Using your DCA during school breaks and holidays
During the school year, you are most likely using your Dependent Care Account (DCA) for before or after school care. But what do you do when your school is closed for a break or holiday? Do you know all your options? Here are a few DCA eligible options you may not have considered.
Day camps are a great option to use your DCA funds and there are usually many local businesses and organizations that offer them. For a day camp to be eligible, the primary purpose of the camp must be to provide care while the parent or guardian1 is working. Most day camps focus on a theme or incorporate aspects of learning in a less structured environment. These themes could include sports, dance, art, music, science, nature explorations and more. No matter what your child’s interests are, you can probably find a camp they’d enjoy or learn from. Maybe even both!
There are several options for in-home care that are considered eligible expenses when the services are needed for you to work, look for work or attend school full-time. Those include:
- Au Pairs
- Family Members
- Babysitters- in addition to adults, this includes babysitters between the ages of 13-19 that you do not claim as dependents on your own income tax return and does not live in your home.
What’s Not Eligible
There are many eligible options to help parents and caregivers in their unique situations. However, there are also a few expenses that are not considered eligible such as:
- A sibling or someone living in your home watching your child
- Overnight camps
- Day camps that are not primarily for the care of the child while the parent or guardian is working1
- Babysitters for social events
- Transportation to and from the care provider
- Late payment fees
- Educational programs like summer school, tutors, music lessons, dance lessons, etc.
Also, if you have an existing DCA and your child’s summer care involves a price increase or change in provider, it may allow you to increase your contributions, as long as they do not go over the allowed annual maximum amount.
This blog is up to date as of March 2022 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.