I have a similar issue as this question (Can I pay past expenses using an FSA opened midyear?) but with a Dependent Child FSA. Child had preschool expenses Jan - May. Had full amount elected, but I left company in Sept. At new company, I elected for the remaining expenses I hadn't paid yet. When I went to get reimbursed for them with my new companies FSA, I was told it was outside the coverage time.

Can I submit to my previous company's FSA even if I didn't pay in the entire amount?

Should I be able to be reimbursed for the other amounts, because I was in an FSA at the time the expenses occurred?

(Simplified example)

  • Jan - June ($1200 in Preschool expenses). I elected $100 per month to be taken out of my paycheck.
  • Left company in Oct after putting $1000 into my FSA (submitted for and was reimbursed for the $1000.)
  • At new Employer, setup for $200 to be taken out, $100 for Nov. and $200 for Dec.
  • Submitted for $200 to new Employer's FSA, but was denied because the costs occurred before I was enrolled in their program.

1 Answer 1


No. Dependent care FSA is dissimilar to Health Care FSA in this regard; a health care FSA is fully funded day one (even if you have not made deposits to it) and you can withdraw 100% of the amount you asked for on day one. If you leave prior to the end of the year, your employer is basically covering the difference (presumably paying it from the un-used funds from other accounts, but otherwise reimbursing the plan).

Dependent care FSAs, though, are only available to be used as they're funded, and any amount that's not funded is not available to be spent. When you leave one employer and join another, you leave an FSA plan and join another. Any expenses on the new FSA will only be those that are during that plan's window. Some FSAs will let you "spend down" any unused funds; but the inverse (spending in the new FSA based on already incurred expenses) isn't typical.

If you want to be sure, though, read your FSA's plan documentation, but it seems very unlikely.

  • So If you leave a job after you have incurred expenses that you have setup an FSA for, there is no way to be able to have FSA cover those expenses.. In other words, once I decided to leave my previous employer, there was no way for me to get those Dependent Care expenses paid from an FSA account...
    – Daryl
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 19:57
  • That's my understanding, yes; DCFSAs are sort of second class citizens, here compared to HC FSAs.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 20:17

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