Flexible spending accounts are supposed to be perks that make it easy for employees to set aside money, on a pre-tax basis, for healthcare, commuting or dependent care costs. But a personal experience in recent weeks demonstrates some of the perils of the process.
My situation seemed so simple. I put in receipts for dental care and was issued a $140 check in early October. It never arrived. So I called customer service and was told twice that the check would be reissued. It was not. Then I called again and was told that the check had been reissued and “cashed” on Nov. 12. I called again, and was told that it had been put in my bank account. My bank had no record of any such check in my account—and neither did I. WageWorks sent me a record of a different check (for a different amount and for a different purpose) that was deposited in the account.
After more calls and e-mails, the customer service folks confirmed that it had not in fact been cashed. A reissued check was allegedly on the way. I told the agent to hold off on issuing yet another check until we could discover what had happened to the second one.
A reissued check finally arrived and I immediately called to let them know. I deposited it in my bank account. About a week later, another $140 check arrived in my mailbox and I contacted them to say that it had been sent in error. All seemed well. Then WageWorks rejected the second check and I was charged a $25 bounced-check fee by my bank.
One frustrating aspect of this was the knowledge that I was trying to get access to my own money, set aside from my pay check. Such confusion can arise in any billing situation, of course, but it does make me more hesitant to use this “perk” again.
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