Helping employees maximize their potential

University of California, Riverside –

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law as of March 27, 2020, contains important provisions that will affect Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Also, under existing rules, certain changes in your situation may allow you to increase or decrease contributions, or enroll or disenroll from your FSA.

Please note: Though the April 15 tax filing date has been extended until July 15, 2020, the Health and Dependent Care FSA filing deadlines have not been extended. Remember to file claims for your eligible 2019 expenses by April 15, 2020.

Under the CARES Act, the following are now eligible expenses for reimbursement through your FSA:

  • Over-the-counter drugs and medicines without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Menstrual care products. All expenses incurred after December 31, 2019 qualify, and the provision has no expiration date.

UC’s HSA and FSA administrators are working to update their plan documents and websites to reflect these changes. Please note that you may not be able to use your FSA debit card to purchase these newly-qualified items until retailers have updated their systems. Remember to keep your receipts so you can submit claims for reimbursement.

Your FSA enrollments and contributions

Health FSA: If your spouse loses a job, and eligibility for the employer’s Health FSA plan, due to the pandemic, you may enroll in UC’s Health FSA or increase your contribution.

DepCare FSA: With schools and daycares closed and many people working from home, your dependent care expenses may have changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are examples of how this may affect your Dependent Care FSA enrollment or contributions:

  • If you are no longer able to send your child to daycare, or if you no longer need to do so because you are working from home, you are eligible to decrease your FSA election or stop participating in the plan.
  • If your child’s school closes and you need to enroll your child in daycare to allow you to continue to work, you are eligible to enroll in the dependent care FSA or increase your election.

If your dependent care expenses have decreased, you can reduce your contribution to the amount you’ve contributed year-to-date, giving you through the end of the year to use any funds remaining in your account. If you disenroll from your FSA, you may only be reimbursed for expenses from January 1 (or your start date) through the date you stop participating – unless you enroll again promptly once your situation returns to normal.

Once you return to your usual schedule and childcare expenses, you can once again make changes to your FSA elections – reducing or increasing your expenses, or enrolling or disenrolling in the plan.

You must request a change to your Health and/or DepCare FSA within 30 days of your change in status (for example, the date your spouse became unemployed or your child stopped attending daycare).

Review the Dependent Care FSA Summary Plan Description PDF or Health FSA Summary Plan Description PDF for details about the FSA plans.

How to request a change

If you use UCPath to manage your benefits, log into UCPath and complete the Health Benefits Enrollment Form for Life Events to change your FSA enrollment or contribution. Select “Other - Explain” as the qualifying life event, writing in “COVID-19.” You can submit the form as a secure message on UCPath.

If you use AYSO to manage your benefits, complete the UPAY 850 form and submit it to your Benefits Office.