Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)

Child and elder care can be one of the largest expenses for a family. The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to set aside money from your paycheck on a pretax basis to help pay for qualifying child care or elder care expenses while you (and your spouse or state-registered domestic partner) attend school full-time, work, or look for work.

The State of Washington has contracted with Navia Benefit Solutions to manage the DCAP plan, process claims, and provide customer service for employees.

A qualifying dependent must be:

Enroll in the DCAP

DCAP participation is only valid for the plan year in which you enroll and does not continue automatically. You must enroll or re-enroll each year before annual open enrollment period to participate in the DCAP.

You can enroll in a DCAP account:

  1. When you become eligible for benefits. You must enroll no later than 31 days after the date you become eligible.
  2. No later than the last day of annual open enrollment period (November 1–30).
  3. 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 qualifying event.

Decide how much to contribute

To determine how much you want to contribute per pay period, estimate your expenses for the plan year and enroll in the DCAP for that amount. The money deducted from your pay is divided by the number of paychecks you will receive in the plan year.

DCAP contributions are limited to:

The total amount of your contribution cannot be more than either your earned income or your spouse's earned income, whichever is less. Earned income means wages, salaries, tips, and other employee compensation plus net earnings from self-employment.

Deadline to spend your DCAP account

You must submit all claims for reimbursement to Navia Benefit Solutions no later than March 31 after the end of the plan year. After that date, your account will be closed and any balance remaining will be forfeited to the Health Care Authority. Once the money is forfeited, you will not be able to claim it. This is referred to as the "use-it or lose-it" rule.

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