For employees with child care expenses, the Child Care Voucher Program provides cash grants once a year for work-related child care expenses.
The amount you receive depends on:
- Your family adjusted gross income.
- Your hours and pay periods worked.
- Your number of dependents.
- The grant amount allowed in your collective bargaining agreement.
This program applies to those employees with a federal adjusted gross income less than $35,000 ($40,000 for employees of the Attorney General's Office) with dependents under the age of 13 for which work-related child care expenses are incurred. The amount of the reimbursement will also be prorated against the employee’s hours.
Not all your dependents qualify for the program. To be a qualifying dependent, your child must have lived with you and must have been under 13 years of age.
All expenses after a child turns 13 are ineligible. Likewise, any expenses or child support you paid for a child who does not live with you are not eligible expenses.
Under the Child Care Voucher Program, most money you paid for the cost of child care so that you could work is considered a qualified expense. Refer to the guidelines for determining eligible expenses in the IRS Publication 503 (PDF file). These expenses include those paid to:
- Child care centers.
- Latch-key programs.
- Summer camp (but not overnight camp).
The amount you receive as a voucher will be reported to the IRS. Therefore, you will be required to file a dependent care expenses report form (IRS form 2441 with your 1040, or Schedule 2 with your 1040A).
To be considered for the program, you must have worked for the state in the current year and in the previous year and you must have met all of the following eligibility requirements for the previous year.
- Your family’s adjusted gross income did not exceed the income ceiling set by your collective bargaining unit. To determine your adjusted gross income you must complete your federal IRS income tax form 1040. The last line on the front of the form 1040 states, "This is your adjusted gross income." You must provide a copy of your form 1040 with your application to show your adjusted gross income.
- If you were married as of December 31 of the previous year, you must include your spouse’s income tax form 1040. If you are separated you may file taxes independently for the IRS, but for the purposes of this program, you and your spouse’s income are combined to determine your family adjusted gross income. The IRS 1040 is not to determine marital status, but rather to verify income.
- You were an exempt employee or represented by either OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 or District 1199.
- You were a full-time permanent or part-time permanent employee.
- Your qualifying child care expenses were greater than or equal to the amount set by your collective bargaining agreement. If you worked less than 2,080 hours the previous year, your expenses must be greater than or equal to the prorated amount based on the number of hours and pay periods actually worked.
In February, Child Care Voucher applications and instructions become available when W-2 forms are ready.
Completing Your Application
To prove your dependent care expenses, your child care provider(s) for the previous calendar year must sign your application form to verify that you paid them for child care. The completed application also must be signed by you and your agency payroll officer. Please follow the steps below:
- Download the Child Care Voucher Application Form (Form ADM 4306) to your desktop or a file folder. This document requires an electronic signature for submission. Once the document is saved to your computer, complete the employee portion and save the document.
- Give the form to your child care provider(s) so they can complete their portion, or attach a receipt which includes the following information:
- Provider name
- Provider address
- Provider phone number
- Dates care was provided
- Tax ID number (if available) or Social Security number
- Provider signature.
- Attach a copy of your federal IRS income tax form IRS 1040, which shows your family adjusted gross income.
- If you were married as of Dec. 31, your spouse's adjusted gross income must be included, even if you did not marry until the end of the year, or you were separated for part of the year.
- If you and your spouse file jointly, you must include the IRS 1040 page with the signature and occupation of your spouse.
- If you and your spouse file separately, a copy of the spouse's IRS 1040 must be included.
- If you file electronically you must include a copy of the page showing the detailed information. This is often stamped "file copy" by the preparer.
- You must include your spouse's income unless you were divorced or filed a legal separation agreement, even though you may file as "single, head of household" on your income tax return.
- If your spouse was in prison during the year and had no income, please provide proof of your spouse's incarceration or a notarized statement indicating the location of the incarceration. Please include the prison phone number and your spouse's inmate number so the prison may be called to verify the information.
- If your spouse did not have enough income to have to file a tax return, submit a copy of his or her W-2 form(s).
- Give your application to your payroll officer to be completed. You must attach a copy of your federal income tax return. Be sure to allow enough time for your payroll officer to complete the form so that you can send it to DAS Benefits Administration Services no later than April 15.
Note: faxed forms will not be accepted -- original signatures of all parties are required.
In order to be accepted, your application and completed tax form must be date-stamped in Benefits Administration Services by April 15, or postmarked by April 15. No extensions will be given unless your application is under appeal on April 9. Applications submitted without the IRS income tax form, or without the necessary information concerning expenses and your provider, cannot be processed.
DAS Benefits Administration Services will return your application to you if it is incomplete. It is your responsibility to submit all required documentation by April 15 to qualify for the benefit payment.
If you meet each of the eligibility requirements and have submitted an accurately completed application, you will receive payment from the Child Care Voucher Program on the first or second paycheck in May. If your application is incomplete or contains errors it will be returned to you for corrections. Applications received after the April 15 deadline will not be processed.
Your reimbursement is calculated in the following manner:
- The maximum amount per family is determined by the number of qualifying dependents for whom you have paid child care in the previous calendar year, and by your collective bargaining agreement.
- Payment is prorated (reduced) using your family's adjusted gross income. You will receive a percentage of the maximum benefit based on your adjusted gross income. You must provide a copy of your federal IRS income tax form (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) to verify your adjusted gross income.
- The payment will be prorated (reduced) based on the number of hours worked in the previous calendar year. A partial payment is paid to employees who worked fewer than 2,080 hours in the previous year.
If your child care expenses were work-related, you will not have to pay taxes on the voucher payment amount. If your spouse was unemployed and was neither disabled nor a full-time student, the benefits will be taxable.
If your application is approved, you will be notified by mail no later than April 30. The approved disbursement will be included on the check you receive for the first pay period in May.