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Due to the impacts COVID-19 has had on working parents, including the closure of many in-person schools and day care providers, the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC) has established the COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program.

This temporary program provides employees in the Regular Employee benefits group with $500 to $5,000 tax-free, per child, to reimburse them for reasonable costs related to child care expenses. The goals of this program are:

  • Support working parents during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Distribute the funds in an equitable manner.

The COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program is funded with $9 million from the JLMIC’s Protected Fund Reserve. Under Section 139 of the IRS tax code, employers can  reimburse employees for reasonable and necessary expenses related to a federally-declared national disaster. On March 13, 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States was declared a national emergency.

For additional employee resources relating to COVID-19, please go to the Coronavirus page.

If you need help finding child care, the Making Life Easier program offers child care referral services.

Program details

  • You are eligible for the COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program if you are enrolled in the Regular Employees Benefits Plan. For details, see the List of Participating Groups.
  • This temporary program reimburses these employees for child care expenses provided for children who are age 12 or younger. This includes your children, stepchildren, foster children, or children for whom you are the legal guardian.
  • Children ages 13 or older with documented special needs, such as a diagnosed medical disability or an Individualized Education Program (IEP), are also eligible and can be added using the Add Child to COVID-19 Child Care Program Form.
  • If you are a member of the Regular Employees Benefits Plan, your child is not currently enrolled in a King County employee medical plan, and you believe the child is eligible for this program, use the Add Child to COVID-19 Child Care Program Form or contact the Benefits team at 206-684-1556 or KC.Benefits.

When benefits begin

  • You can request reimbursement only for months where you and your children are eligible.
  • New employees become eligible on the first day of the month after their hire date. If your hire date is on the first, you are eligible immediately.
  • A newly added child becomes eligible on the first day of the month after their birth, adoption, or the date legal guardianship becomes effective; if that day is the first of the month, they are eligible on the first of the month.

When benefits end

  • If you leave King County employment, you are eligible to be reimbursed for services received up to, and including, the last day of the month you were employed with King County. The deadline to request reimbursement is 30 days after the last day of the month you were employed with King County.
  • A child ages out of eligibility on the last day of the month in which they turn age 13. If their birthday occurs on the first of the month, eligibility ends on the last day of the prior month. A child with a documented special need will continue to be eligible after age 13.
  • The COVID-19 Child Care Reimbursement Program may end before June 30, 2021, if funds are exhausted or if the coronavirus emergency is declared over by the federal government.

When both parents are eligible

  • If a child’s parents are both participants of the Regular Employee Benefit Plan, the maximum allowed reimbursement amount will be based on one employee only and will be calculated using the higher-paid employee’s pay. This is consistent with the goal of equitable distribution of limited program funds.
  • To be eligible for reimbursement, services must be provided during the period of Sept. 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
  • You must provide receipts for expenses to the program administrator, Navia Benefit Solutions, when submitting a claim online at Navia Benefit Solutions or when using a paper claim form.
  • Receipts must identify the child care provider.
  • Covered expenses include payments to both licensed and unlicensed child care providers, including preschools, school-age programs, nannies, au pairs, tutors, extended family members (such as, an aunt, uncle, or grandparent), friends, and neighbors.

What's not covered:

  • Child care services provided by the child’s parent, stepparent, foster parent, legal guardian, or siblings under the age of 18
  • Private K-12 school
  • Curriculum, educational materials, and equipment (e.g., books, computers, internet, etc.)
  • Food and other materials, such as sanitary items, cleaning supplies, and diapers, unless these expenses are included in the provider’s rates
  • Travel expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Monthly reimbursement amounts are based on your King County base annual pay and the number of children you have.
  • Employees who earn lower salaries or wages are eligible to receive higher monthly payments. The total program maximum is $5,000 per child.
  • Program reimbursement maximums are divided by the number of months you and your children are eligible.
  • Program maximum examples follow:
    • If you earn less than $80,000 per year, your program maximum is $5,000 per child.
    • If you earn more than $116,000 per year, your program maximum is $500 per child.
    • If you earn between $80,000 and $116,000 per year, your program maximum is between $500 and $5,000 per child, on a sliding scale based on income.
  • Reimbursement payments are not considered taxable under IRS Section 139.

Find out your reimbursement limit

  • If you don’t already have a Navia account, create one at Navia Benefit Solutions using code KIG, then log in to see your total available amount. 
  • For a quick monthly benefit estimate, use the Child Care Benefit Calculator. Keep in mind there is a monthly minimum of $50 and a program limit of $5,000 per child
  • Contact the program administrator at Navia Benefit Solutions or 425-452-3500

How the maximum reimbursement is calculated

Eligible employees can receive reimbursement for the portion of their eligible child care expenses that exceed 15% of their King County monthly wages (base annual pay divided by 12) subtracted from the monthly limit of $1,500, for up to 10 months of the reimbursement period (September 2020 – June 2021). The total reimbursement limit is multiplied by the number of your eligible children to get your maximum allowed program reimbursement amount. 

The formula for calculating your program maximum is as follows:

$1,500 Monthly Limit  (your monthly pay x 15%) x (number of months your child is eligible for the program, up to 10 months) = Total reimbursement amount per child

Multiply your total reimbursement per child amount by the number of eligible children you have.

Total reimbursement calculation examples 

Below are examples of how an employee’s total reimbursement limit is calculated under the program. These examples assume children are eligible for the entire 10 months of the program. For eligibility details, see Eligible employees and children. In addition, the following examples show up to two children, for simplicity. If you have more than two children, multiply the reimbursement limit by the number of your eligible children.

Example 1: Employee’s pay is $4,000 per month ($48,000 per year)

 

One child

Two children

Employee’s monthly pay

$4,000

$4,000

Monthly child care expense limit

$1,500

$3,000

Subtract 15% of monthly pay per child

$600

$1,200

Monthly max reimbursement amount

$900

$1,800

Multiplied by maximum months of program (10)

$9,000

$18,000

Total allowed reimbursement after minimum/maximum is applied

$5,000

$10,000


Example 2:
Employee’s pay is $8,000 per month ($96,000 per year)

 

One child

Two children

Employee’s monthly pay

$8,000

$8,000

Monthly child care expense limit

$1,500

$3,000

Subtract 15% of monthly pay per child

$1,200

$2,400

Monthly max reimbursement amount

$300

$600

Multiplied by maximum months of program (10)

$3,000

$6,000

Total allowed reimbursement after minimum/maximum is applied

$3,000

$6,000

Requesting reimbursement
  • Look for a welcome email sent by Navia Benefit Solutions on Jan. 11, 2021, with information on submitting claims and managing your account. If you don’t have a King County email address, you will receive a welcome letter in the mail.
  • If you don’t receive your welcome email or letter by January 14, and believe you are eligible for the program, contact the King County Benefits Team at KC Benefits or 206-684-1556.
  • Create an account at Navia Benefit Solutions using code KIG
  • Pay for eligible expenses, then submit a claim and receipts online at Navia Benefit Solutions
  • You can also use a Paper Claim Form. Email claim forms and documentation to claims@naviabenefits.com or mail them to Navia Claims, PO Box 53250, Bellevue, WA 98015.
  • You can be reimbursed by check or direct deposit. To set up automatic deposits, go to your Navia account profile and select your reimbursement method.
  • Claims for expenses incurred during the program period must be submitted within 30 days of the program end date. If you leave King County employment, claims must be submitted within 30 days of your last day of employment.

When both parents are eligible

  • If a child’s parents are both participants of the Regular Employee Benefit Plan, the maximum allowed reimbursement amount will be based on one employee only and will be calculated using the higher-paid employee’s pay. This is consistent with the goal of equitable distribution of limited program funds.

Can you get the entire program reimbursement amount now?

Reimbursements are calculated on a monthly basis. Since the eligible reimbursement period began in September 2020, you will be eligible to receive reimbursement for the first five months of the program (September – January) in January. Starting in February, and each month thereafter until the end of the program, you will receive the next allotment of the monthly allowance.

  • You may request reimbursement for eligible expenses incurred during the reimbursement period, which begins Sept. 1, 2020, and ends on the earlier of the following dates: June 30, 2021; the date that program funding is exhausted; or the date that the federally-declared national disaster for COVID-19 ends.
  • You may request reimbursement only for those months you and your children are eligible. See details in the Eligible employees and children section.
  • Employees who are eligible to request reimbursement are encouraged to submit receipts as soon as possible.
  • Employees may submit claims with receipts going back to Sept. 1, 2020.
  • The last day to submit receipts for the reimbursement period is Aug. 31, 2021.
Benefits and retirement

Phone 206-684-1556
Fax: 206-296-7700

Phone hours:
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays
Payroll

Fax: 206-296-7678