I put $750 into what I thought was a health/vision limited FSA this year through my employer. Apparently, this is actually a dependent care FSA. I don't know how this happened (whether it was my error or my companies error is not clear to me, I would not have intentionally signed up for dependent care FSA though).

I have no dependents and will have zero ability to use this money legitimately.

What are my options to recover this money?

  • 2
    whose mistake it was makes a big difference. If you filled out the form for the non-dependent one, and they put it in the wrong one, they can fix it. If you filled out the wrong form, there is no way they could have known. Nov 7 '15 at 22:22
  • @mhoran_psprep I'm not sure who is at fault. I selected 2015 benefits through a phone conversation with a benefits person. But considering that was a year ago, I'm not sure what happened. I know for a fact I would not have intentionally signed up for the dependent care FSA (we have no kids...) but.. I don't remember what happened in that conversation.
    – enderland
    Nov 7 '15 at 22:53
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    I have never signed up via voice. I have always signed up via handwritten form, or via a website. Both of which leave you with proof. Nov 7 '15 at 23:45
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    @mhoran_psprep my plan is to call them Monday. I'm hoping this isn't a stupid tax over an otherwise minor mistake..
    – enderland
    Nov 8 '15 at 0:19
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    @mhoran_psprep it turns out in this case it was their mistake (and they had confirmation I selected the limited purpose health care FSA as my election). From the conversation I had, it sounds like this would have been... problematic if they didn't have that documentation. So I guess I'm lucky in this case..
    – enderland
    Nov 9 '15 at 15:24

Following up on this, here is what I did.

First, I called my benefits provider.

They had documentation of my election over the phone, which then allowed them to retroactively fix the problem. Had they not had this documentation, I would have been out of luck.

Second, the next step for "fixing" occurred when I received my W-2 for this position. This W-2 mistakenly showed the amount for my medical FSA in box-10 of my W-2 as the same dependent care FSA.

This requires calling/emailing my benefits and payroll department to get an updated W-2...

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