Employees participating in a flexible spending account (FSA) for 2008 have until March 15 to use any unspent funds.
This grace period is different from the FSA run-out period, which is the time allowed to submit reimbursement claims after the end of the plan year. Participants may submit receipts for reimbursement from the 2008 account until March 31. Claims must be postmarked or faxed by that date, and any funds remaining after that date will be forfeited.
Washington state adopted the grace period for spending to reduce the chance that a participant in the FSA program would forfeit funds. So an employee who has funds remaining in a 2008 FSA has until March 15 to incur costs that could be reimbursed.
All FSA claims for services provided Jan. 1-March 15, 2009 automatically will be processed against the 2008 plan year first if filed by the claims filing deadline for that plan year (March 31). If a claim exceeds the available funds from the 2008 plan year, any excess will be applied to the 2009 plan year.
However, FSA debit card purchases during the grace period cannot be used to access funds from the 2008 plan year. If an FSA debit card is used to pay for expenses during the FSA grace period (Jan. 1-March 15), the purchase will be applied towards the 2009 plan year balance. For those who did not re-enroll for the 2009 plan year, the FSA debit card was shut off on Dec. 31, 2008.
To access funds, a reimbursement request form must be completed along with a billing statement or receipt showing the type of service/product, the date of service and the amount of service provided. The form is available on the Human Resource Services website ONLINE @ www.hrs.wsu.edu/utils/File.aspx?fileid=4455 or at the HRS office in French Ad 139.