Dependent Care Assistance

Eligible dependents for the program are your children under the age of 13, disabled dependents or elderly dependents who spend at least 8 hours per day in your home.

Dependent Care Full Plan

For the purpose of this program, you may use either a dependent care center or private home care. Your spouse or another child under the age of 19, however, cannot provide in-home assistance. 

Eligible Expenses
  • housekeeper costs,
  • baby-sitter costs, 
  • licensed day-care center costs, 
  • and schooling costs for children below first grade
Non-eligible Expenses
  • Transportation costs
  • Schooling costs for children in the first grade or above, other than after school care.
  • Overnight childcare

    The amount of dependent care expenses which may be used for this program is limited to the following:

    • $5,000 per year or $2,500 if you are married filing separately.
    • The lesser of your income or your spouse's income.

    Note: If your spouse is not employed, you would be excluded from using the Dependent Care Assistance program.

    How to Apply for Assistance

    STEP 1: Plan your expenses for the year

    At the beginning of each plan year, you will estimate your dependent care expenses for the next 12 months. 

    The amount of your annual estimate will be divided by the number of times you are paid each year (i.e., 9, 12, or 24). This amount will be deducted from your paycheck on a "pre-tax" basis and will be placed into a dependent care spending account. If you elect to use TFBP allowance for dependent care expenses, the amount of the allowance will also be placed into a spending account available for reimbursement to you.

    Do not underestimate. Do not overestimate. Overestimating expenses will result in forfeiture of the amount remaining in your spending account.

    Federal income tax allowance
    You may also want to consider the option of a federal income tax allowance (credit) for dependent care. It may be more advantageous for you to pay for dependent care expenses with after-tax dollars and claim a credit on your tax return. You are advised to consult with your tax adviser prior to selecting your option.

    Changes to your estimate
    You may only change your annual estimate if you have a valid family status change (e.g. marriage, birth, death, adoption, divorce, commencement or termination of spouse's employment, switching from part-time to full-time status or full-time to part-time status by the employee or the employee's spouse, or taking a leave of absence).

    End of year balances
    If, at the end of the plan year, Dec 31, there is a balance in your spending account for which you have not incurred expenses, the balance will be forfeited. You have 90 days to claim your expenses after the fiscal year. You also have a 2 1/2 month grace period (January 1 to March 15) to "spend down" any unused funds in the previous year's account.

    STEP 2: Fill out the reimbursement form

    A dependent care reimbursement form must be completed in order to receive a reimbursement check. This form requires:

    • Social Security numbers for children age 2 and over
    • Name, address and tax payer ID# of the dependent care provider
    • Include original receipts. Should receipts submitted exceed account deposits, they will be suspended for reimbursement when there is a sufficient balance in the account.

    Reimbursement form

    STEP 3: Receive reimbursement

    You will be reimbursed the tax-free dollars placed in your spending account by a separate check after you submit receipts verifying your dependent care expenses. The minimum amount of the check to be disbursed is $50.00.

    Reimbursement checks are issued weekly on Thursdays for receipts/requests for reimbursement submitted by 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.

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