Childcare Subsidy FAQ
What is the childcare subsidy?
To help meet the cost of pre-first grade childcare, USF offers a childcare subsidy to eligible faculty and staff. The program provides you the flexibility to choose a childcare provider at a location that suits your family’s needs and a subsidy amount to contribute to the cost of that childcare. The childcare subsidy is applied to your dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which is administered by third-party vendor, BASIC pacific.
Am I eligible for the childcare subsidy?
To be eligible for the subsidy:
– You must be a benefits-eligible, full-time faculty or staff member at USF
– Your child or children for which you wish to receive the subsidy must be claimed by you as IRS-tax dependents
– Your child or children for which you wish to receive the subsidy must not have started first grade
– If married, your spouse must also be employed, looking for work, or enrolled in school full-time
How do I apply for the subsidy?
Visit the childcare subsidy web page to access the online childcare subsidy form, which you may submit when you are eligible. A new childcare subsidy form must be submitted online for each year that the benefit is requested during open enrollment or when returning to work after experiencing a qualifying event (i.e. birth or adoption of a new child).
When can I apply for the subsidy?
New employees are eligible to apply for the subsidy within the first month following their date of hire. Pending approval, new employees are eligible to receive the subsidy the first of the month following their date of hire.
Current employees are eligible to apply for the subsidy within the first 30 days of returning to work after experiencing a qualifying event, including childbirth, adoption or foster placement of a child, and after your child begins receiving care services (i.e. childcare, daycare, nanny care, etc.). Pending approval, current employees are eligible to receive the subsidy the first of the month following their return to work date and/or after their child begins receiving care services (i.e. childcare, daycare, nanny care, etc.) - whichever date is later. Example 1: if you return to work on April 5 but your child does not start daycare until May 10, then you are eligible to receive the subsidy on June 1, the first of the month following the start of the care services, which is the later date. Example 2: if your child started daycare on March 20 but you did not return to work until April 5, then you are eligible to receive the subsidy on May 1, the first of the month following your return to work date, which is the later date.
If you are currently receiving the childcare subsidy for one child and you give birth to or adopt a second child during the year, you must re-apply for the childcare subsidy in order to receive the subsidy for your second child.
If you do not meet the previous deadlines, open enrollment is your next opportunity to apply for the subsidy. Open enrollment occurs each fall and allows you to make changes to your benefit elections effective January 1st the following year. During open enrollment, a separate childcare subsidy form will be available on the childcare subsidy web page.
What is the childcare subsidy amount?
The monthly subsidy amount is determined by your annual salary as noted on the childcare subsidy web page.
What is the maximum amount I am eligible for?
You will receive the full subsidy amount for your level for your first eligible child and an additional 75% of the subsidy amount for subsequent eligible children, if applicable, up to the IRS dependent care FSA limit for the calendar year. For example, if your 2018 subsidy amount is $365 per month, you receive $4,380 that year for the first child and $273.75 per month for subsequent eligible children until you have reached the maximum of $5,000.
Does the subsidy amount appear on my paystub?
For each pay period, a portion of the subsidy amount will appear on the “Employer” side of your electronic paystub. To view your Year-To-Date subsidy amount, log into your BASIC pacific account.
How do I access the subsidy funds?
The subsidy is a reimbursement arrangement, which means that you pay for any eligible expenses first and then submit your expenses for reimbursement. Childcare subsidy funds are added to your dependent care FSA through BASIC pacific. You do not receive your full childcare subsidy amount for the year in one lump sum. Rather, you receive a portion of the reimbursement during each pay period, depending on your employee type, each month. You will receive your payments from BASIC pacific via check or direct deposit, depending on how you set up the reimbursement. The maximum monthly amount that you will be able to receive reimbursement for each month cannot exceed the amount that you are eligible for each month.
How will I know when my account is funded, and how often is it funded?
Your account will be funded 5-7 business days after the pay date.
May I use my Benny card to pay for services?
Yes, effective January 2019. Please note that not all vendors will accept the Benny card for payment.
What type of expenses are eligible for reimbursement?
Common eligible expenses include: daycare, nanny fees, after-school care, and extended day programs. Please visit BASIC pacific for more information on eligible expenses.
Am I eligible to contribute any of my own money?
You are not eligible to contribute to the employer subsidy. However, you may set aside additional money into a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA) to make contributions with pre-tax payroll deductions. Your total childcare subsidy and employee dependent care FSA contributions may not exceed the IRS limit, which is available on the childcare subsidy web page.
My child is entering first grade next year; am I still eligible for the childcare subsidy?
Yes. However, you are eligible to receive a pro-rated subsidy amount for the first eight months of the year (January through August) before your child enters first grade.
Are the expenses for the summer after kindergarten eligible?
When am I eligible for this benefit?
For new faculty and staff with eligible dependents are eligible to begin receiving the subsidy the 1st of the month following your date of hire. If you are expecting a new baby, you are eligible for the subsidy when you return to work and your child begins receiving care services (i.e. childcare, daycare, nanny care, etc.).
My spouse and I both work for USF. Are we both eligible for the childcare subsidy?
If both parents work at USF, only one parent is eligible to apply for the childcare subsidy.