Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

A dependent care FSA is designed to help you pay for expenses related to caring for your dependents while you are working. In order to use this account, you must be single or married with a spouse who is a wage earner, a full-time student at least five months during the year, or mentally or physically disabled and unable to provide care for your dependents.

You can contribute as little as $260 a year or as much as:

  • $5,000 per year if you are single or are married, filing a joint tax return, and your spouse does not participate in an FSA.
  • $2,500 per year if you are married and filing separately, or your spouse participates in an FSA at another organization.

Carry over and contribution changes

You must spend all of the money in your account by the end of the calendar year or you forfeit the remaining balance. You have until March 31 to submit reimbursement requests for expenses incurred during the prior year.

You may not change the amount of your contributions during the year unless you have a life event (qualified status change). Also, you may not transfer money between dependent and healthcare FSAs.

Eligible dependent care FSA expenses

Expenses that can be reimbursed using the dependent care FSA include care of a dependent:

  • In your home.
  • In someone's home such as a neighbor's or relative's home.
  • At most types of facilities (day care centers, nursery schools).

Click to file a claim for reimbursement: Dependent Care FSA Claim Instructions and Form.

To be eligible for reimbursement, expenses must be for a dependent under the age of 13 whom you claim as an exemption on your income taxes and have custody of. Only the custodial parent may claim the child under the dependent care FSA, even if the non-custodial parent claims the dependent as an exemption for income tax purposes. You may also be reimbursed for care of a mentally or physically disabled spouse or other dependent requiring care while you are working.

Non-reimbursable expenses

  • Care of a dependent in a nursing home where any medical treatment is administered.
  • Expenses that exceed your income, or your spouse's income if lower.
  • Care of a dependent by a member of your immediate family.

Looking for information on Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)? Click here.