Flex Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers below to the questions most frequently asked by our members. If you are enrolled in a Surency Flex plan, visit the Member Account to learn more about your  benefits.

What is the difference between a Health Care FSA and a Dependent Care FSA?

Dollars from a Health Care FSA can only be used for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses, including deductibles, copays, prescriptions and some over-the-count medications. Dependent Care FSA dollars can only be used for child care services for your dependents who are younger than thirteen years of age or adult dependents who are unable to care for themselves.

What is the maximum amount I can contribute to a Dependent Care FSA?

The maximum amount in 2018 that can be contributed to a Dependent Care FSA is $5,000 for a married couple filing taxes jointly or for a single person filing as head of household; or $2,500 for a married couple filing taxes separately.

What funds are available to me on the first day of the Plan Year?

Unlike Health Care FSA funds, Dependent Care FSA funds are not available on the first day of the Plan Year. The only funds available are the dollars that have already been set aside (already deducted from your paychecks) and are in your account. Advance reimbursements from your Dependent Care FSA are not allowed.

What happens if my child turns 13 during the plan year? Can I use the funds in my Dependent Care FSA account for the entire year?

No, you will only be reimbursed for eligible child care expenses incurred before your child's thirteenth birthday. However, you may adjust your elections by filing for a Qualified Change in Status.

Can I use my Dependent Care FSA for domestic partners and their dependents?

No, you can only use your Dependent Care FSA for children or adults claimed as dependents on your tax return.

If I participate in a Dependent Care FSA, will I still be able to claim the dependent care tax credit on my federal income tax return?

No, if you participate in a Dependent Care FSA, you are not allowed to claim any other dependent care tax benefits for the tax-free amounts you receive through this plan. However, you are allowed to claim expenses not reimbursed through your Dependent Care FSA.

What happens if I terminate employment during the Plan Year?

Please check with your Human Resources department or contact Surency Flex’s Customer Service department at 866-818-8805 to discuss the specific details of your plan.

What happens if I submit a claim for an amount greater than what I have in my Dependent Care FSA account at the time?

If you submit a claim for an amount greater than what you have in your Dependent Care FSA account at the time, the portion of the claim that is above the amount you have in your account will remain “pending” until funds are available from future contributions.

If I pay my dependent care provider in advance of the services, can I file my claim after I pay?

No, only charges that have been fully incurred can be distributed for reimbursement. If you pay in advance, please wait until after the care has been provided before submitting the claim for reimbursement.

What does “incurred” mean?

Incurred is defined by the IRS as the date(s) that the services are provided that gave rise to the expense. Expenses are not considered to be provided at the time you are billed. That means for Dependent Care FSAs, if you pay for services in advance, you cannot claim the expenses until you actually receive the services. For example, if you pay January's expenses at the beginning of the month, you cannot be reimbursed until the end of January when all of the services have been received. You may file a claim weekly for that week's services or you may file an Auto Dependent Care Claim Form if your weekly payments do not vary.

Do kindergarten charges qualify as Dependent Care FSA expenses?

No. Expenses for education do not qualify as Dependent Care expenses. However, if you are charged for after care for the portion of the day that your child attends the school, this charge does qualify as a Dependent Care expense. Your provider must supply you with documentation for the charges for the portion of the day that is specifically for care and well-being.

Do summer camps that include an overnight stay qualify as Dependent Care expenses?

No. Expenses that include overnight care are not eligible expenses. The charges cannot be prorated to include the portion that was for care during the day while you were working.

Do charges for food, transportation and activity fees qualify as Dependent Care expenses?

No. If your child’s child care center or summer camp charges for food, transportation or activities, these charges are not eligible as Dependent Care expenses. 

What does “gainfully employed” mean?

One of the requirements for you to receive reimbursements from a Dependent Care FSA is that the expense is incurred allowing you and your spouse to be gainfully employed. This means that you are working and earning an income. You are not considered gainfully employed during paid vacation time or sick days. Gainful employment is determined on a daily basis. Since you are an employee of your employer, you are gainfully employed. If you have a legal spouse, then your spouse would also need to be gainfully employed for your expenses to be eligible. Other definitions of gainful employment include people who are:

  • Unemployed but actively seeking work; or
  • Self-employed; or
  • Physically or mentally not capable of self-care; or
  • Full-time students.


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