Flexible Spending Account for Federal Employees

The Flexible Spending Accounts for Federal Employees (FSAFEDS) is an account where employees contribute money from their salary BEFORE taxes are withheld then get reimbursed for their out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. The FSAFEDS program offers three different flexible spending accounts (FSAs): a Health Care FSA (HCFSA), a Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA) and a Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA).

A HCFSA pays for the qualified medical expenses not covered or reimbursed by the employees Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHB) or any other type of insurance to include Long Term Care.

Though the LEX HCFSA is similar to the HCFSA, it differs by the type of expenses it covers. The expenses are limited to dental and vision care services/products that meet the IRS definition of medical care. Also, only those employees who have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) are eligible to enroll in a LEX HCFSA.

A DCFSA allows employees to pay eligible expenses for childcare or adult dependent care expenses that are necessary to allow employees or their spouse to work, look for work, or attend school full-time.

If an employee is eligible for the FEHB Program, the employee is eligible to participate in a health care FSA with FSAFEDS. Employees need only be eligible to participate in FEHB — they do not need to be currently enrolled.

Employees’ participation in any FSA is completely voluntary, and it’s important to remember that unlike other Federal benefits, employees’ FSA election is only effective for one Benefit Period. In other words, the employees must enroll each year that they choose to participate. If an employee is an eligible, newly hired employee and wish to participate in FSAFEDS, the employee must enroll within 60 days of his/her actual start date. Current eligible employees may enroll during the annual 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. If they do not enroll during Open Season, they will not participate in the next Benefit Period, unless they experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) that allows them to make an election outside of Open Season. 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 the employee’s prior year's balance. The intent is to help account holders avoid forfeiting any of the funds they deposited in FSA accounts. It is important that the employees carefully consider the amount they choose to elect.

For more information and enrollment visit:

Content last reviewed: 7/5/2012-VOH


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This page was last revised: 7/5/2012