Use It Or Lose It: Spending Down Those Leftover FSA Dollars

Posted by Richard on December 8, 2020

In the 1985 film Brewster’s Millions, a minor league baseball pitcher stands to inherit a huge sum of money if he can spend $30M in 30 days, but finds that offloading the cash is harder than he thought.
The millions of Americans looking to spend down their tax-free flex spending accounts (FSAs) might have an easier time than Monty Brewster, but there are still limitations. And when workers don’t use the cash, they lose it. According to CNBC, workers may lose as much as $400M each year from unused flex dollars. Some companies may permit an extension until March 15 of the following year or allow up to $500 of rollover.
If you have funds leftover in your health care FSA, consider whether you need a flu shot, prescription sunglasses, sunscreen (SPF30 or higher), dental care or other items. You can also buy these items for a dependent, according to Further, an FSA account administrator.
One online vendor, the FSA Store, simplifies shopping for you–all items are FSA-eligible expenses. For vendors that don’t accept FSA debit cards, check with your plan about how to submit expenses for reimbursement.
Flex spending accounts have expanded over the years to allow workers to set aside up to $5,000, tax-free, to pay for dependent care expenses, such as daycare or summer camp. With pandemic-related daycare and summer camp closures in 2020, parents will be hard-pressed to spend those funds before the end of the year, and the money may be lost, according to Arizona Family.

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