Contributions to, or payments from, flexible spending arrangements (e.g. cafeteria plans) are not assessed in the FM formula. This includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs). The IM formula does assess contributions to these accounts.
The parents reduced their income $5,000 by contributing to cafeteria plans or Health Savings Accounts. Since the parents income was assessed at 47% the income reduction may increase the childs financial aid eligibility by $2,350 ($5,000 x 47%).
If you are in a financial aid income assessment rate of 47%, you could increase your financial aid eligibility up to $470 for every $1,000 of income reduction by contributing to cafeteria plans or Health Savings Accounts.