CommuteEase Help


CommuteEase FAQs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Q

What is CommuteEase?

A

CommuteEase is a benefit plan that allows eligible employees to pay for transportation benefits with pre-tax dollars contributed through employee compensation reductions and, in some cases, employer contributions. These benefits come in the form of tax free reimbursements or payment of transportation expenses (e.g., parking and mass transit).

Q

Which transportation expenses qualify?

A

Qualified transportation expenses are specified on your My Company Plan and may include the following:

Transit Pass Expenses
Commuter Highway Vehicle (Vanpool) Expenses
Qualified Parking Expenses

Note: Transportation expenses do not include bridge or highway tolls.

Q

Who can participate in CommuteEase?

A

Only eligible employees may participant in CommuteEase. A company’s eligibility requirements are described in My Company Plan.

Q

How will participating in the Plan affect my Social Security and other benefits?

A

Participating in CommuteEase reduces the amount of your wages used by the Social Security Administration to calculate your Social Security benefit. Your Social Security retirement or disability income may be less than what it would have been had you not participated in the Plan. However, the tax savings that you realize will often more than offset other reductions.

Q

When can I enroll in CommuteEase?

A

Transportation benefits are monthly benefits, so as long as you are an eligible employee you may enroll in CommuteEase at any time during the year to elect transportation benefits for future months. Enrollment is accomplished by logging in to Wired Commute through your CommuteEase account no later than the 10th of the month prior to the month you want to elect CommuteEase (e.g., to elect for June, you must log in and make your election no later than May 10th).

You can make your election for any amount that does not exceed the amount allowed through Wired Commute. An order is irrevocable during the month in which you are receiving the transportation benefit. If you decide that you no longer wish to receive transportation benefits, simply do not place an order for the next benefit month.

Q

What are the maximum transportation benefits that I may receive?

A

Employee Benefits Corporation will communicate the maximum benefit amount for the current year as it becomes available, using the Plan Limits Flyer available in Quick Forms. The IRS may adjust for inflation on an annual basis. Keep in mind that for any given month, you may receive the maximum amount for both qualified parking expenses and transit expenses/vanpooling.

Q

How does the ordering process work?

A
        1. Determine eligibility (Check your My Company Plan)

        2. Choose and create accounts

        3. Place order

        4. Payroll deducted

        5. Receive pass, voucher or card

Q

How do employer contributions work?

A

If an Employer chooses to contribute to participants’ Parking or Transit Account, the Employer contribution amount will apply towards the pre-tax statutory limit. Consult My Company Plan for details.

Q

Can participants change their order mid-year?

A

Yes. Participants can change their order on a prospective basis for the next month and on a monthly basis, if need be.

Q

What if my transit pass or voucher is lost or stolen?

A

Transit vouchers are not tracked, stopped, or reissued – they are like cash in that if they are lost or stolen the participant does not have any recourse. However, if a parking voucher is lost or stolen, contact Employee Benefits Corporation’s Participant Services. We will guide you through the process of reporting the theft. If your transit pass is lost or stolen, then you can receive a refund of the value of one pass per year. Contact Employee Benefits Corporation’s Participant Services for help.

Q

Can participants use a debit card to pay for Qualified Parking Expenses or Transit Expenses? If so, how does it work and what if the card is lost or stolen?

A

Possibly. You may use a debit card (the Commuter Check Card Prepaid MasterCard®), if this option is provided to you by your employer (check My Company Plan) to pay for your Qualified Parking Expenses and/or Transit Expenses. You will receive one Commuter Check Card which can be funded each benefit month. You can only use the Commuter Check Card for commuter products as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.

Q

How long are Vouchers valid?

A

Vouchers are valid for 15 months from the date on the voucher.

Q

What if participants overestimate their Parking – Cash Reimbursement expenses?

A

If a reimbursement request for the month is less than the current Parking – Cash Reimbursement account balance, the unused amount will roll over and be available for future Parking – Cash Reimbursement expenses, so long as the participant continues to participate in the Plan. Participants may need to adjust the election for the next benefit month in order to use up the surplus Parking – Cash Reimbursement Transportation account balance.

For example, if the monthly parking election (and anticipated monthly expense) is $100 for January, but the participant only incurs $75 worth of Qualified Parking – Cash Reimbursement expenses in January, the participant might want to change the election for a future month to $75 in order to use up the $25 surplus from January. Then the participant can increase their election back to $100 for the next month.

Q

Can participants submit transportation expenses for reimbursement under a cafeteria plan?

A

No. Transportation expenses are not eligible for reimbursement/pre-tax salary reduction under a cafeteria plan. IRS regulations require that the cafeteria plan and CommuteEase be maintained as two separate, unrelated plans.

Q

When would participants risk forfeiting their transportation benefits?

A

If participants have funds in a transportation account (except for the Parking - Cash Reimbursement account - see next question) at the time they terminate employment or cease to be eligible, any pre-tax amounts not applied to transportation expenses incurred or paid prior to the termination will be forfeited to the employer per IRS regulations. Unused post-tax amounts will be returned to participants by the employer.

A credit occurs when a participant receives a refund to their account. Participants must use the credit within two months or the credit is forfeited to the employer.

Q

What if employment is terminated or there is a loss of eligibility for CommuteEase?

A

If participants terminate employment, participation in the plan ceases, and participants are unable to make any additional contributions to the CommuteEase. If you cease to be eligible for any reason (such as reduction in hours) or you are rehired, participants must complete the waiting period, if any, before they are eligible to participate again. If participants have used more dollars for the month than they have contributed, the employer may take the additional amount out of participants’ last paycheck.

For the Parking – Cash Reimbursement account, if participation in CommuteEase ceases, participants can submit reimbursement requests for Qualified Parking Expenses incurred or paid prior to termination up to 90 days after the date of termination. After termination, please contact Employee Benefits Corporation’s Participant Services for a Parking – Cash Reimbursement request form. Unused pre-tax amounts will be forfeited to the employer. Unused post-tax amounts will be returned to you by the Employer.

Q

How do participants view My Company Plan?

A

My Company Plan is available as a download available to participants when they log into My Account Assistant and to employers when they log into My Account Administrator. It outlines details of the plan design.