PEBB - Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)

For employees

The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) is only offered to PEBB benefits-eligible state and higher-education employees.

How DCAP can help

DCAP allows you to set aside money from each paycheck—before taxes—to pay for dependent care expenses.

DCAP can help you:

  • Pay for dependent care expenses like babysitting, daycare, prekindergarten, and registration fees. (See list of eligible expenses.)
  • Set aside a portion of your pay, so it reduces your annual taxable income.
  • By reimbursing qualified dependent care expenses so you and your spouse can attend school, work, or look for work. (Note: If you have a stay-at-home spouse, you can't enroll in the DCAP.)

Qualifying dependents include:

  • Dependents under age 13 who qualify as an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dependents.
  • Spouses who are physically or mentally incapable of self-care.
  • Any other IRS-recognized dependents who are physically and/or mentally incapable of self-care.

Enrolling in DCAP

You can set up a DCAP account:

  1. When you become eligible for PEBB benefits. You must enroll no later than 31 days after you become eligible (usually on your first day of employment).
  2. During the PEBB annual open enrollment.
  3. During the plan year if you or an eligible family member has a qualifying event that creates a special open enrollment. You must enroll no later than 60 days after the event that created the special open enrollment.

You decide how much you want to set aside when you enroll. The maximum annual amount is $5,000 ($2,500 if you and your spouse are both enrolled and file separate tax returns).

Using your DCAP

When you incur a qualifying expense, you can submit a claim via our mobile app, online, or send a claim form by toll-free fax, mail, email to request reimbursement. Your and your family members’ expenses (those who qualify as dependents under IRS rules) may be reimbursed from your account, even if they are not enrolled on your PEBB coverage. Eligible expenses can begin on or after the first day of your plan year January 1. You can only be reimbursed up to the dollar amount you have in your DCAP account at the time you request reimbursement. You may submit a claim form as frequently as you prefer, but you cannot submit claims for services until after they have been provided.

Under federal law, Flex-Plan Services must receive your claims no later than March 31. If you don't file claims by that date, your account will be closed and any balance remaining will be forfeited to the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). Once the money is forfeited, you will not be able to claim it.

Learn more

The PEBB Program's Dependent Care Assistance Program is administered by Flex-Plan Services.