Dependent Care Spending Accounts (DCSA)


A DCSA* allows you to set aside a portion of earnings on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified dependent care expenses (daycare, preschool, before and after school care, and in some cases elder care) incurred during the plan year (a calendar year). The IRS sets pre-tax contribution limits for DCSAs and enforces rules related to plan administration, enrollment, and status changes. The State's DCSA program is administered by ASIFlex.  Watch this DCSA video from ASIFlex, read the DCSA FAQ and review below for information about how DCSAs work.

Key limits for 2024:

  • DCSA contribution limit for 2024 (depends on tax filing status):
    • Married, filing separately: $2,500
    • Single, head of household: $5,000
    • Married, filing jointly: $5,000

* This office previously referred to dependent care spending accounts (DCSAs) as "dependent flexible spending accounts (DFSAs)."  While DCSAs are similar to FSAs, they are not the same and this naming change intends to reduce employee confusion among general health flexible spending accounts (FSAs), limited health flexible spending accounts (LFSAs) and dependent care spending accounts (DCSAs).  Additionally, please note that ASIFlex refers to DCSAs as "dependent day care flexible spending accounts."

Key Things to Remember

  • DCSAs produce valuable tax savings.  With a DCSA, you save money on taxes by setting aside pre-tax income out of each paycheck for eligible dependent care expenses that enable you to work.  The money you contribute is protected from federal, state, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. This brings down your total taxable income, saving you money on your taxes and increasing your take-home pay.
  • You must have an eligible dependent to use a DCSA.  Generally DCSAs are used for dependent care expenses for children under age 13, but if you have an older dependent that you claim as a tax dependent who lives with you at least 8 hours per day and requires someone to come into the house to assist with day-to-day living, you can claim these expenses through your DCSA as well.  
  • Only qualified dependent care expenses can be reimbursed under a DCSA.  Not every dependent care expense qualifies as eligible for reimbursement under a DCSA - review ASIFlex's list to make sure your expenses qualify.
  • DCSAs are similar, but are not the same as health FSAs.  Some key differences are:
    • DCSAs are "pay as you go" plans - you can only receive reimbursements up the amount you have contributed.  
    • DCSA funds are fully subject to the "use it or lose it" rule without any carryover provision. Any unused DCSA funds at the end of the calendar year (plus 3-month runout period at the beginning of the following calendar year) will be forfeited.
    • There are no debit cards for DCSAs - participants submit reimbursement requests to ASIFlex using ASIFlex's member portal, smart phone app, or via paper form.

DCSA Details

Any State employee that satisfies all of the following criteria is eligible to enroll in a DCSA:

If you are married, your spouse must be working, looking for work or be a full-time student.  If you have a stay-at-home spouse, you should not enroll in the DCSA benefit. 

Enrollment periods

Employees may enroll in or change their DCSA election(s) during one of the following periods:

Enrollment process

Step 1: Do your research!

  • Visit the virtual benefits fair to watch a recorded ASIFlex presentation and review ASIFlex materials.
  • Talk to ALEX for help determining how much to set aside.
  • Review the detailed benefits information on this page and at

Step 2: Enroll!

Visit the Benefits Enrollment page for all the guidance you’ll need to enroll in benefits or make changes to existing benefits elections.

Qualified DCSA Expenses

Generally, eligible expenses include day care, regular babysitting, general purpose day camps, before and after school care, nursery or preschool, and pre-kindergarten expenses. Ineligible expenses include overnight camps, care provided by a dependent, your spouse or your child under the age of 19 & care provided while you are not at work. Expenses may only be claimed for dependents that are under the age of 13; or for older dependents that live with you at least 8 hours each day and are incapable of self-care.

For more detailed information with specific examples, see the "Dependent Care" tab on ASIFlex's Eligible Expenses webpage.

Your funds are available as you contribute throughout the year. Since most daycare providers do not accept debit or credit cards, ASIFlex offers several easy ways to submit claims.

  • ASIFlex Automatic Reimbursement Download and complete the claim form. Submit annually to receive automatic reimbursements during the plan year
ASIFlex recurring direct payment infographic
  • ASIFlex Recurring Direct Payment Log in to your account at to schedule recurring payments to be sent directly to your day care provider.
  • ASIFlex Reimbursement Download the general claim form. Submit each time you want to receive a reimbursement.
  • ASIFlex mobile app Download the app and log in to your account. Then, just snap a picture of your itemized receipt and submit a claim via the app.
  • ASIFlex Online Sign in to your online account to submit a claim.

Reimbursements will be made to you within three business days following receipt of a complete claim, provided you have available funds in the account. Log in to your ASIFlex account to sign up for direct deposit to a bank account of your choice.  You can also sign up for email and text alerts.

Please contact ASIFlex if you have questions regarding your DCSA: