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HR Advisor
May Human Resources Advisor Volume 2, Issue 5

Flexible Spending Accounts

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-favored program offered by employers that allows their employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

FSAFEDS offers three types of FSAs:

  1. The Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), which can be used to pay for qualified medical costs and health care expenses that are not paid by your Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plan or any other insurance. If you are eligible for the FEHB Program and are an active employee you are eligible to participate in a HCFSA. You need only be eligible to participate in FEHB — you do not need to be currently enrolled.
  2. The Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA), only available to employees who enroll in a Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
  3. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), used to pay for eligible dependent care expenses such as child care for children under age 13 or day care for anyone who you claim as a dependent on your Federal tax return who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care so that you (and your spouse, if you are married) can work, look for work, or attend school full-time.. If you are an active employee you are eligible to participate in a DCFSA. Exceptions may apply to intermittent or ―when actually employed (WAE) employees who are expected to work less than six months in a calendar year.

There are maximum contribution amounts. Your employing agency does not play a part in the FSAFEDS administration or enrollment process. The program is administered by BENEFEDS; authorized and approved by the Office of Personnel Management.

Your participation in any FSA is completely voluntary, and it is important to remember that unlike other Federal benefits, your FSA election is only effective for one Benefit Period. You must enroll each year that you choose to participate. If you do not enroll during Open Season, you will not participate in the next Benefit Period, unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) that allows you to make an election outside of Open Season. Open Season for FSAFEDS runs concurrently with the FEHB Open Season in November and December each year for enrollment in the following year. The FSAFEDS Benefit Period will always run from January 1 of the current Benefit Period through March 15 of the following year. This includes a 2 ½ month grace period from January 1 through March 15 of the following year. During the grace period, eligible expenses incurred from January 1 through March 15 of the following year can be applied towards your prior year's balance.

OPM has adopted the grace period on behalf of all agencies and employees that are part of FSAFEDS and has also extended the filing deadline for claims against the prior year account (including claims incurred during the “grace period”) to midnight Eastern Time on April 30.

FSAFEDS follows Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines to determine eligible expenses and other requirements for participation in an FSA issued under Sections 105, 125, and 129 of the Internal Revenue Code.

To learn more about the program or to enroll refer to the FSAFEDs website or by calling a FSAFEDS Benefits Counselor toll-free, at 1-877-FSAFEDS (372-3337), TTY: 1-800-952-0450, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time. FSAFEDS Benefits Counselors can also enroll you over the phone if you do not have access to the Internet.

You may also email any questions about FSAFEDS to .

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