MSU Human Resources >> Benefits >> Flexible-spending-accounts >> General Flexible Spending Accounts FAQs

General Flexible Spending Accounts FAQs

You determine the amount you want to contribute for the plan year (January 1 - December 31). This amount is divided over each pay period and is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are calculated. When you incur an expense, use your Health FSA Debit Card or submit a request for reimbursement form and a receipt of services to MSU's FSA Plan Administrator. Only Health Care Spending Account enrollees have the option of using the Health FSA Debit Card reimbursement system.

The Flexible Spending Accounts (Dependent Care and Health) are provided as options for all eligible full-time (90%-100%) and part-time (50%-89.9%) executive management, faculty, academic and support staff. For more information about enrollment, please click Enrollment . 

The program is effective the first day of the month following enrollment or changes. For example, an employee is hired 7/15 and enrolls in the Dependent Care FSA the same day. The program goes into effect 8/1. Only eligible expenses occurring 8/1 or after may be submitted for reimbursement.

These two accounts are separate plans with unique eligibility requirements. The Health FSA and Dependent Care FSA plans are available to all benefit eligible employees. If eligible, you may choose to enroll in both plans or just one.

To help you decide if a FSA will work for you complete the following worksheets:
Dependent Care Spending Account Worksheet  
Health Flexible Spending Account Worksheet

For account information, you may call MSU's FSA Plan Administrator, WageWorks at 877-924-3967 or visit the WageWorks website .

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that these unused dollars be forfeited as a condition of offering spending accounts. Since the money is tax-free, the IRS views your election commitment as just that: a commitment to fully fund your account for your entire plan (calendar Jan-Dec) year election. This is true whether or not you actually use the money. Keep in mind that it is not MSU's or the IRS's intention or wish that you forfeit money. We want all employees to fully take advantage of this valuable benefit and to use all the money that's deposited to your account(s). So plan conservatively.
Participation in a FSA program may affect your future Social Security benefits because contributions to a FSA reduce your taxable income, which reduces your Social Security taxes. If your taxable income is below the maximum wage taxed by Social Security, you could reduce your future Social Security benefits. For most people this reduction would be minimal - only a few dollars per month. If you invest your tax savings as a result of the FSA, it is projected that your tax savings could make up for any reductions in Social Security benefits.
The benefit derived from participation in the Health or Dependent Care FSA is tax savings. With regard to your taxes, they are your responsibility, and involve much more than simply multiplying a tax rate times your wages. MSU Human Resources and MSU's FSA Plan Administrator are not staffed to properly handle personal tax questions. In order to maximize your tax savings from these accounts, and to ensure that they fit with your personal income tax situation, you are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor if you have specific questions or concerns prior to enrollment.
Yes. The maximum benefit for Health FSA is $2,650 per eligible employee. The maximum household benefit for Dependent Care FSA is $5,000 or $2,500 each. You are encouraged to speak to a tax advisor to determine the best situation for you prior to enrolling in the program.

Participation in FSA is completely voluntary. Annual open enrollment occurs in the fall. Once you have determined your election needs, you may enroll by accessing the  EBS Portal . Enter your MSU NetID and password. Click on the "My Benefits" tab and then either the "Open Enrollment" or "New Hire" tile, depending on your status. Once you reach the enrollment screen, you can navigate to the FSA section of the enrollment process. 

For enrollment assistance, you may contact MSU Human Resources at 517-353-4434 or toll-free at 800-353-4434. Employees that do not enroll by the enrollment deadline will not be eligible for the plans until the next calendar year unless they have a qualifying life event. You may begin, stop or change the amount of your spending account contribution if you have a qualifying life change event such as:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Birth, adoption or legal guardianship of your child
  • Death of a spouse or a dependent
  • Change in your or your dependent's employment status
  • Unpaid leave of absence

If you are on a leave of absence during the annual open enrollment period, you are eligible to enroll in a FSA program within 30 days of your return from leave. New employees must enroll within 30 days of their employment date. Flexible Spending Accounts become effective January 1 each year for those who enroll during Open Enrollment, and the first day of the month following sign-up as a new employee or as a result of a qualifying event.

For more information about enrollment click  Enrollment .

The IRS requires that employees make new elections for each and every plan year. It is important to review your expenses each year to make sure that your election is appropriate, based on the actual expenses you expect to have.

If you terminate employment with MSU, your participation in this Plan will terminate on the last day you are actively at work unless you elect to continue your participation in accordance with the guidelines provided in the "COBRA continuation coverage" section. If you do not make payments as required under COBRA, it will be assumed that you elected to revoke your participation in this Plan.

Your participation in this Plan will also terminate if MSU decides to terminate this Plan, or if you voluntarily decide not to participate under the terms of this Plan, except as part of the annual Open Enrollment process.

For qualifying events such as death of a dependent, divorce, legal separation or change in dependent status, child's birth, adoption, or placement for adoption, or entitlement to Medicare, you must inform MSU within 30 days of the event.
For qualifying events such as death of an employee, termination or reduction in hours, bankruptcy or failure to return from leave under the FMLA, MSU has 30 days from the date of the qualifying event, or the date that you will lose coverage due to the qualifying event, in which to notify you, your spouse and your dependents, if they are eligible to receive benefits under this Plan, with separate, written options to continue coverage within 14 days of receiving notice of the qualifying event.
The IRS requires that any unused monies left in your account must be forfeited, so plan conservatively. Certainly, if you plan on leaving MSU for any reason, you may wish to reconsider your choice to participate. If, however, you choose to participate and leave prior to year-end, then you can continue to have access to your account deposits, by continuing to submit claims incurred (with a date of service) prior to your employment termination date. You have 90 days to submit claims for reimbursement from when you cease to participate in the plan, or by April 30, whichever comes first. Additionally, if you participate in the Health FSA and you terminate employment, you may be eligible to continue your participation under COBRA . COBRA allows you to continue to make after-tax contributions to your account, and also to submit reimbursement requests for claims incurred after your employment has ended (during your COBRA period of coverage).

If you are on a PAID leave, your payments will continue to be withdrawn from your paycheck.

An UNPAID leave of absence is treated as an employment change in status. 

Upon return from an UNPAID leave, you will automatically be re-enrolled into your Health FSA if you return within the same calendar year. The remainder of your election will be divided equally over the remaining calendar year pay periods. As a result of the re-enrollment you may submit eligible claims that you incurred during your absence.

Re-enrollment is not automatic if your return from an UNPAID leave is after 12/31. Any remaining balance will be forfeited. You may re-enroll in the Health FSA for the new year within 30 days of your return.

 You are not eligible to participate in the dependent care FSA during a leave of absence or submit dependent care FSA claims incurred during your leave of absence.

If you are absent from employment because you are in the uniformed service, you may elect to continue your coverage under the FSA Plan for up to 24 months. To continue your coverage, you must comply with the terms of the Plan, including election during the Plan's annual enrollment period, and pay your contributions in accordance with the options outlined above for a participant who goes on a leave of absence.
All claims for reimbursement must be submitted by April 30. If you cease employment, (e.g., termination of employment or retirement), all claims for reimbursement must be submitted within 90 days from when you cease to participate in the plan, or by April 30, whichever comes first. 

To receive reimbursement from your WageWorks account, you can submit your claims in either of the following ways:

Online. Log in to your account at to file your claim electronically and upload your documentation.

Fax or mail. You can submit either a Healthcare Account Claim   form or  Dependent Care Claim   form. Either mail or fax to the location and number located on the form.

EZ Receipts smartphone app. Use the app to take photos of receipts and upload.

For additional information visit

Please note: For Dependent Care FSA, if your reimbursement request exceeds your account balance, you will be reimbursed up to the amount in your account. The remainder will be reimbursed to you when more funds are available in your account.

In addition to your reimbursement statements from MSU's FSA Plan Administrator, which reflect all account activity and balances, you will receive quarterly statements during the course of the plan year.
Expenses must be incurred by dependents as specified by the IRS regulations to be eligible for reimbursement. If your OEI meets the definition of an IRS dependent for tax purposes, you may submit expenses for that person.

Once you enroll in a FSA, your participation must continue unchanged until the end of the plan (calendar) year unless you have a qualifying life event. Qualifying life events include marriage, divorce, death, birth/adoption, or a change in employment. However, the adjustment in your election must be consistent with the change in status (e.g., if your employment status is reduced then so would the amount of money you put into your account.) If you have a qualifying life event during the plan (calendar Jan-Dec) year, you may make changes to this benefit through the EBS Portal within 30 days of the life event.

Any changes to the FSA become effective the first day of the month following the change(s). Should you have questions on your status change, you may contact WageWorks at 877-924-3967 or MSU Human Resources at 517-353-4434 (toll-free 800-353-4434).

Please direct questions about your MSU Flexible Spending Account to:

Ph: 877-924-3967


MSU Human Resources  
1407 S. Harrison Rd
Nisbet Building, Suite 110
East Lansing, MI 48823
Ph: 517-353-4434 or 800-353-4434

Revision History
1/9/2019 - Updated new maximum reimbursement rate
3/06/2018 - Updated new provider info and links
1/18/2016 - Enrollment for new employees changed from 60 to 30 days