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U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Ensuring the Federal Government has an effective civilian workforce

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Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are a benefit offered by most employers that allow an employee the opportunity to put some of his/her salary aside before taxes to pay for many common out-of-pocket expenses. OPM sponsors The Federal Flexible Spending Account Program, also known as FSAFEDS on behalf of all Executive branch agencies, as well as other agencies that wish to offer this benefit to their employees. Just about all Federal employees can elect to participate in one or both Flexible Spending Accounts. (Note: some agencies, such as the U.S.Postal Service and the Federal Judiciary, offer their own FSA program for their employees. The benefits of an FSA are the same, but eligibility and other program rules may be slightly different.)

FSAFEDS offers two types of FSAs: a health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) and a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA). The HCFSA is described elsewhere on this website.

You can use a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) to pay for eligible dependent care expenses that allow you (and your spouse if you’re married) to work, look for work, or attend school full-time. You may elect up to $5,000 each year.

That $5,000 limit is a total combined amount for your household, including any child care subsidy amounts, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service regulations.

A DCFSA covers eligible expenses for the care of:

  • Dependent children under age 13
  • A person of any age you claim as a dependent on your Federal Income Tax return, and who is mentally or physically incapable of self-care. This would include an elder or other adult dependent.