Dependent Care FSA

Important Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Updates:

The recent COVID-19 relief and American Rescue Plan Act legislation provide employees with flexibility in managing FSA elections for 2020 and 2021. Options are detailed below, including but not limited to the ability to carry over all unused funds to the next year, make mid-year election changes without a qualifying life event, and contribute up to $10,500 in 2021.

Syracuse University offers employees the opportunity to contribute pre-tax dollars to a Dependent Care FSA administered by HealthEquity/WageWorks.  If you pay for daycare and related expenses for a dependent child or adult so that you and your spouse/domestic partner can work or attend school, you can use a Dependent Care FSA.

Visit the HealthEquity/WageWorks website or call HealthEquity/WageWorks at 877.924.3967 (TTY: 866.353.8058) for more information.

On this page:

Benefit Design

The Dependent Care FSA offers tax savings on eligible dependent care expenses provided by qualified caregivers.  Generally, you can contribute up to $5,000 per household annually to this account. The maximum limit is $2,500 for married individuals filing separate returns. Due to the American Rescue Plan Act, you can now increase your annual contribution for 2021 up to $10,500 per household or $5,250 for individuals filing separately. 

Keep in mind that in January (or as of your effective date of enrollment, if later) you will be making your regular dependent care payments to your provider, but your account will not yet be funded. You cannot request reimbursement from the Dependent Care FSA for more than has been deposited into it. Depending on the amount of your contribution, it may take more or less time to build up enough of a balance to be reimbursed for your expenses.

Eligible Dependent Care Expenses

These accounts reimburse the cost of eligible care for your qualifying child (typically age 12 and under) or other qualifying dependent, while you work or which enables you to work. Due to recent COVID-19 relief legislation, the maximum dependent age that qualifies for use of unused 2020 Dependent Care FSA funds has increased from 12 to 13. The extension only applies to 2020 Dependent Care FSA funds that are either used to pay 2020 claims for a dependent who turned 13 in 2020, or carried over into 2021 for claims for dependents age 13 and under in 2021. The extension does not apply to elections for the 2021 plan year. 2021 FSA elections can only be used for claims for dependents age 12 and under.

The HealthEquity/WageWorks website has a searchable database of eligible dependent care expenses.

Eligible expenses require a receipt that shows payment was made to an eligible caregiver that includes service dates, dependent’s name, type of service, amount billed and provider’s name and address. Credit card receipts, canceled checks and balance forward statements do not meet the requirements for acceptable documentation.

Common Dependent Care Expenses

  • Babysitting or au pair services
  • Before/after-school programs
  • Day care and nursery schools
  • Summer day camp
  • Preschool programs
  • Elder care services

Ineligible Dependent Care Expenses

  • Private school tuition (kindergarten and up)
  • Lessons
  • Sports registration fees
  • Sleep-away camp
  • Tutoring

Reimbursement Process

The reimbursement process through HealthEquity/WageWorks is simple:

  • Incur your eligible expenses and pay bills as you normally would.
  • Submit your claim, receipts and any additional required information to HealthEquity/WageWorks by selecting one of the following options:
    • EZ Receipts App: Allows you to file your claim from your smart phone or other mobile device.
    • FSA Online Account: Log into the secure website to submit a claim and view all of your account information.
    • Pay Me Back Paper Claim Form [PDF]: Complete the paper form and mail or fax your submission to HealthEquity/WageWorks with your receipts. Reimbursements will be sent to you via paper check as a default, but you can enroll in direct deposit online by logging into your HealthEquity/WageWorks account.

You will have until Apr. 30 of the following plan year to submit claims for expenses incurred during the plan year beginning Jan. 1 (or as of your effective date of enrollment if later) through Dec. 31. For 2020 and 2021, all unused Dependent Care FSA funds remaining in your account will carry over to the next year with no limit. It is important to note that the carryover funds from 2020 will not appear in 2021 balances until after April 30, 2021.

It is important to highlight that COBRA continuation is not available for a Dependent Care FSA.

Changing Your Election

Typically, you can make your elections when you first become benefits-eligible, during a qualified family status change, or during Open Enrollment each year. Recent COVID-19 relief legislation provides you with the opportunity to change your election for 2021 without experiencing a qualified family status change. Allowable changes must be made on a prospective basis and include new elections, as well as increases or decreases to existing FSA elections.

If an election is made to reduce your Dependent Care FSA contribution, the reduced contribution must be no less than the claims that have already been reimbursed or approved for reimbursement. If you wish to make a change to your 2021 FSA election or have any questions, please contact HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042.

Contact HealthEquity/WageWorks at 877.924.3967 (TTY: 866.353.8058) or HR Shared Services at 315.443.4042 should you have any questions on these benefits or the new COVID-19 relief legislation and how it may apply to you.


Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this website is accurate. However, benefits are governed by legal documents (which, in certain circumstances, may include insurance contracts). If there is any difference between the information in this website and the official documents, the official documents will control. As is the case with all of Syracuse University’s employee benefit plans, the University reserves the right to modify or terminate these benefits at any time.