Dependent Care FSA
Dependent Care FSA is a voluntary program designed by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) to allow you to set aside a portion of your regular paycheck, before applicable payroll taxes are withheld, to pay for eligible dependent care expenses.
All District employees, single or married, are eligible to participate. If you are married, however, your spouse must work full-time, go to school full-time for at least five months of the year, or be disabled and/or unable to care for your dependents.
You can enroll in this plan during the Annual Benefits Open Enrollment in November for the following plan year that runs from January - December. The election you make in one plan year does not automatically carry-over to the next plan year so it is important to re-enroll during each Open Enrollment period.
Once you are enrolled, mid-year changes can only be made if you experience a qualifying Major Life Event.
To request a mid-year change, fill out the Flexible Spending Account Request for Change Form and submit according to instructions. Any approved changes will be reflected on your paycheck.
If you are a new employee, you can enroll by filling out the FSA Enrollment form.
Before you enroll, it is helpful to estimate how much you spend each plan year (January – December) on dependent care expenses. Based on this estimate, you can decide how much to set aside out of you paycheck when you enroll. Your annual contribution is limited to the smallest of the following amounts:
- $5,000 if married and filing a joint return or if employee is a single parent;
- $2,500 if married but filing separately;
- employee’s earned income for the year; or
- spouse’s earned income if the employee is married at the end of the tax year.
Your contributions will be credited to your Dependent Care FSA through automatic payroll deductions taken in equal amounts from each paycheck throughout the year. The minimum annual contribution is $120.
As you incur and pay for eligible dependent care expenses, you may file for reimbursement. The maximum amount available for reimbursement at any time during the plan year is the amount you have contributed at the point in time, reduced by any reimbursements already received.
To file a claim for reimbursement, complete the UniAccount FSA Claim Form and submit according to instructions. UniAccount is the District’s FSA’s administrator.
Proof of your expenses, such as a receipt or an Explanation of Benefits statement, and in the case of dependent care expenses, the provider’s taxpayer identification or social security number, is required. If your receipt is smaller than 8.5” x11” please tape it to an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper. You will be reimbursed once a month or when your expenses reach $50, whichever is sooner.
Claims Filing Deadline:
All claims and requests for reimbursements must be received by UniAccount on or before June 15th following the end of the plan year (January – December). Be sure to indicate whether your claims incurred between January 1st – March 15th are to be applied to the unused contributions for the current plan year or to your contributions for the next plan year. Employees who separate, resign, or retire before the end of the plan year have 90 days following the date of separation/termination to submit claims for reimbursement.
- A 2 ½ month extension period was granted by the IRS that allows reimbursement of expenses incurred through March 15th of the year following the current plan year.
- It is important to plan carefully as any unused portion after the extension period, March 15th of the year following the current plan year, will be forfeited (Use It Or Lose It Rule).
- Contributions made to the Dependent Care FSA cannot be transferred to the Health Care FSA or vice versa.
- Participation in this program may slightly reduce your future Social Security benefits because it reduces your taxable income.
- You can take advantage of both federal tax credit and Dependent Care FSA to maximize your tax savings. Just keep in mind that the amount you set aside in your FSA reduces the amount you can apply toward the dependent care tax credit. A tax credit from 20 – 35% for up to $3,000 for one dependent and $6,000 for two or more dependents can be applied for eligible expenses depending on your earning. Consult your tax advisor to determine the greatest tax savings opportunity for you.
How do I know how much I have remaining in my FSA?
Each reimbursement check contains a stub that shows your year-to-date account balance and annual goal amount. You will also receive quarterly statements showing your account activity.
What if I stop getting a paycheck or miss a deduction?
If you skip one or more paychecks due to an authorized leave, your FSA deductions will be put on hold. When you return to work, your payroll deductions for the FSA will resume, and the deduction amount will increase to compensate for the missed contributions. You may only file claims for care that was provided while you were actively contributing to your account.
Can I continue my Dependent Care FSA if I stop working for the District?
COBRA does not apply to the Dependent Care FSA. Therefore, contributions to this account will end with your final paycheck.