Who's eligible: Employees with Full, Mid-Level and Core benefits
Academic Student Employees and Graduate Student Researchers are eligible for DepCare FSA 

Who’s covered: You and your family members

Who pays: You

You set aside money for your flexible spending account (FSA) from your paycheck before taxes are taken out. The Dependent Care (DepCare) FSA is intended for eligible caregiving expenses for your child (up to age 13) or eligible adult dependent. The Health FSA is intended for eligible medical expenses for you and your eligible family members.

Important update — To provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic, rules have changed regarding your UC benefits, including Dependent Care and Health FSAs. Refer to these stories for details:

  • Important changes to UC benefits for relief during the pandemic — Until Oct. 28, 2020 (just before Open Enrollment), employees will have the option to enroll in a Health or DepCare FSA for 2020, cancel enrollment or change your election. UC has also been authorized to increase the amount of Health FSA funds that can be carried over from 2020 to 2021 from $500 to $550.
  • New rules and processes for your Health FSA — The deadline for submitting claims for Health FSA expenses has been extended, and Health FSA funds carried over from last year will be available on June 5, 2020. 
  • New rules for tax-advantaged accounts in response to COVID-19 — Provisions contained in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act affected a number of rules for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

How the Plans Work

  • You must enroll annually, usually during a period of eligibility or during Open Enrollment, to participate.
  • You specify an amount to be taken from your paycheck each month and deposited in your Health FSA and/or your Dependent Care FSA.
  • When you incur eligible expenses, you submit a claim form and appropriate documentation of these expenses to WageWorks (formerly CONEXIS). WageWorks then reimburses you from the funds in the appropriate account. Generally, you must submit claims by April 15 of the following year to receive reimbursement (see above for changes this year).
  • Because the FSA contributions are deducted from your paycheck before taxes are withheld, your taxable income is reduced, and you save money on taxes. Your savings will depend on your particular tax situation.
  • Generally, FSA contributions cannot be changed during the year unless you experience a qualifying event (see above for changes this year). The IRS defines qualifying events and allowed changes. They include:
    • A change in number of eligible dependents;
    • A change in dependent eligibility, including a child reaching age 13;
    • A change in your legal marital status;
    • A change in employment status that causes a gain of benefit eligibility;
    • A change in cost or coverage — that is, your dependent care expenses increase or decrease, or you change childcare providers or the amount of time needed for childcare.

DepCare FSA 

The DepCare FSA allows you to pay for eligible expenses for care of your child (up to age 13) or eligible adult dependent. You determine how much you want taken from your monthly paycheck(s), from a minimum of $180 per plan year up to the lesser of:

  • $5,000 per plan year ($2,500 if you are married and filing a separate income tax return) or
  • Your total earned income
  • Your spouse's total earned income
  • If your spouse is incapable of self-care or is a full-time student, you may claim up to $2,400 for one dependent or $4,800 if you claim two or more dependents.

If your spouse is also eligible to participate in a dependent care FSA, your combined contributions should not exceed the maximums stated above. Remember that you forfeit any money you don't use; so calculate your contributions carefully.

You may submit claims for expenses incurred during the plan year and during the grace period (Jan. 1 to March 15 of the following year). All claims must be submitted by April 15 of the following year.

Health FSA

The Health FSA allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses for you and your eligible family members. For 2020, you may contribute a maximum of $2,700. If both you and your spouse are UC employees, you may each contribute up to $2,700.

As a reminder, provided you are enrolled through the end of the plan year, the Health FSA lets you carry over up to $550 of unused funds to the next plan year. With the carryover, if your balance is less than $550, you do not have to rush to spend all of your Health FSA funds or worry about losing money when the 2020 plan year ends.

You have until Dec. 31 to incur eligible expenses for the current plan year. The plan’s deadline to file claims for expenses incurred during the 2019 plan year has been extended; the new deadline has not yet been determined. As of June 5, 2020, unused funds up to $500 will carry over to the 2020 plan year and be available for reimbursement. Unused funds greater than $500 will be forfeited.

The carryover amount does not count against your Health FSA election for the following plan year. You may still elect the maximum of $2,700 per plan year.

If you do not re-enroll, you must have at least $25 remaining in your Health FSA after the April 15 deadline to be able to carry over funds to the next plan year. Funds under $25 are forfeited. You may only carry over funds (up to $550 for 2020) for one year.

Enrolling in the UC Health Savings Plan

If you would like to enroll in the UC Health Savings Plan for 2020, you must have had a zero balance in your Health FSA as of Dec. 31, 2019.