What happens to your fsa if you are laid off?

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My LinkedIn feed is completely filled with news of lay-offs due to COVID-19 and my heart goes out to all those affected. I was also part of one of these lay-offs a mere two weeks ago, and I’m writing to highlight what happens to your FSA (flexible savings account) if you are laid off and the steps you can take to ensure you don’t lose the money you contributed.

Fortunately, I’m still on my parents insurance so that is one step off my plate. However, since my insurance wasn’t through my employer, I enrolled in an FSA vs. HSA. 

if you don’t enroll in cobra you lose access to your fsa balance

The key difference between an FSA and an HSA is that FSAs don’t rollover; if you don’t spend the money you contribute during the calendar year, the money is gone. 

The caveat, if your employment ends, you lose access to FSA balance. If you are laid-off, you no longer will have access to your FSA. In my case, I confirmed through the third-party service provider the morning I got laid-off and they informed me that my FSA would expire at 11:59pm that day. If you enroll in COBRA, then you should be able to reclaim access to your FSA.

Startled, I checked my FSA and my balance was $811.00. The good news, that money doesn’t have to go to waste. 

we’re going to spend all of it

I called my doctor’s office and I requested they re-write my prescriptions so that I was able to get the prescriptions filled and pay for them with the FSA as I normally would. 

Since there was a larger balance, I still had over $600 to spend and this is where the fsastore.com comes in handy. Think of it as the target of your fsa dreams. There are thousands of fsa eligible items so take this time to stock up on sunscreen, first aid items, and other household healthcare essentials. The beauty of it, there is no guessing game about what is eligible.

After this shopping trip, everyone will get sunscreen in their easter basket from me. 

While I have a bit of a stockpile of certain items, spending the money in your FSA is an important action to take to ensure your money doesn’t go to waste. 

My Roundup of fsa finds

Below is a round-up of my favorite FSA finds:

  1. Babo Botanicals: Yes, for all my clean beauty nerds, Babo Botanicals is FSA approved.
  2. Blood Pressure Cuff: Families who check their blood pressure together stay healthy together.
  3. First Aid Kit: I needed to buy a first aid kit for our house anyways so a great find.
  4. Coola SPF Chapstick: This was more of a fun find. If you have to spend money via the FSA site, you mind as well try to make it fun.

No matter how you spend it, make sure to spend the balance if you are not planning in enrolling in COBRA, since you will lose access to your FSA account.


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