are provided on days the dependent is a qualifying child or relative.

Example: Your employer’s plan year runs from 7/1/2011 through 6/30/2012 and you will be covered for the entire plan year. Your daughter is a qualifying child until her 13th birthday on 3/1/2012, but is not a qualifying child or relative as of 3/1/2012. The dependent care services provided for your daughter between 7/1/2011 and 2/28/2012 are eligible to be paid from your account. The dependent care services provided for your daughter on 3/1/2012 and later are not eligible because she is not a qualifying child or relative at the time the services are provided.

The same example applies for a qualifying relative who becomes capable of self care on 3/1/2012. If your employer’s plan allows all federally-recognized changes, both events (your daughter’s 13th birthday and a person ceasing to be a dependent) are qualified change events that will allow you to decrease your election or cancel your enrollment in the Dependent Care Account.