Q. When my wife left her job in September 2011, she spent more than she had in her health care FSA. Can the employer still recover the difference? L.R., Williston, N.D.
A. No. This is the reciprocal agreement between an employee and employer. Essentially, the employer allows you to start drawing on the full amount of the annual contribution, even though the contributions are actually made over the course of the year (usually through regular payroll deductions). So your spouse comes out ahead on the deal because she spent more on qualified expenses than she contributed before she quit.
Tip: On the flip side, if an employee quits before he or she has emptied out the account, the employer can keep the balance.