Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

With a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can set money aside from your paycheck on a pretax basis to pay for eligible out-of-pocket expenses. GW offers two types of FSAs, administered through PayFlex:

  • Health Care FSA (HCFSA) - may be used to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses (including medical, dental, vision, hearing and prescription drug expenses) for you, your spouse and your eligible tax dependents.
  • Dependent Day Care FSA (DCFSA) - may be used to pay for eligible child and adult* care expenses while you and your spouse work; this includes day care, before and after school care, nursery school, preschool and summer day camp.

You may choose to contribute to one or both of these FSA options.

FSAs are a great way to save money because your eligible expenses are paid using tax-free dollars. Contributions made to an FSA are not subject to federal, FICA or most state income taxes. With an FSA, you could save approximately 30 cents on every dollar you spend on eligible expenses.

*Are day care expenses for an elderly parent eligible under a DCFSA? If an elderly parent lives with a participant and relies on that person for at least 50 percent of their support, then the DCFSA may be used for that elderly parent’s day care expenses.

How the Plans Work

1. Estimate the amount that you expect to spend on eligible expenses in the upcoming plan year. Select an FSA, and choose the annual amount that you want to contribute, up to the IRS limit.*

2. Your annual contribution is deducted in equal amounts from your paychecks throughout the year, before taxes are deducted.

3. As you or your dependents incur eligible health and/or dependent care expenses, you may either

  • use your PayFlex Card® to pay for these expenses; the PayFlex Card is essentially a debit card that is linked to your Flexible Spending Account(s); or
  • pay out-of-pocket with your personal cash, check or credit card, and file a claim with PayFlex to request reimbursement for these expenses. Your reimbursements are paid to you tax-free. For instructions on how to file a claim with PayFlex, please see the File a Claim section below. Note: Please remember to always save your receipts associated with reimbursement requests.

*For the HCFSA, you may contribute between $100 and $2,600. For the DCFSA, you may contribute between $100 and $5,000 (or $2,500, if you and your spouse file separate income tax returns). Per IRS regulations, your annual dependent day care contribution may be reduced based on the level of participation by all faculty and staff. You cannot use Health Care FSA dollars to pay for dependent day care expenses, and vice versa; each of these accounts is independent of one another.

For a general summary of the FSAs, please review GW’s Flexible Accounts Summary Plan Description (PDF).

Eligibility and Enrollment

You may elect one or both FSAs as a new benefits eligible employee, during Open Enrollment or following a Qualified Life Event. FSA elections are made through the online EasyEnroll system.

Reminder: Health Savings Account (HSA) participants cannot participate in the HCFSA. However, if you are enrolled in the GW Health Savings Plan (HSP), and are not eligible for the HSA, you may be eligible to participate in the HCFSA.

File a Claim

For instructions on how to file a claim with PayFlex to request reimbursement for eligible health and/or dependent care expenses that you paid out-of-pocket, please review the instructions for Filing a Claim with PayFlex (PDF).


Please be mindful of submitting your claims for eligible health and/or dependent care expenses before the deadlines listed below. Per IRS regulations, unclaimed funds are required to be forfeited to the plan.


If you have a 2019 HCFSA and/or DCFSA, please review the account use deadlines below. You have until April 30, 2020 to submit claims for eligible health and/or dependent care expenses incurred for 2019.

  • Health Care FSA members - your claims must be for eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2019* and March 15, 2020.
  • Dependent Day Care FSA members - your claims must be for eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2019* and December 31, 2019.

*If your effective date of coverage is after January 1, 2019, you can only submit claims for eligible expenses incurred on or after your effective date through the end dates listed above.

Special Note for 2018 Health Savings Account (HSA) Participants:

If you have a 2018 HCFSA and had funds remaining in this account as of December 31, 2018, they carried over and were available for use during the FSA grace period that ended on March 15, 2019. As a result, your 2019 HSA will be effective April 1, 2019. Please visit PayFlex for up-to-date HCFSA balance and claims status information, and be sure to review the HCFSA filing deadlines above.

Contact PayFlex

Call PayFlex at 1 (844) 729-3539, available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST.

Email PayFlex:

  • Visit payflex.com and sign in.
  • From your account dashboard, select Help & Support at the top of the screen.
  • Select Contact Us.
  • From that page, select Send an Email.

Helpful Resources