Transit Benefit recipients have a responsibility to manage their transit benefit.
Under normal monthly commuting scenarios, participants adjust their transit benefit to best reflect their commuting situation. Sometimes it is most cost effective for employees to switch from a monthly to a weekly or daily pass. During this time when most employees are teleworking, transit benefit recipients should continue to take an active role in managing their transit benefit amount and purchase only what is needed.
We have created some Frequently Asked Questions to assist you in best using the transit benefit.
COVID-19 Transit Benefit Program Telework FAQs
Q1. Can I use the transit benefit subsidy while in a telework status?
A1. No. Employees may only use the transit benefit subsidy when commuting from home to work and work to home. For employees in a non-pay, leave, or telework status, use of transit benefit credit cards is prohibited and could result in disciplinary action. Employees using an agency-approved transit benefit credit card should attempt to halt automatic payments so that the transit benefit is used only for days on which the employee commuted to work.
Q2. I use the transit benefit subsidy and I normally buy a monthly pass to commute to work and I pay in advance. If I am in a telework status, what should I do?
A2. As you would do in instances where you are taking multiple days of leave, stop automatic payments and consider purchasing weekly and/or daily tickets if possible. If your transit provider only provides monthly passes, transit benefit participants should communicate with such transit provider to discuss options.
Q3. I use the transit benefit subsidy to commute via vanpool to work and I pay in advance. If I am in a telework status, what should I do?
A3. As you would do in instances where you are taking multiple days of leave, stop automatic payments. Participants should also reach out to their van pool operators and coordinators to see what options may be available to them.
Q4. What adjustments are required to a teleworking employee’s transit benefits?
A4. For SmartBenefit users, employees should have a separate SmartTrip card for other than commuting from home to work and work to home use to ensure that the Federal transit benefit is not used improperly during a telework day. For employees using an Agency-approved transit benefit credit card, employees should disable automatic payments and confirm purchasing deadlines and methods with transit providers.
Q5. What are some best practices for teleworking employees?
A5. Employees should safely store their transit benefit SmartTrip or Agency-approved transit benefit credit card because the transit benefit can only be used for commuting from home to work and work to home. Employees using an agency-approved transit benefit credit card should review their online payment options and should consider manual vs automatic payments and consider moving to daily and weekly passes instead of monthly.
Q6. Will my transit benefits continue to be made available to me even if my agency is in a full-time telework status?
A6. Yes, transit benefits will continue to be made available as long as your enrollment status in the transit benefit program is active. Transit benefits are made available for home-to-work and work-to-home commuting only. Employees in telework status must ensure their use of the transit benefit and payment for transit passes is in accordance with their agency’s policy for the transit benefit during this time.