HR: Benefits: Federal Employees
Flexible Spending Accounts
 Eligibility Requirements

If you are eligible to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), you can apply for this program, even if you choose not to enroll in the FEHB program.

NEW! As of June 26, 2013, all employees who are in legal same-sex marriages will be able to submit claims for medical expenses for their same-sex spouse and any newly qualifying (step)children to their flexible spending program.



You have 60 days from your entrance on duty to sign up for Flexible Spending Account(s), or until October 1, whichever comes first. Applications for the current calendar year are not accepted from October 1 through December 31. If you wish to enroll after October 1, you will need to do so during Open Season of the following year.


FSAs Offered

The Federal Flexible Spending Accounts Program (FSAFeds) allows you to pay for certain health and dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis. You may choose to make a voluntary allotment each pay period to your FSAFEDS account(s). You will not have to pay Social Security and income taxes on your allotments and the Smithsonian will not have to pay Social Security tax on your behalf.

You must make a new election to participate each year, since FSAs are not carried over from one plan year to the next. Each fall during Open Season you must re-enroll if you wish to continue to participate.

Three FSAs are offered to eligible Federal employees:

  • A Health Care FSA (HCFSA), through which you may use pre-tax allotments to pay for certain health care expenses that are not reimbursed by FEHB or any other health plan and not claimed on your income tax return. The maximum amount that you may allocate in 2015 is $2,550 and the minimum is $100.

  • A Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA), through which you may use pre-tax allotments to pay for eligible dependent care expenses. The maximum amount you may allocate in any tax year for this purpose is $5,000 ($2,500 if you are married and filing a separate income tax return) and the minimum is $100.

  • A Limited Expense health Care Flexible Savings Account (LEX HCFSA) allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars each pay period to pay for eligible dental and vision expenses. LEX HCFSAs are only available to employees who are enrolled, or will be enrolled, in a FEHB High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Please see the FAQs to learn more about this opportunity. Be aware that IRS rules do not allow you to be enrolled in a HDHP with a HSA and have a "general purpose" HCFSA at the same time. However, you can still elect a Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA) and/or a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA). For information on Health Savings Accounts, click here.

    A list of eligible expenses that may be claimed can be accessed through the FSAFEDS Website.



You will need to read and agree to the FSAFEDS Terms and Conditions before you can make your elections. The enrollment process is explained at the FSAFEDS Website (see Quick Links).


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