The Commuter Benefit Plan allows you to pay for eligible transit expenses through pre-tax payroll deductions. If you ride public transportation to work, this plan can save you both money and time. Commuting to work by public transportation is also beneficial to the environment. We hope that this benefit plan will provide our employees with an additional incentive to consider using public transportation.
Below are highlights of the Commuter Benefit Plan:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) establishes the maximum amount that may be contributed each calendar year. For 2016, the maximum monthly amount will be $255. There is no minimum monthly amount. The pre-tax feature of this plan allows your contribution for eligible transit expenses to be deducted before Federal income and Social Security taxes are applied.
Depending on your individual tax rate and monthly transit expenses, this can save you up to several hundred dollars each year. The University is paying the administrative fees for the program so there are no other additional costs to you.
The amount that you select for your monthly transit contribution will be deducted from your paycheck for the following month’s transportation expense. For example, the deduction taken in your November paycheck will be for your December transit purchase. Those on the bi-weekly payroll will have this contribution deducted from the 2nd paycheck of the month.
The Commuter Benefit Plan election may be changed on a monthly basis, unlike our group insurance plans, which require an annual election. You may enroll, change your election, or cancel participation in the plan each month providing you do so within the required timeframe.
WageWorks, our Flexible Spending Account Administrator, will also administer the Commuter Benefit Plan. You may enroll directly with WageWorks by calling 1-877-WageWorks (877-924-3967), Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visit their website anytime and enroll online at www.wageworks.com.
You may also email inquiries to WageWorks at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have logged into your FSA through WageWorks, you can log into the same account to order your commuter benefit. All other employees can register as New User.
If you use SEPTA to commute to work, there are several options available to you through the program. The Commuter Card (debit card) may be used to pay for your transportation expenses up to the $255 monthly maximum. The card is loaded each month with the amount of your election. If your expense exceeds the IRS limit, you may pay SEPTA the additional cost through other forms of payment, e.g. cash or credit card.
You may also purchase vouchers, ten trip tickets, or monthly passes through the program. However, please be aware that monthly passes are not refundable in most cases and it is the employee’s responsibility to change or cancel participation within the required timeframe each month. Also, the monthly pass would not be an option if your cost exceeded the $255 IRS limit since WageWorks directly provides the pass to you.
The other options, however, would be available such as the Commuter Card or vouchers. WageWorks can provide information on all options available for SEPTA as well as other transit systems you use to travel to work. You will need to verify with other transit systems whether they accept more than one form of payment prior to enrolling in the plan.
Between the 20th and 30th of each month, you will receive your order (pass, voucher, tickets, as applicable) from WageWorks, which will be mailed to your home address. The Commuter Card will be sent once and reloaded each month on the 20th of the month prior to the benefit month. Any unused amounts will roll over.
You may place an order from the 9th of the current month through the 8th day of the following month for the next month’s transportation. Remember it is important to change your election before the 8th of each month for the following month’s transit needs. If no action is taken, WageWorks will automatically issue the same order that was in place for the previous month unless you have chosen the 1 month only option for your previous order.
The University realizes that there may be a need for public transit commuters to drive to campus from time to time. In the event that there is a need for this to happen, please be advised that you can receive a free one day pass by visiting one of the public safety booths on campus.