How Does a DCA Work?
A DCA is used to reimburse yourself for eligible dependent day care expenses. Your contribution is withheld from your paycheck before tax, which in turn reduces your overall tax burden. For a step-by-step look at how a DCA works, check out this diagram.
Dependent Care Account FAQs
How do I file a DCA claim?
- Log in to your online account
- Click the File a Claim button on the top of the page
- Select Reimbursement Account
- Complete the claim form
- Click the Submit button
- Touch the Submit Reimbursement button on the AFmobile dashboard
- Complete the Claim Form
- Click the Submit button
- Fax or Mail
- Download and complete a Dependent Care Reimbursement/Provider Acknowledgement Form and include all applicable receipts and documentation. Please note, paper claim filing is not the fastest option. File a claim online or through AFmobile to get your money faster.
Eligible expenses generally must have been incurred during the current plan year. Check with your employer for specific rules applicable to your plan.
When will my claim be paid?
Once your claim and all required documentation have been received, the turnaround time for claims processing is generally 5-7 business days.
How do I access my DCA online?
How will I receive my reimbursement?
How much can I contribute to my DCA?
The Internal Revenue Code determines annual contribution amounts. For 2019, you may allot up to $5,000 per tax year, or $2,500 if married and filing a separate return.
What happens to unused money in my account?
DCAs are “use or lose” accounts. This means, at the end of your plan year, the funds remaining in your account may be lost. Log in to your account to view your plan year start and end dates.
What is the difference between a DCA and a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)?
A DCA covers employment-related expenses for dependent care. These expenses must be services that allow you to go to work, and typically include day care and elder care for legal tax dependents. An HCFSA covers eligible medical expenses that you would otherwise pay for out of pocket.
Can I transfer money from my DCA to my HCFSA?
No. Contributed funds must remain in their designated account.
What expenses can be paid for with a DCA?
Qualifying expenses may include after-school care, summer day camp, and day care. For more information, check out our list of eligible expenses.
How can I view my balance and transaction history?
You may view your account information at any time by logging in to your online account. Select your account to review your balance and transaction history.
You can also view your account information from our app, AFmobile®. You will be able to view your account balance from the dashboard, or, click on your reimbursement account to view a complete transaction history.
Why do I have to submit receipts for every DCA claim?
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) regulations have requirements stating that expenses must be substantiated. For DCAs, the information required may be provided by a third party in the form of a statement or receipt. To comply with IRC guidelines, we request documentation of your expense to prove its eligibility.
Can I pay a provider directly from my DCA online account?
Yes! First, log in to your online account. Then, select Access My Reimbursement Account, hover over Claims, and select Add Claim. To send a payment to a provider instead of reimbursing yourself, select Yes on the Pay Provider section of the claim form. Then, choose your provider name from the dropdown menu. If you don’t see your provider listed, select Add New Provider Record to add your provider. Enter your provider’s name, address, city, state, and zip code.
When can I make election changes?
Normally, you can only elect contributions into your DCA during a yearly open enrollment period, but there are exceptions. Qualifying life events include:
- Status changes*
- Change in marital status
- Birth of a child
- Adopting or placing a child for adoption
- Change in employment status that impacts plan participant status
- Certain judgments, decrees, or orders
- Loss of entitlement to Medicare or Medicaid
*A DCA may allow certain changes when there is a change in the need for care or cost of care, as well as when there is a change in care providers.
Election changes may only be made if the change is consistent with and on account of the qualifying life event. Your employer determines if you can make mid-plan year election changes. You should contact your employer if you've experienced a qualifying event and wish to make a change.