Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)
The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to take a pre-tax deduction for eligible dependent care expenses from your pay. You save money because you do not pay income tax on the amount of your deductions. You can use DCAP instead of taking the Child and Dependent Care Credit when you file your tax return. Compare DCAP to the IRS Child and Dependent Care Credit described at the IRS website.
Effective January 1, 2014, Flex-Plan Services, Inc. will be the new DCAP administrator for Public Employees' Benefits Board (PEBB) members.
How DCAP Works
The University sends your DCAP payroll deduction to your DCAP account which is administered by Flex-Plan Services, Inc. our third party administrator. You pay dependent care expenses out of pocket and then you request reimbursement from your DCAP account by submitting a reimbursement claim form to Flex-Plan Services.
You may view your balance and account activity on the Flex-Plan Services web site by going to Account Login. In order to access your account, you will need to create a login and password. You can also access your balance through the mobile application or by calling customer service at 1-800-669-3539.
If you choose to participate in the DCAP program, it is important that you estimate your dependent care expenses for the coming year carefully, and that you obtain reimbursable services by December 31 of the year in which you participate in the program. Any funds that remain in your account for a given year are forfeit to the State of Washington if Flex-Plan Services has not received your reimbursement claim by March 31 of the year after which you incurred eligible expenses.
All WWU employees who are eligible for PEBB benefits are also eligible to participate in the DCAP program except:
- students whose wages are exempt from FICA
- nonresident aliens who receive no U.S.-source earned income
- any married employee whose spouse does not receive wages
You may enroll in the DCAP program:
- Within 31 days of employment if you are a new employee,
- During the annual open enrollment in November each year (for a January 1 effective date), or
- When there is a qualified change in family status such as:
- divorce or legal separation,
- death of a spouse or dependent,
- birth or adoption of a child or addition of a dependent to your household,
- termination of employment of your spouse,
- employment of your previously unemployed spouse, or
- a substantial change in your working hours or in your spouse's working hours.
Current plan participants MUST re-enroll in the plan each year in order to continue participation. Open Enrollment is held during the month of November each year prior to January 1 of the following year, the date when the DCAP goes into effect.
New hires who wish to enroll in a DCAP account must do so within 31 days from date of hire. Participation becomes effective the first day of the month following receipt of the properly completed enrollment form.
Current University employees experiencing a qualifying life event may enroll in a DCAP account within 60 days from date of the qualifying event. Participation becomes effective the first day of the month following receipt of the properly completed enrollment form.
To qualify as a dependent under the program, an individual must normally be a member of your household, receive more than one-half of his or her total support from you, and fall within the definitions specified below (and in IRS Child and Dependent Care Expenses Publication 503):
- Your dependent child was under age 13 when you provided care,
- Your spouse was not able to care for him/herself due to physical or mental disability, and who lived with you for more than half of the year, or
- A person who was not able to care for him/herself due to physical or mental disability, and lived with you for more than half the year, and was either:
- a. Your dependent, or
- b. Someone who would have been your dependent except that:
- i. He/she had gross income of $3,300 or more,
- ii. He/she filed a joint return, or
- iii. You, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's income tax return.
DCAP contributions are limited to:
- $5,000 annually for a single person or married couple filing a joint income tax return, and
- $2,500 annually for each married participant who files a separate income tax return.
The amount of your contribution cannot be more than either your earned income or your spouse's earned income, whichever is less. Earned income means wages, salaries, tips, and other employee compensation plus net earnings from self-employment.
Impact on Other Benefits
Using a DCAP account reduces the salary on which your Social Security benefits and any unemployment compensation benefits are calculated.
- New hires or current employees who experienced a recent qualifying life event may enroll in a DCAP account for the current plan year provided eligibility and enrollment requirements are met, otherwise any eligible employee may enroll in the upcoming year during the annual open enrollment period, November 1-30.
- Review the DCAP Enrollment Guide.
- Estimate the amount of eligible expenses you expect to incur during the calendar year.
- If it is your first visit to the website, create an account.
- Enroll online or through a paper enrollment. You must either enroll online, or alternatively fax, email, or mail your enrollment no later than the last day of open enrollment. Be sure to indicate the "Western Washington University" on the form.
- Please do not send the enrollment form to the WWU Benefits Office, but rather fax or mail it to the address listed below:
Access Your DCAP / File a Claim
After enrolling in DCAP, you don't have to wait for cash to accumulate to use your account. The maximum annual amount you plan to contribute is available throughout your period of coverage. Funds are available for those claims incurred after your account is set up.
Here are the ways you can access your DCAP:
- Fill out a Claim Form, attach proper documentation and fax, email or mail it to Flex-Plan Services (below).
- Use your benefit's debit card to pay for eligible expenses and the funds will come automatically out of your DCAP and are paid to the provider. Download the FlexiCard Debit Card Application form.
- After you create an account with Flex-Plan Services, download the Flexi App for your Android or iPhone mobile device. You can use the "Submit a Claim" tool to enter your claim information, upload a photo of your documentation, and submit to Flex-Plan Services.
It is important to send the proper documentation that substantiates the claim, the IRS requires that the documentation have:
- Provider name
- Dependent's name
- Date(s) of service
- Cost of service
- Types of service(s) provided
Your provider may also sign the day care claim form instead of providing separate documentation. No further documentation would be required then. DO NOT send the claim form to the WWU Benefits Office.
Direct Reimbursement Option
You have the option to have your DCAP reimbursement checks deposited directly into your checking or savings account. Depending on whether you opt for email or written confirmations, you will either receive an email or letter that the claim has been processed. To apply, complete the Direct Deposit form or contact Flex-Plan customer service at 1-800-669-3539.
Continuation of Benefits
Upon leave of absence, layoff, or termination of employment, you can no longer participate in DCAP. Only bills for services incurred prior to your leave of absence, layoff, or termination date can be submitted for reimbursement.
US Mail Address
UPS or FedEx Address Only
Flex-Plan Services, Inc.
Flex-Plan Services, Inc.