Dependent Care Spending Account
Saving for Child and Elder Care Expenses
You may need some help caring for your child or maybe an elderly dependent and those costs can add up quickly. The Dependent Care Spending Account (DCSA) is here to help you set aside money for day care or elder care expenses while also lowering your taxable income.
COVID Relief for DCSAsNew COVID relief was recently passed as part of the IRS Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. Click here to learn about how the provisions of the act may impact you.
Who Qualifies as an Eligible Dependent?
To qualify for the DCSA, your child or elderly parent must live with you and depend on you for financial support. They must also meet the IRS definition of an eligible dependent, like when you file your taxes.
Contributing to Your DCSA
When you enroll in the DCSA, you choose an annual amount to contribute. The amount you elect is evenly deducted over the course of the year from your paycheck pre-tax.*
- Minimum: $240/year
- Maximum: $5,000/year**
*If you’re enrolled in the DCSA, your coverage and payroll deductions will be stopped during a leave of absence per IRS rules. If you want to resume coverage in the DCSA when returning to work, you’ll need to call Empyrean.
**Maximum $3,000 per year, if you're considered a highly compensated employee (HCE). You’re considered an HCE if your prior year gross earnings exceeded the annual amount of $120,000, set by the IRS. If both you and your spouse contribute to a DCSA, consult with a tax advisor to understand how much you can contribute.
- Nursery school tuition
- Day care centers (including adult day care facilities)
- In-home day care providers
- Before- and after-school care, if not included in tuition
This is just a short list. For a complete list of eligible expenses, review IRS Publication 503. Note: this list is subject to change at any time.
- Food, clothing, and entertainment-related expenses
- Education expenses for a dependent in kindergarten or higher
- Expenses for any overnight camp, regardless of purpose
- Expenses reimbursable under any other plan or program
- Expenses for care provided to a dependent while in a convalescent nursing home
- Health care expenses
- Transportation expenses, including chauffeur services
Using Your DCSA Dollars
You use personal funds to pay your dependent care provider. Then, use Optum Financial's (formerly known as ConnectYourCare) mobile app or online tool to file a reimbursement claim. You can request direct deposit to get your reimbursement faster.
Call Optum Financial 24/7, 365 days a year at 844-594-1228, if you need help using your account for filing claims.
December 31, 2021
Last day to incur eligible expenses for the 2021 DCSA.
March 31, 2022
Last day to file all 2021 DCSA claims.