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Use it or lose it: If your employer gave you more time to spend your FSA money, the time is now.



It’s time to use it or lose it. The money in your flexible spending account, that is.

If you haven’t depleted your flexible spending account, or FSA, or filed claims for health-related expenses from 2022, you should get on it.

Normally, these need to be done by Dec 31, but if your company has a grace period, you have until March 15. In some instances, you may have some extra time but that would be entirely up to your employer.

“The one main piece of advice is really check on your employers’ plans because they can vary,” said Steve Durso, associate director of benefit accounts client services at advisory firm WTW.

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What is a flexible spending account, or FSA?

An FSA is a special account your employer may offer to allow you to set aside moneyyou can use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs. You don’t pay taxes on contributions up to $2,850 for 2022 and any distributions for qualified expenses are untaxed. Employers may make contributions to your FSA, too, but aren’t required to.

FSAs aren’t available to you if you have a marketplace heath care plan, also known as Obamacare.

What’s the flexible spending account limit in 2022 and 2023?

The non-taxed contribution cap is $2,850 in 2022, and rises to $3,050 for 2023.

How does an FSA work?

Typically, you must set your contributions during the open enrollment period around November or December unless you have a qualifying event, such as a change in marital status, employment or residency.

FSAs are tax-free because neither your contribution nor withdrawals to pay for a qualified expense are taxed.

You submit a claim to the FSA through your employer with proof of the medical expense and a statement that it hasn’t been covered by your plan. Then, you’ll get reimbursed for your costs.

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Generally, you must deplete your account by Dec 31 of the plan’s calendar year or forfeit any leftover money, but employers can choose to extend these (see below).

Any unused money goes to your employer, so it’s important to carefully estimate expenses you’ll have during the year.

What are FSA-eligible expenses?

The money can go towards certain medical and dental expenses, including:

  • Deductibles and copayments.

  • Prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter medicines.

  • Medical equipment like crutches, supplies like bandages, and diagnostic devices like blood sugar test kits.

  • Everyday medicine cabinet items like sunscreen, pain relievers, flu and cough medicine, skincare and women’s menstrual products.

You can find a complete list of FSA-eligible items at the IRS website or check, which sells only FSA-eligible items.

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What is the FSA spending deadline?

You generally must spend the money in an FSA within the plan year by Dec 31, but your employer may offer one of 2 options:

  1. A “grace period” of up to 2 ½ extra months, or March 15, to use the FSA money.

  2. A carryover, or rollover, of up to $570 from 2022 to use in 2023. That amount increases to $610 in 2023.

Your employer doesn’t have to offer these options. If it does, it can be either one of these options, but not both. You need to check with your employer.

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What is the FSA deadline to submit claims?

The deadline to submit claims is usually Dec 31 of the plan year, but your employer can extend it. This so-called “run-out” period is the time in the new plan year that you have to submit expenses you incurred in the last plan year. This timeframe is chosen by the employer, not the IRS, and can last for any period of time, but the most common FSA run-out period is 90 days or March 31. You should check with your employer for the deadline.

Medora Lee is a money, markets, and personal finance reporter at USA TODAY. You can reach her at and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FSA deadlines are quickly approaching. Here’s what you need to know.

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