WASHINGTON — As part of its obligation to take care of service members and families, the Department of Defense is implementing a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, or DCFSA, benefit to support families with expenses such as childcare, elder care, summer camp and more.

A DCFSA is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for eligible dependent care services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before or after school programs, and child or adult day care, babysitting and nanny expenses. It's a smart way to save money while taking care of your loved ones so that you can continue to work.

Each family can contribute up to $5,000 per year to a DCFSA. The benefit of participating in the DCFSA is that contributing pre-tax earnings can lower your taxable income resulting in more take-home pay.

Service members can better budget for dependent care expenses for the year as DCFSA funds will be set aside for use only for dependent care services. By saving taxes, DCFSA will help to reduce the overall cost of dependent care and keep more money in your pocket.

A DCFSA makes it easy to get reimbursed for eligible dependent care services. Simply log in to your FSAFEDS online account at any time to manage all aspects of your DCFSA, such as viewing account balances, submitting claims, and viewing claims status, looking up eligible expenses, selecting reimbursement methods and choosing to receive account alerts by email or text.

All DOD Civilians as well as Active Guard Reserve on Title 10 orders are also eligible for DCFSA. The DCFSA benefit is for dependent children under age 13, spouses or other tax dependents who are mentally or physically incapable of self-care.

Eligible individuals can sign up for a DCFSA during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season (typically in November/December) or after experiencing a qualifying life event, such as a birth or death, divorce, PCS, deployment or a change in dependent care costs.

Enrollment opens for members of the Uniformed Services in November 2023. For assistance with financial considerations, contact a no-cost, credentialed financial counselor at your installation and visit FinancialFrontline.org. Visit FSAFEDS for more information on the DCFSA and to enroll.

Additional resources

Financial Frontline

Office of Financial Readiness

MilSpouse Money Mission

Military OneSource