Human Guide: FSA Eligibility

Human Guide: eligible with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA)
To assist a physically, visually, hearing or mentally impaired person, the cost of a human guide is a qualified medical expense with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA) and a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Human guide reimbursement is not eligible with a limited-purpose flexible spending account (LPFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

What is a human guide?

A human guide is a term that refers to a trained professional who is qualified to assist a physically, visually, hearing or mentally impaired person, but the phrase can also be shorthand for the Human Guide Technique, which is widely accepted as the safest, most efficient way for those with vision impairment can walk alongside a sighted person. Individuals with hearing, vision and other disabilities can hire a human guide to assist with day-to-day activities, or family members can pay for training in the Human Guide Technique to provide assistance to their family members when they need it most.

What is the Human Guide Technique?

The Human Guide Technique, also known as a form of orientation and mobility training, is a series of strategies that have been formulated to make it as safe and easy as possible for a sighted person to guide a person with vision loss or another disability. The Human Guide Technique is predicated on the guide maintaining contact with the visually impaired person, establishing proper body positioning, finding a comfortable pace, navigating specific obstacles and communicating effectively to who is being guided. It's important to note that individuals with or without mobility impairments can be human guides, and consistent practice and reinforcement with these practices can contribute to the improved safety and ease of movement for those with disabilities who need a helping hand (American Foundation for the Blind).

How are human guide expenses reimbursed?

As long as an individual is the account holder's spouse or qualified dependent, consumer-directed healthcare accounts like FSAs, HSAs and HRAs will cover the cost of Human Guide Technique training if these skills will be put to use in assisting the account holder with day-to-day activities to improve his/her quality of life. In other cases, when this family member is absent and the services of a human guide are required, such as during travel, during the recovery from a major surgery or medical procedure or other reasons, any funds paid to these guides are eligible for reimbursement with a consumer-directed healthcare account.