Summer Camp and Your Dependent Care FSA

Summer Camp and Your Dependent Care FSA 

(Group of children ages 3-10 years old running in a green field)

School is out for summer! To combat boredom and keep their kids engaged, a lot of parents turn to summer camps. With options that include fishing, hiking, playing outside, and more, summer camps are a great way to keep your child from the doldrums.

Parents and guardians who signed up for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) through their employer can use their benefits to cover a lot of those summer camp expenses.

Using Your DCAP Account

Child care can be a significant out-of-pocket expense. Depending on age, type of care, and location, it can cost from a few thousand to $20,000 to keep just one child safe and in the care of responsible adults while you’re at work or taking classes full time. According to a recent survey, nearly three quarters (72 percent) of families spend 10 percent or more of their household income on child care.  

This is the purpose of the Dependent Care FSA (also called a Dependent Care Assistance Plan or DCAP). Sponsored through your employer, you can set aside up to $5,000 annually* to cover the cost of dependent care while you work or attend school. 

*NOTE: In 2021, you may be able to set aside up to $10,500, depending on your employer’s plan. Plus, if you had any unspent DCAP money from 2020, you may be able to use those funds this year. Talk with your HR department or contact your benefits administrator.

Dependent Rules

Your Dependent Care FSA can be used to cover care costs for children between the ages 0-12. You can also use the account for dependents age 13 and over who cannot care for themselves while you’re at work.

Dependent Care FSA and Summer Camp

This summer, use your DCFSA to pay for day camps that your child attends.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the camp must be in-person; virtual (online) day camps are generally not eligible. Second, the camp has to be a day camp; your camper is not allowed to stay overnight.

Summer camps can be run by your child care center, school, church, or other entity. Types of camps can include:

  • 4H camps
  • Fishing camps
  • Fitness and sports camps
  • Robotics camp
  • Scout camp
  • Special needs camps

In addition to camp tuition, enrollment fees can also be included in your reimbursement claim.

If your little one is too young to attend day camp, you can always pay for daycare/nursery care as you would during the school year.

Getting Reimbursed for Summer Camp

Getting reimbursed for the cost of summer camp is easy. First and foremost, keep all of your receipts. You should also provide the following information:

  • Who was the camp for?
  • What is the age of the attendee?
  • When was the camp attended?
  • Where is the camp located (or what organization is the camp with)?
  • How much did the camp cost?

You can file a paper claim, file online, or submit a claim through your mobile app.

Updating your Dependent Care FSA Election

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to update your annual DCFSA election. If the cost of care changed, the care center closed, you have another dependent or change in family status, you may be able to update your election to meet your needs (up to the annual limit). It is important to note that you cannot get a refund for money that you have already contributed.


Using your Dependent Care FSA can make summer fun and memories more affordable and stress-free.

DataPath Administrative Services is a full-service third party administrator. Contact us today for more information.

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