The final school bell has rung for most kids across the United States and as a result, parents have shifted to summer camp mode. Time for sunscreen, bug spray, flip flops, swim trunks, and all of those happy, fun things we associate with summer time. Working parents who signed up for a Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP) can use their account to cover a lot of those summer care expenses.
Using Your DCAP Account
Child care is costly. Depending on where you live in the U.S., it could cost between $5,000 – $20,000 annually. According to a recent survey, 72 percent of families spend 10 percent or more of their household income on child care.
Enter the DCAP account (also known as a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account). You set aside up to $5,000 annually to cover the cost of dependent care while you work or attend school. In 2021, you may be able to set aside up to $10,500, depending on your employer’s plan. Plus, if you had any unspent DCAP money from 2020, you may be able to roll those funds over to use this year.
Your DCAP can cover care costs for children between the ages 0-12. It can also cover dependents age 13 and over who cannot care for themselves while you’re at work.
DCAP and Summer Camps
This summer, use your DCAP to pay for day camps that your child attends. Keep in mind that there are some limitations. First, the camp must be attended in-person; virtual (online) day camps are generally not eligible. Second, the camp has to be a day camp; your camper is not allowed to stay overnight.
So long as it is a day camp, pretty much any type of summer camp is eligible. These could include:
- 4H camps
- Aviation camps
- Fishing camps
- Robotics camp
- Scout camp
- Special needs camps
- Sports camps
You can also use your benefit account to pay for camp enrollment fees. If your little one is too young to attend a day camp, you can always pay for daycare/nursery care as you would during the school year.
Need to Update Your Election?
Did you have a change in child care needs? A DCAP allows for flexibility to update your election if you change care providers, the cost of care changes, you have a change in marital status, or have an employment change. You can increase or decrease your annual election, based on your needs. However, you cannot get a refund for money that you already contributed. For example, if you already contributed $2,500 for this year, your new election amount cannot be less than that.
Getting Reimbursed for Summer Camp
Getting reimbursed for the cost of summer camp is easy. First, be sure to keep all of your receipts. Your benefits administrator will want to know:
- Who was the camp for?
- What is the age of the attendee?
- When was the camp attended?
- Where is the camp located (or what organization is the camp with)?
- How much did the camp cost?
You may be able to file a claim online or through your mobile app. Be sure to contact your administrator for more information.
With your DCAP, your child’s summer fun can be more affordable and stress-free.
Captain Contributor is an award-winning employee education program created by DataPath, Inc.