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Dependent Care FSA

Save money while taking care of your loved ones so you can work.

The Savings Power of This FSA

A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult daycare. It’s a smart, simple way to save money while taking care of your loved ones so that you can continue to work.

Why enroll in a Dependent Care FSA?

  • Save an average of 30 percent on dependent care services
  • Reduce your overall tax burden – funds are withdrawn from your paycheck for deposit into your account before taxes are deducted
  • Take advantage of several convenient, no-hassle payment and reimbursement options

How You Save

With a Dependent Care FSA, you use pre-tax dollars to pay qualified out-of-pocket dependent care expenses. 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.

Dependent Care FSA Eligible Expenses

  • Care for your child who is under age 13
    • Before and after school care
    • Babysitting and nanny expenses
    • Daycare, nursery school, and preschool
    • Summer day camp
  • Care for your spouse or a relative who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care and lives in your home
See more examples Use our Dependent Care FSA Calculator to see how much you can save with a Dependent Care FSA.

How You Get It

You enroll in or renew your enrollment in your Dependent Care FSA through FSAFEDS during Open Season each year.

How You Manage It

With a variety of convenient payment and reimbursement options, your Dependent Care FSA makes it easy for you to get reimbursed for eligible dependent care services. Learn more about your reimbursement and payment options.

Simply log in to your FSAFEDS online account at any time to manage all aspects of your Dependent Care FSA:

Or you can log in to your account with the FSAFEDs app. Just download this handy app to your mobile device and log in with the same username and password as your online account. It’s the easy way to manage your FSA when on the go!

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How It Works

Step 1 Determine Your Annual Election

If you are eligible to participate in the FSAFEDS program, decide how much to contribute to your Dependent Care FSA account based on how much you plan to spend in the upcoming year on child or adult care expenses. You can contribute to up to a maximum of:

Your maximum contribution may not exceed these earned income limitations:

  • If you are single, the earned income limitation is your salary, excluding contributions to your Dependent Care FSA
  • If you are married, the earned income limitation is the lesser of your salary, excluding contributions to your Dependent Care FSA, or your spouse's salary

IRS annual contribution limit for 2018. Back to main content

If you and your spouse are both eligible to contribute to a Dependent Care FSA through your respective employers, you and your spouse may not each claim $5,000. Please note you may not "double-dip" expenses (e.g., expenses reimbursed under your Dependent Care FSA may not be reimbursed under your spouse's Dependent Care FSA and vice versa.) Back to main content

Please note: As an annual account, the money you contribute to your Dependent Care FSA must be used within the plan year and grace period. So it’s important to estimate how much you spend on eligible dependent care expenses each year before you decide how much to contribute to your Dependent Care FSA. You will lose the funds remaining in your account after the benefit period ends.

Step 2 Enroll to Start Saving

After deciding how much to contribute to your account, enroll in a Dependent Care FSA. After you’re enrolled, your funds are withdrawn automatically from each paycheck for deposit into your account before taxes are deducted. As soon as your account is funded, you can use your balance to pay for many eligible dependent care expenses. You may only use the funds that are available in your account, not the entire election amount.

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Step 3 Pay for Dependent Care Expenses

Use your Dependent Care FSA to pay for eligible dependent care expenses (and decide which payment or reimbursement option to use).