WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), along with Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who combined represent 13.7 percent of the nation’s federal workforce, applauded the recent U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM) decision to allow federal employees to carryover up to $500 in unspent Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds from one year to the next. Federal FSA (FSAFED) participants will now be allowed to use unspent funds from the previous year to pay for eligible expenses in the upcoming year. This FSAFED announcement means that federal FSA participants will have the same flexibility recently granted to many private sector employees.
“Allowing Federal workers to roll over some FSA funds into the next year just makes sense. ‘Use-it-or-lose-it was a wasteful practice that I have fought to end,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It was a major step forward when the Treasury Department allowed employers to adopt the carryover option for FSA accounts, based on the Cardin-Enzi bill. The entire Democratic Caucus then urged OPM to extend the carryover option to Federal workers. Now, starting in 2015, federal workers can contribute to FSA without fear of losing all their FSA funds at the end of the plan year or being forced to purchase unnecessary items meet an artificial deadline.”
“I’m on the side of Federal employees. That’s why I’m so pleased that OPM will allow federal employees to carryover their FSA savings into the next year,” Senator Mikulski said. “This is a common-sense step for federal employees working on the frontlines serving America every day, whether it’s protecting our borders, finding new cures for diseases or making sure seniors get their checks. Federal employees deserve the same FSA flexibility recently granted to private sector employees. I will continue to fight to make sure federal employees aren’t sidelined when it comes to benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”
“I’m very pleased that OPM has agreed with us that federal employees should be able rollover up to $500 of unused FSA funds,” Senator Warner said. “It was completely unfair to expect individuals to accurately predict their medical expenses a year in advance. This is great news for federal employees and their families.”
“I’m pleased that OPM has answered our call to give federal workers in Virginia and across the country peace of mind that they can roll over their unspent FSA savings from year to year,” said Senator Kaine, a member of the Budget Committee. “Our nation’s hard-working public servants should not have to fear losing the unspent funds they have worked so hard to earn.”
In May of 2013, Senator Cardin and Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced the Medical FSA Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 966) to reform FSA laws. In November 2013, the Treasury Department issued a rule, based largely on S.966, giving private sector employers the option to allow their employees to roll over up to $500 of their FSA funds to the following year, or provide a grace period to use available funds in the following year. Senator Cardin then led the entire Democratic Caucus in December of 2013 on a letter to OPM Director Kathleen Archuleta in calling for the rules change that OPM has just announced.