Up & Coming Weekly

August 15, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1505659

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM AUGUST 16 - 22, 2023 UCW 11 DOD makes tax-free dependent care spending accounts available to service members by C. TODD LOPEZ, DOD News Childcare is just one of the costly realities of raising a family. But the Defense Department has made a new tool available to help eligible military families meet that challenge. e Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, or DCFSA, is a financial benefit that will be made available to eligible service mem- bers beginning in 2024. It will enable them to have money from their paychecks diverted to an account that can be used to pay for dependent care services such as preschool, sum- mer day camp, before- or after- school programs, and child or adult daycare. Active-component service members along with Active Guard Reserve members on Title 10 or- ders are eligible to participate. Eligible service members can contribute as much as $5,000 a year from their paychecks, via al- lotment, to the account. at money comes out pretax, which means that a military fam- ily that typically reports $30,000 a year in taxable income, for instance, would instead be able to report $25,000 in taxable income if they took full advantage of the benefit. at means they will pay less in taxes each year, yielding greater take-home pay. e DOD is on track to imple- ment DCFSA for eligible service members beginning Jan. 1, 2024. ose who would like to partici- pate can sign up during the annu- al Federal Benefits Open Season, which runs from mid-November to mid-December. Jennifer Walker, the execu- tive director for the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account initiative, said as many as 400,000 service members have eligible dependents and will be eligible to take advantage of the benefits provided by the DCFSA program. "at includes families who have children who are under the age of 13 or who have a spouse or other tax dependent, regardless of age, who is mentally or physically incapable of self-care," she said. e program is part of a larger DOD effort to take better care of military service members and their families. In March, the de- partment released the "Strength- ening Our Support to Service Members and eir Families" memorandum, which, among other important initiatives, dis- cussed making DCFSAs available to service members. at memorandum was signed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, who said taking care of service members and their families through ef- forts such as DCFSA is a top priority for the department. "In recent years, our military commu- nity has weathered a number of challenges, but our people have risen to every mission and done it all with extraordinary resilience," Austin wrote in the March 2023 memorandum. "But it is the department's ongoing moral duty to spare our outstanding people stress and struggle on the home front where we can and to show our service members and civilian employees how much they mean to us with tangible support that makes a genuine difference in their lives," he wrote "e department has, therefore, relentlessly focused on improving quality of life, and I am very proud of what we've achieved so far." e DCFSA, like other pretax flexible savings accounts, is a "use or lose" benefit. According to the DOD's Of- fice of Financial Readiness, the DCFSA plan year mirrors the tax year, Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. After the plan year ends on Dec. 31, enrollees in a DCFSA have until March 15 of the following year to incur eligible expenses. Claims for expenses incurred must be submitted by April 30, the deadline for submitting claims from the previous plan year. Any funds remaining in the ac- count after April 30 of the follow- ing year are forfeited. Military personnel interested in taking advantage of the DCFSA are advised to first talk with a per- sonal financial counselor or tax professional before signing up to participate in the program. C. TODD LOPEZ, DOD News COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com 910-484-6200 NEWS More than 70 Cumberland County seniors graduate during summer commencement a STAFF REPORT Cumberland County Schools provides equitable access to engaging learning that prepares every student confident, competi- tive and ready for a career, college and life. On Aug. 10, the district cel- ebrated more than 70 successful students as they received their diplomas during CCS' 2023 Sum- mer Graduation Ceremony. Faculty, staff and students from 11 high schools across the dis- trict and their guests gathered in the auditorium at Jack Britt High School for the occasion. Together, they acknowledged the hard work and perseverance of this year's summer graduates. Students smiled as they lined up to receive their diplomas. Sergeant Major Chris Miller delivered the commencement address. He posed the question to students, "Who do you want to become?" and encouraged them to surround themselves with people to help them get there. "Circumstances don't define you, they shape you," Miller said. Other special moments during the ceremony included the pre- sentation of the colors by the Jack Britt High School Army JROTC Color Guard and a solo perfor- mance by Javaria Cox. More than 70 seniors from 11 area high schools graduated during Cumberland County Schools' summer commencement ceremony Aug. 10. (Photo courtesy Cumberland County Schools)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - August 15, 2023