The U.S. Department of Defense in coordination with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has expanded eligibility for benefits for military families who need help with the costs of dependent care.
The Department of Defense and the Office of Personnel Management have expanded benefits eligibility for military families with dependents who need services from schools to eldercare.
“The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) initiative provides accounts that allow eligible service members to set aside up to $5,000 per household in pre-tax earnings for qualified dependent care expenses,”
The benefits could reduce the financial burden of many family care costs.
According to the Defense Department, “qualified expenses include child care, preschool, and before and after school programs for dependents under 13 years of age, care for incapacitated family members of any age, and other eligible dependent care expenses that enable service members and spouses to work, look for work, or attend school full-time.”
“Dependent care is vital for maintaining military readiness as it enables service members and DoD civilians alike to focus on their duties with peace of mind, knowing that their loved ones are receiving quality care,” the Defense Department said.
The Department of Defense estimates that about 400,000 service members and reservists have dependents that could qualify for the new benefits.
Enrollment for the new benefits will take place during the annual Federal Open Season from mid-November to mid-December. The Defense Department has created educational materials to inform people about the program and help them determine if they qualify.
Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja praised the initiative.
“OPM welcomes the opportunity to build on the Defense Department’s existing support of military families,” said Ahuja.
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Ashish Vazirani, called the initiative “a significant milestone in DoD’s ongoing effort to take care of our people.”
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