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Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) Open Season

The 2023 Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) Open Season is now closed. It ran until December 11, 2023, and after that date, the enrollment period was closed until the same time in the following year.

What Is DCFSA Open Season?

This is the period of time when you may set up a DCFSA to make pre-tax contributions to a DCFSA to pay for future preschool, daycare, adult daycare, and after-school programs.

Military families didn’t always have the option to apply for a DoD Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account.

In March 2023, the DoD announced the department’s “intent to offer service members the ability to contribute annually up to $5,000 in pretax income to pay for dependent care expenses.”

As many as 400,000 service members qualify for flexible spending accounts for childcare, and starting in 2023, they join many DoD civilians who also use DCFSAs offered by the federal government.

Why Use A DCFSA?

Some might wonder why a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is necessary. After all, don’t military members get on-base childcare options with income-based fees?

That is true, but it’s also true that not all military families have access to on-base childcare. These families pay more out of pocket for their childcare expenses and a DCFSA can help.

Using DCFSA As A Military Family

November 2023 was the first time military members could sign up for a DCFSA. At press time, they are permitted to contribute a maximum of $5,000 per year, which is automatically deducted, pre-tax, from military pay.

These payments are automatically withdrawn from military pay (pre-tax) to pay for care for children younger than 13. This plan also provides an option to save for costs associated with adult care for those who cannot care for themselves.

DCFSA Enrollment is open to:

  • Active duty service members
  • Active Guard/Reserve members on Title 10 orders

To enroll, create an account at FSAFEDS.com during the Federal Benefits Open Season in mid-November through mid-December. The annual dates of Open Season are subject to change from year to year. Check the FSAFEDS.com official site to learn the current year’s deadlines.

Related: Financial Planning For Military Members and Veterans

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.