My Personal Finance Journey

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$833 Profit from Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

Contributed by mm | February 4, 2006 1:22 PM PST

Many of you know I signed up for flexible spending account (FSA) for the year 2005, and was quite happy about getting an interest-free loan from Microsoft for our day-care expenses. Good news keeps coming: I actually made a $833 profit from signing up for the account last year, at least by now.

How come?

Here is the storyline: I signed up for an annual contribution of $5,000 to the dependent care FSA (a monthly contribution of $416.67). Before the end of June, I received full reimbursement of $5,000 for my son's day care bills running at about $900/month. Then I moved to Asia in November, which means I technically left the U.S. subsidiary and therefore ineligible of contributing to FSA. The result: I didn't make my November and December contribution, and therefore make a profit of $833.

I explained in my previous post about FSA that this kind of "uniform reimbursement" is not mandatory for dependent care FSA, and company offering this feature is exposed to credit risk:

"... if an employee leaves the job within the year, and claims all his FSA elected amount beforehand, employers will have a hard time getting the uncontributed money back."

So far, I haven't heard from our U.S. benefits department about paying back the money. Am I luck or will the bill finally come? As of now, I'm keeping this $833 in my accounting book as liability. Let's see how it goes from here.

This Post Has Received 6 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Jonathan Commented on February 4, 2006

I really doubt you'll get a bill, I asked my HR person straight up about this, and she said that was just part of the system. It's the flip side of the "Use it or lose it" nature of FSAs.

Think of it this way - you just got the money of somebody who didn't fully take advantage of the FSA money they committed. =)


raising4boys.com Commented on February 4, 2006

This happened to us once in the past, and I never heard a word about it. We ended up 'earning' something like a thousand dollars. Don't feel too bad, though... They'll more than make up for it with the dollars that other people forfeit at the end of the year.

--dad


My Financial Goals Commented on February 6, 2006

I agree. Did the same thing when I left my last job. Your previous employer CAN ask you for the money back but you are in no way obligated or required to give the money back.


ken Commented on February 6, 2006

My understanding is that for a medical FSA the company can only 'ask' for the $$ back.


emma Commented on February 27, 2006

Well, that's a great news. I must say you've earned a good amount from your account.


claire Commented on April 7, 2006

My employer will only reimburse me for the amount I've already contributed, probably for this reason.

The problem right now: they keep losing my deposits! The money gets deducted from my pay, but doesn't show up in my FSA. It's happened with four deposits already this year. Two have been straightened out, but the other two are still MIA.


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