Summer Camps (Day Camp): FSA Eligibility
What is summer camp?
Summer camp is an activity for children and dependents that entails travel, room and board, daily activities, and supervision under a camp staff. It is considered part of child care expenses.
Child care expenses fall exclusively under the realm of the dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA), and while these accounts will cover babysitting expenses, day camps and other forms of child care, overnight camps are not for care and therefore would not be eligible for reimbursement through a DCFSA.
A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) is a unique employee benefit that allows workers to set aside pretax dollars to pay for eligible care expenses for a child, disabled spouse, elderly parent or other individual listed as a dependent who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care. The minimum and maximum amounts allowed to be contributed to a DCFSA are set by the employer, and the maximum set forth by the IRS is $5,000 for individuals or married couples filing jointly, or $2,500 for a married person filing separately. As opposed to traditional medical FSAs, expenses can only be reimbursed under a DCFSA that fall within a current account balance, which may make it difficult to cover large claims early in a given fiscal year (FSAstore.com).
Qualified dependents under a DCFSA include children under the age of 13, dependents of any age who are physically or mentally incapable of self-care, and even adults in some cases if they are provided more than half of that person's maintenance costs in a given year. Most importantly, expenses for the care of these dependents are only eligible if these care services enable the account holders/spouses to work, look for work or go to school full-time. As such, overnight camps are explicitly ruled out of dependent care FSA eligibility, as they are not a work- or school-related expense.