How to Use a Dependent Care Spending Account

Determine Your Needs

Review the amount of money you are currently spending on day care. Remember to calculate the increase in summertime day care fees for school-aged children.

Consider any upcoming changes, such as babies turning two or children beginning school, as those milestones do lower the cost of child care.

Review your commitment to your current company. If you plan on making a career change, you will not receive the full benefit of a dependent day care spending account.

Decide upon the annual amount you want to contribute. The maximum annual amount is $5000.00. The amount you select will be divided by the number of remaining pay checks in the current calendar year. That amount will be taken from your gross pay prior to taxation.

Set Up your Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account

Contact your HR representative to obtain the paperwork to begin utilizing this benefit. You may be able to locate the paperwork on your employer's website.

Fill out the paperwork completely. Ask for clarification from your HR representative if you have any questions or concerns. This will help insure that the paperwork is correct and avoid any delays. Make a copy for your own records.

Return the documents to the proper place. Make note of the date so you can expect when to see the deductions on your pay check.

Make Claims

Obtain a receipt from your day care provider. If their system is computerized, they can print out the receipts for specific dates, making it easier to track your claims.

Ask for the Federal ID number for your day care. If you do not have this information, you will need to have your day care provider sign the claim form and fill in her social security number.

Attach the receipts to the claim form, making sure you have copies of all of the paperwork for your own record keeping.

Send the completed claim form along with the receipts to the proper location, typically listed at the bottom of the claim form.

Note the date you made the claim so you can watch for payment; most payments are made via direct deposit.