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Eligible Dependent Care Expenses

A Dependent Care FSA is the smart way to help pay for eligible dependent care expenses. Here is a list of those expenses.


Eligible Dependent Care Expenses
Expense Type




Camp Activities

Separately stated activity fees for day camp are not reimbursable.  Examples include but are not limited to field trips, camp shirts, etc.  Also see Indirect Fees; Clothing.

Camp, Day X

The cost of day camp, including specialized day camp (for ex., soccer camp, computer camp, etc.) is reimbursable.  Also see Camp activities; and Recreation fees.

Camp, Overnight X

The cost of overnight camp is not reimbursable, even when the daytime portion is broken out. Overnight camp is not considered an eligible expense by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Care at Night


See Nighttime Care.

Care during a Layoff or Strike


The cost of care while the participant is on strike or has been laid off (participant is not gainfully employed) is not reimbursable.  If actively seeking employment, see Care while looking for work.

Care during a short, temporary absence from work


If the FSA participant must pay for dependent care expenses on a periodic basis (for ex., weekly or monthly) and the absence is short and temporary, the cost of care for a period that includes the absence and the work days is reimbursable.  Note: The determination of an absence as short and temporary is based on the facts and circumstances of each person’s situation.

Care for Disabled Person


The cost of care for eligible disabled individual who is incapable of self care and in order for participant and spouse, if applicable, to work are reimbursable.


Medical expenses for disabled eligible person are not reimburseable under the Dependent Care FSA.

Care when one parent works days and other parent works nights


If spouses work separate shifts, the cost of care during the hours one spouse works and the other sleeps are reimburseable.

Care when participant/ participant’s spouse is employed part-time


For part-time employment, expenses must be allocated between days worked and days not worked.  Note:  If payment for care is on a weekly or longer basis (i.e., must pay for care for days worked and days not worked), the cost does not have to be allocated.

Care while living in a foreign country


For U.S. citizens working abroad and who are eligible to participate in a dependent care FSA, the cost of care is reimbursable. NOTE: The qualifying person (receiving the custodial care) must be a U.S. citizen or national or a resident of the U.S., Mexico or Canada.

Care while looking for work


The cost of care while the participant or participant’s spouse is actively looking for work is reimbursable, if the following conditions are met: 1) The person looking for work must have earned income for the year; 2) If married, the other spouse must be gainfully employed, looking for work, a full-time student or mentally or physically incapable of self-care.  Note: Please refer to IRS Publication 503, Earned Income Test.

Care while on family, personal or medical leave


Generally, the cost of care while the participant is on leave is not reimbursable.  Note: Individual facts and circumstances must be reviewed as other factors (for ex., one spouse being gainfully employed while the other spouse is mentally or physically incapable of self-care) may qualify the expense for reimbursement.

Care while participant/ participant’s spouse is working at self-employment


The cost of care while the participant or participant’s spouse is self-employed with net earned income is reimbursable.  Note: Self-employed persons are not eligible to participate in a flexible spending account (FSA).  However, a person participating in an FSA through his or her employer may also be self-employed (separately from his or her employer relationship).  Please refer to IRS Publication 503, Earned Income Test.

Care while performing volunteer work


The cost of care while the participant or participant's spouse is performing volunteer work is not reimbursable.

Care while spouse sleeps

See Care when one parent works days and other parent works nights.

Child Care Placement Fees

See Indirect Expenses.

Child Daycare

X The cost of child daycre is reimbursable.

Child of FSA Participant, amounts paid to Relative

See Relative, amounts paid to.



Clothing items such as T-shirts, hats, etc. are generally not eligible for reimbursement.

Convalescent Home X The cost of care in a convalescent home is not reimbursable because the qualifying person must reside in the participant's home at least 8 hours per day; see IRS Publication 503 at www.irs.gov.
Custodial Care See Convalescent home and Elder care.

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