dchr

Department of Human Resources
 

DC Agency Top Menu


-A +A
Bookmark and Share

FAQ - Benefits and Retirement Administration

Health Benefits
Disability and Life Insurance
Retirement
Deferred Compensation
Dental and Vision
Life and Disability Insurance Provider
SmartBenefits
Commuter Benefit


For additional information on benefits, retirement, and commuter benefits, employees can contact the Benefits and Retirement Administration directly by calling 202-442-7627 or via email at [email protected]. Additional resources are available for District government employees on DCHR’s website by viewing the DC Government Employee Benefits Guide (2019).

Health Benefits

Q.    Are all District government employees eligible for health insurance coverage?    

A. No. All District government employees are not eligible for health insurance coverage. Benefits-eligible employees are eligible for health insurance coverage. Benefits-eligible employees include:

  • All full-time permanent employees;
  • Part-time permanent employees who generally work at least 30 hours per week;
  • Employees with temporary full-time appointments of at least 13 months who are employed by agencies under authority of the Mayor;
  • Temporary and intermittent employees who work for at least 90 days within a 12-month evaluation period and are paid at least 30 hours per week (or 120 hours per month).

Please note that temporary and intermittent employees are only eligible to participate in the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) health care plans.

Q.       What health insurance coverage is available for District government employees hired prior to October 1, 1987?       

A. Benefits-eligible employees hired prior to October 1, 1987, are covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB). Please refer to Health Insurance for Employees Hired Before October 1, 1987 to view additional information on health benefits plans for these employees.

Q.       What health insurance coverage is available for District government employees hired on or after October 1, 1987?    

A. Benefits-eligible employees hired on or after October 1, 1987, are covered under the D.C. Employees’ Health Benefits Program (DCEHB). The District of Columbia currently offers four (4) different Health Care Providers. These include:

  • Aetna Healthcare HMO, PPO or CDHP;
  • Kaiser Permanente HMO;
  • United Healthcare Choice Nationwide HMO and
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueChoice HMO or PPO

Please refer to Health Insurance Premiums for Employees Hired on or After October 1, 1987 for additional information on medical costs for benefits-eligible employees.

Q.       What is the difference between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and a Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP)?

A. An HMO allows an employee to select from a list of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers within their network. With a PPO, an employee can visit any healthcare professional inside or outside of their network without a referral. Lastly, a Consumer Directed Health Plan is a high deductible plan which allows an employee to choose to contribute funds from their paycheck to a Health Savings Account on a pre-tax basis assuming the employee has additionally and independently elected to participate in a Health Savings Account.

Q.       How many days does a newly hired benefits-eligible employee have to enroll in a health insurance plan?

A. All benefits-eligible employees must enroll in a health insurance plan of their choice within thirty-one (31) days of their initial appointment.

Q.       What is Open Enrollment?

A. Open Enrollment is a designated period when benefits-eligible employees have an opportunity to select or change their health insurance coverage or other benefits for the upcoming calendar year. This period typically runs from the second Monday in November to the second Monday in December.

Q.      When can an employee make changes (such as adding or removing a dependent) to their health insurance?

A. Employees can make changes, including adding or removing a dependent from their health insurance, during the annual open enrollment period or if the employee encounters a qualifying life event (QLE).
An employee has thirty-one (31) days to make the necessary changes to their benefits following a qualifying life event. Listed below are some of the more commonly known QLEs:

  • Marriage, divorce, or legal separation;
  • Birth or adoption;
  • A dependent that becomes ineligible for coverage;
  • Death of your dependent;
  • Loss/gain of coverage elsewhere for employee or spouse/domestic partner;
  • Change in work status for you and your spouse/domestic partner; and
  • Family immigrating to the United States from another country.

Q.    What documents can an employee provide to verify a QLE and what is the submission process?

A. When adding or removing a dependent, an employee is required to submit the appropriate documents (see “Documents”) using one of the methods below (see “Submission Process”) to transmit the documents to the Department of Human Resources.

Documents:

Submission Process: Documents can be submitted via the three methods below:

1. Electronically in PeopleSoft Log on to ess.dc.gov and follow the below navigation path:

Benefits>Benefits Events and select the appropriate Benefit Event.
On the Life Events Document upload page, employees can attach any applicable document.

Note: Upon uploading a document, employees will receive an email notification from PeopleSoft alerting them that their documents are awaiting approval from a Benefits and Retirement representative. The employee will receive an approval email by a Benefits and Retirement representative when their documents have been processed. Employees should then follow these step-by-step instructions for enrolling for benefits: How to Enroll in Your DC Government Employee Benefits.

2.    Electronically by Email
Scan and email applicable documents to [email protected]. In the email, employees should include their full name, date of birth, and a brief description of the qualifying life event.
3.    In Person
Hand deliver applicable documents to the Department of Human Resources, located at 1015 Half Street S.E., Suite 9063, Washington, D.C. 20003.
Note: Upon approval, a Benefits and Retirement representative will update the employee’s dependent information in PeopleSoft. Additionally, the Benefits and Retirement representative will notify the employee via email that their benefits information has been updated.

Q.    What benefits can be changed at any point during the year?

 A.  An employee can change their commuter benefits, College Savings Plan benefit, and 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan benefit at any time during the year.    

Q.    At what age will a dependent child no longer have coverage under their parent’s or guardian’s health insurance plan?

A.   In accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-148; 124 Stat. 119,132); see also 42 USC § 300gg-14), all child dependents are covered under the health insurance coverage of their parent or guardian until age 26. Under certain circumstances, dependents with a disability may continue coverage past 26 years of age.

Q.   If an employee separates from the District government (other than through retirement) are they allowed to temporarily retain their health insurance coverage?

A.  Yes. A benefits-eligible employee can temporarily retain their health insurance (medical) coverage for thirty-one (31) days following their separation date.

For additional coverage beyond the 31-day period, benefits-eligible employees can enroll in the Federal Health Benefits Program Temporary Continuation of Coverage (for employees hired prior to October 1, 1987) or the DC Employees Health Benefit Plan Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) (for employees hired on or after October 1, 1987) as applicable.

Note: Employees have 60 days from their date of separation or the date the former employee received the notice from the employing agency, whichever is later, to apply for TCC. If the employee makes their election within 60 days, and pays any applicable premiums, the employee’s insurance is reactivated beginning on the date they lost their coverage. For questions regarding time-limits and notification requirements regarding TCC coverage for a child and/or former spouse, please contact [email protected]

top


Disability and Life Insurance

Q. What is short-term disability insurance?

A. Short-term disability insurance provides income replacement that an employee may use in conjunction with annual or sick leave. This program has a 20-day elimination period. This means that an employee would have to be away from work due to the disability for more than 20 consecutive days. Income is replaced at 66 2/3 percent of the employee’s base pay. Short-term disability coverage lasts for six months.

Q. What is long-term disability insurance (LTD)?

A. Long-term disability insurance provides income replacement that an employee may use in conjunction with annual or sick leave. This program has a 180-day elimination period. This means that an employee would have to be away from work due to the disability for more than 180 consecutive days. Income is replaced at 66 2/3 percent of the employee’s base pay, reduced by deductible income. If an employee becomes disabled before age 62, LTD benefits may continue during disability until age 65. If an employee becomes disabled at age 62 or older, the benefit duration is determined by the employee’s age when the disability began.

Q. What company administers short and long-term disability?

A. Currently, Standard Insurance Company is the short and long-term disability provider for benefits-eligible employees.

Q. How can an employee enroll or cancel short and/or long-term disability?

A. An employee can enroll in short or long-term disability during the annual open enrollment period, within 31 days of their date of hire, or if they experience a qualifying life event during the year.
    An employee can cancel their short or long-term disability during the open enrollment period, or when a qualifying life event occurs.

Note: If an employee elects to enroll in disability insurance outside of the annual open enrollment period, they are urged to contact DCHR’s Benefits and Retirement Administration to discuss how they may be impacted in this instance. The Benefits office may be reached by calling (202) 442-7627 or via email at [email protected].

Q. What company administers life insurance for District government employees hired on or after October 1, 1987?

A. Currently, Standard Insurance Company is the group life insurance provider for employees hired on or after October 1, 1987. Term life insurance provides coverage equal to an employee’s annual salary rounded to the next thousand plus an additional $2,000. The cost of the monthly premium is shared with the District. The employee pays two-thirds of the total cost and the District pays one-third.

Q. What entity administers life insurance for District government employees hired prior to October 1, 1987?

A. Employees hired prior to October 1, 1987, are eligible for Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), which is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Term life insurance provides coverage equal to an employee’s annual salary rounded to the next thousand, plus an additional $2,000. The cost of your monthly premium is shared with the District. The employee pays two-thirds of the total cost and the District pays one-third.

Q. When can an employee increase, decrease, or cancel their life insurance (District of Columbia Employees Group Life Insurance (DCEGLI) and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI))?

A. An employee has three (3) options to choose from if they would like to increase their life insurance:
Option 1
The employee can make the necessary changes during the life insurance open enrollment period. The District follows the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s schedule for life insurance open enrollment and this typically occurs every seven (7) years.
Option 2
When an employee encounters a change in family status, i.e., a QLE, they have thirty-one (31) days to make the necessary changes to their life insurance following a QLE.

Listed below are some of the more commonly known changes in family status that are considered QLEs:

  • Marriage, divorce, legal separation or annulment;
  • Birth or adoption of child;
  • Death of spouse or dependent;
  • Family immigrates to the United States from another country.
  • Placement of a foster child or assumption of legal guardianship of a child; or
  • Court ordered coverage of your child by you or your spouse, allowing you to add or drop the child’s coverage.

Option 3
For DCEGLI only, an employee can directly contact Standard Life Insurance Company to request an increase to their life insurance coverage. The employee must complete an *Evidence of Insurability/Medical History online form in addition to obtaining a medical review.

Note: For DCEGLI, Standard Life Insurance Company is responsible for making the final determination on whether to allow an employee to increase their life insurance outside of the open enrollment period, or when an employee does experience a qualifying life event.

*The Evidence of Insurability/Medical History page can be found by following the navigation path below:

Select Standard Insurance Company Customer Contact
Select the Forms Tab; and
Select Medical History Statement.

For additional information contact:

Standard Insurance Company Customer Contact Center:
Phone: (888) 937-4783
Fax: (888) 878-3686

To Decrease or Cancel life insurance:

An employee can decrease or cancel their life insurance coverage at any time throughout the year. In order to do so, an employee must send a request via email to [email protected] indicating which life insurance option (A, B, or C) the employee wishes to decrease or cancel.

Dependents up to age 21 (age 24 for students) may be eligible for Life Insurance Option C coverage. For additional information on Group and Optional Life Insurance, please visit the Employee Insurance link.

Q. What is indemnity coverage?

A. Indemnity coverage is a type of voluntary insurance policy that reimburses a patient and/or provider for medical expenses incurred in the event of illness or injury.

Q. Who is the District government’s indemnity coverage provider?

A. Aflac is the District government’s indemnity coverage provider. Aflac benefits are paid directly to the designated employee (unless assigned elsewhere) in the event of illness or injury.

Q. When can an employee enroll in Aflac?

A. Newly hired employees may enroll in Aflac on a pre-tax basis within thirty-one (31) days of their initial appointment. Current employees who experience a qualifying life event (outside of Open Enrollment) can enroll in Aflac on a pre-tax basis anytime during the year; and Current employees who do not experience a qualifying life event can enroll in Aflac on an after-tax basis anytime during the year.

Q. How does an employee enroll in Aflac?

A. Aflac voluntary insurance policies are available for enrollment in PeopleSoft, or by calling (202) 379-4755. An employee can also visit Aflac Enrollment to enroll in Aflac coverage.

Q. How does an employee cancel their Aflac indemnity coverage?

A. Employees can only cancel their Aflac indemnity coverage during the annual open enrollment period or if the employee encounters a qualifying life event.

To cancel Aflac coverage, District government employees can:

  • Call 1-800-992-3522; or
  • Submit the Aflac Cancellation Form via fax at (202) 379-4756 (Attention: Aflac Cancellations).

Listed below are commonly known qualifying life events:

  • Marriage, divorce or legal separation;
  • Birth or adoption;
  • A dependent that becomes ineligible for coverage;
  • Death of your dependent;
  • Loss/gain of coverage elsewhere for employee or spouse/domestic partner;
  • Change in work status for you and your spouse/domestic partner; and
  • Family immigrates to the United States from another country.

For additional information, please call (202) 442-9718.

top


Retirement

Q. What is the Civil Service Retirement System?

A. The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) is a defined benefit, contributory retirement system administered by the federal Office of Personnel Management. Employees share in the expense of the annuities with their employer. CSRS covered employees contribute 7 or 7.5 percent of pay to CSRS and do not pay Social Security retirement, survivor, and disability (OASDI) tax. CSRS employees generally do not pay the Medicare tax (currently 1.45 percent of pay), unless they separate from the District government and are rehired after March 31, 1986.

Q. What retirement plan should a benefit-eligible employee be placed in if they started their initial appointment with the District government prior to October 1, 1987?

A. All benefits-eligible employees except Police Officers, Firefighters, and Teachers that started their initial appointment prior to October 1, 1987 should be placed in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). An employee covered by the CSRS and their agency each contribute 7% or 7.5% of the employee’s basic salary to CSRS.

Q. What retirement plan should a benefit-eligible employee be placed in if they started their initial appointment with the District government on or after October 1, 1987?

A. All benefits eligible employees that started their initial appointment on or after October 1, 1987, should be placed in the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan (also known as the 401(a) Retirement Plan), except Police, Firefighters, Teachers and Civil Service Retirement System covered employees. The DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan is a retirement plan established for benefits-eligible employees that is 100% employer-funded. The District contributes 5% of the employee’s base salary (the District provides 5.5% for Correctional Officers) into an account in the employee’s name.

Q. When will an employee’s contribution begin for the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan?

A. District employees who were hired for the first time on or after October 1, 1987, are eligible to participate in the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan. Employees are automatically enrolled in the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan at the beginning of the first pay period, immediately following the completion of one year of creditable service.

    Creditable service is measured from the date an employee starts employment in a covered position with the District government until the date of separation from service.

Q. What is “vesting” as it relates to the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan?

A. Vesting refers to the period where an employee becomes entitled to his or her benefits under the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan.

Q. At what point during an employee’s tenure does he or she become vested under the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan?

A. An employee becomes vested under the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan after two (2) years of creditable service. See graded vesting schedule shown below.

Vesting Schedule

Note:  Under the former vesting schedule, if an employee was terminated prior to December 8, 2009, there were no sliding scales that contained varying percentages of an account that would be vested based on years of credible service. Instead, an employee either did not vest at all or an employee only became fully vested (earned the right to their entire account) after they completed five years of creditable service.  

Q. Can an employee borrow funds from their DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan?

A. No. An active employee may not borrow funds from their DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan.

Q. What are the retirement plans for police officers, firefighters, and teachers?

A. Police Officers and Firefighters are under the D.C. Police Officers and Firefighters’ Retirement Plan. Teachers are under the District of Columbia Teachers’ Retirement Plan. Additional information on these retirement plans can be found on the D.C. Retirement Board’s website at www.dcrb.dc.gov.

Q. What is the process an employee should take to retire from the District of Columbia government?

A. If an employee is going to retire from the CSRS or the DC 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan, the employee should:
Inform their internal Human Resources Office of their intent to retire; and
Contact DCHR’s Benefits and Retirement Administration via email at [email protected]  to schedule an appointment with a Retirement Specialist to conduct a retirement computation. Additional information will be provided to the employee by the DCHR Benefits Specialist.

 

top


Deferred Compensation

Q. What is the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan?

A. The 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan (“457(b) Plan”) permits employees to set aside a portion of their current pre-tax earnings for placement into an account for their retirement. The 457(b) Plan operates under section 457(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Q. What company administers the 457(b) Plan?

A. ICMA-Retirement Corporation (ICMA-RC) administers the 457(b) Plan for District government employees.  

Q. Are all District government employees eligible to participate in the 457(b) Plan?

A. No. All government employees are not eligible to participate in the 457(b) Plan. Only benefits-eligible employees are eligible to participate; those employees include:

  • All full-time permanent employees;
  • Part-time permanent employees who generally work at least 30 hours per week;
  • Employees with temporary full-time appointments of at least 13 months who are employed by agencies under the authority of the Mayor;
  • Temporary and intermittent employees who work for at least 90 days within a 12-month evaluation period and are paid at least 30 hours per week (or 120 hours per month).  

Q. How can an employee enroll in the 457 (b) Plan?

A. As of July 7, 2019, eligible newly hired employees and rehired employees (with a break in service of three (3) workdays or more) are automatically enrolled in the 457(b) at five percent (5%) of their annual base salary on a pre-tax basis on their date of hire/rehire date of hire/rehire date of hire/rehire.

Note: Benefits-eligible employees that were hired before July 7, 2019, are not automatically enrolled in the 457(b) Plan. Employees hired prior to July 7, 2019, shall enroll in the 457(b) Plan by visiting "How to Change Your 457 Contributions in PeopleSoft".

Q. How much will a benefits-eligible employee hired on or after July 7, 2019 contribute to their 457(b) Plan?

A. Employees hired after July 7, 2019, will automatically have 5 percent (5%) of their annual base salary contributed to the 457(b) Plan as pre-tax contributions each pay period. Employees can elect to defer a different amount (including $0.00) or a different percentage amount of their base salary or cease participation in the 457(b) Plan at any time.

Q. How can an employee opt out of the 457(b) Plan?

A. Employees hired on or after July 7, 2019 have the option to opt out of the 457(b) Plan and not participate within the first 30 days of employment.  Employees can opt out of the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan by visiting "How to Change Your 457 Contributions in PeopleSoft” and setting their contribution deferral rate to zero.

Q. How can an employee hired on or after July 7, 2019 request a refund?

A. If an employee hired on or after July 7, 201, elects to opt out of the automatic enrollment within the first 30 days of employment, the employee can request a refund of any contributions made to their account within that period.

If an employee hired on or after July 7, 2019 does not opt out of the 457(b) Plan within the first 30 days of their employment, the employee will not receive a refund.
To request a refund of contributions, please contact DCHR at [email protected] or call at (202) 442-7627. You may also contact ICMA-RC at 1(800) 669-7400.

Q. What are some important time frames?

A. Newly hired benefits-eligible employees and rehired employees that were hired on or after July 7, 2019, (with a break in service of three (3) workdays or more) are allotted 30 days to stop a deferral and still withdraw any automatic enrollment contributions.

The 30-day period begins when an employee receives written notice on the 457(b) Automatic Enrollment Program. At any time within the 30 days, if the employee makes an elective choice for their 457(b) Plan account, the permissible withdrawal period ends.

Q. How can an employee enroll, change, or cancel the contribution amount for the 457(b) Plan?   

A. An employee can select "How to Change Your 457 Contributions in PeopleSoft" for a step-by-step guide to enroll, change, or cancel  contributions to their 457(b) Plan. Employees can elect to defer a different amount or a different percentage amount of their base salary or cease participation in the plan at any time.   

Q. Why is my contribution a percentage of pay and not a flat amount?

A. Percentage-based contributions allow deferral amounts to grow as an employee's salary increases over time. This ensures that an employee's savings rate is growing with his or her income.

Q. What is the default investment?

A. By default, all employees will be invested in a Target Date Fund based on their date of birth.

Q. Are there other investment options available?

A. Yes, employees can control how their contributions are being invested. Employees have a wide range of options to choose from, from more conservative, stable-value funds to more aggressive bond and stock funds. Additionally, employees can build a diversified portfolio of various funds or select a simple yet diversified age-based retirement fund that is geared toward the projected retirement date. To learn more about visit DC Employee Funds.

Q. What is the maximum contribution that can be made to the 457(b) Plan?

A. The maximum contribution is set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is subject to yearly cost-of-living adjustments. Employees should visit www.dcretire.com for the 457(b) Plan contribution limits.

Q. Can an employee borrow funds from their 457(b) Plan?  

A. Yes. Employees should contact ICMA-RC directly to obtain additional information concerning the process or visit www.dcretire.com for more information. For additional information, employees can also access the 457(b)-Deferred Compensation Plan link, contact ICMA-RC directly  at 1-800-669-7400, or send an email to [email protected].

Q. How can an employee obtain additional information about their 457(b) Plan?

A. Educational Sessions. An employee can contact a local Retirement Plans Specialist to register for an education session. ICMA-RC representatives are available to answer your questions and provide more information about the fund line-up and the retirement planning services available through the 457(b) Plan.

Q. How can an employee access their ICMA-RC account?

A. An employee can access their ICMA-RC account by creating an online account at www.dcretire.com and selecting Set Up Your Online Access.

Q. How can an employee contact a representative from ICMA-RC Investor Service?  

A. Employees can contact the ICMA-RC Investor Services Representative by calling 1.800.669.7400 (press zero to speak with a representative). Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm ET.

Q. Where are the ICMA-RC service centers located?

A. The District has two (2) service centers that District employees can visit to meet with plan representatives to learn about the plan, ask questions, and enroll in a retirement plan.  

Service Center 1:  
The DC Department of Human Resources
1015 Half Street, SE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20003
202.442.7617 
Service Center 2:
ICMA-RC
777 North Capitol St NE, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
1.800.669.7400

Q. Who can an employee contact if they have additional questions?

A.

DCHR’s Benefits and Retirement Administration  
[email protected]
202.442.7627
 

ICMA-RC
777 North Capitol St NE, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
1.800.669.7400
Customer Support
www.dcretire.com

For additional information please feel free to visit 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.

top


Dental and Vision

Q. Who is the District's dental provider?

A. Cigna Dental Health provides dental health insurance coverage for benefits-eligible employees.
    For additional information contact: Cigna Dental Health Incorporation

Cigna Dental Health, Inc.
P.O. Box 189060
Plantation, FL 33318-9060
Phone: (800) 367-1037

Q. Who is the District's vision provider?

A. Quality Plan Administrators provides vision coverage for benefits-eligible employees. Vision coverage is available at no cost to benefits-eligible employees.
    For additional information contact: Quality Plan Administrators

Quality Plan Administrators
6101 16th Street, NW, Suite 418
Washington, DC 20011
Customer Service: (202) 722-2744 or (800) 900-4112
Life and Disability Insurance Provider

top


Life and Disability Insurance Provider

Q. Who is the District's life and disability insurance provider?

A. Standard Insurance Company is the group life and disability insurance provider for the District of Columbia Government.
     For additional information contact:

Standard Insurance Company Customer Contact Center
Phone: (888) 937-4783
Fax: (888) 878-3686
www.standard.com/mybenefits/dc   

top


SmartBenefits

Q. What are SmartBenefits?

A. SmartBenefits are commuter benefits offered to eligible District government union employees.

Q. What employees are eligible for SmartBenefits?

A. Employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement are eligible to participate in the District’s SmartBenefits Program.

Q. How does a union employee enroll in the SmartBenefits Program?

A. To register for SmartBenefits, a union employee must:

  • Ensure eligibility (by contacting DCHR’s Benefits and Retirement Administration);
  • Purchase a SmarTrip card at a Metro rail station, sales office, or commuter store;
  • Register the SmarTrip card at www.smartrip.wmata.com or by calling 1-888-762-7874;
  • Complete the SmarTrip Application;
  • Scan and email the completed SmarTrip application along with a copy of the front and back of the registered SmarTrip card to [email protected]; or
  • Bring the SmarTrip card and completed application to the Department of Human Resources’ Benefits and Retirement Administration located at 1015 Half Street S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003, Suite 9063, Monday- Friday between the hours of 8:00am-5:00pm.

Note:     Employees will receive a confirmation email once the request has been completed.

Q. Upon completing and submitting a SmarTrip application, when will an employee’s SmartBenefits load to their SmarTrip card?

A. If an employee’s SmarTrip application is received before the 15th of the month, the benefit will begin the first day of the following month. If the form is submitted after the 15th of the month, the benefit will begin the first day of the second month after the SmarTrip application is received.

Example: If the application is received on September 6th, the employee’s benefit will begin on October1st. If an employee’s form is submitted September 16th, the benefit will begin November 1st (the second month).

Q. Can an employee add additional funds to their registered SmarTrip card?

A. Yes. An employee can add additional funds at any Metro SmarTrip vending machine.

top


Commuter Benefit

Q. How much can I set aside for commuter benefits?

A. As set by the Internal Revenue Services, the maximum amount that you can set aside for commuter benefits is $270 per month pre-tax during 2020 both for parking and mass transit benefits.

Q. What is the difference between a mass transit account and a parking account?

A. A parking account can be used to pay for parking at or near your office or parking at a park-n-ride from which you take mass transit or vanpool from.
A commuter account can be used monthly commuter passes, the cost of ferries, trains, subways, shared ride-sharing services, vanpools, or other mass transit to get to/from work.

Q. Can you have both a mass transit account and a parking account?

A. Yes, you can have both. You can set aside $270 a month pre-tax for each account. Thus:

  • $270 per month pre-tax for parking
  • $270 per month pre-tax for mass transit

Q. Can you use commuter benefits for not shared rides?

A. No, currently commuter benefits can only be used for shared rides. Your commuter benefits can be used for shared rides on both Uber and Lyft.

Q. Do commuter benefits carry-over month to month and year to year?

A. Yes, both parking and mass transit accounts will roll over month to month and year to year.  In order to have a parking or transit account employees must re-enroll with new annual pledge every year during open enrollment held Mid-November through Mid-December.

Q. Will  transit benefits be automatically deducted from my paycheck?

A. Yes, the amount you selected for your annual pledge (divided by the number of remaining pay periods) will be deducted automatically from your paycheck  until you reduce or stop deductions.

Q. I have a mass transit account since I used to take the train to work, but now I would like to drive. Can I switch my account for mass transmit to parking?

A. No, employees cannot switch money between the two accounts. Employees can disenroll their transit account and enroll into parking account and vice versa. But the funds deducted from either account will remain in their designated account.
If you only have a mass transit account, you will be unable to pay for parking unless it is associated with mass transmit i.e. WMATA.

Q. When can I reduce, increase, or cancel my commuter benefits?

A. Employees have the option to enroll, disenroll, increase, or decease their annual election at any time throughout the year.

Q. I only have a mass transit account, can I pay for parking at my office?

A. No, only parking associated with mass transit i.e. WMATA parking lot can be paid with a mass transit account. If you will be driving, you should create a parking account.

Q. I am teleworking and do not need my commuter benefits, can I receive a refund of my deductions?

A. Since commuter benefits are pre-tax benefits, the monies deducted for Commuter Benefits are not refundable.

Q. If I separate from the District, will I receive a refund of my commuter benefits?

A. Even though you may still have funds remaining and access to your Beniversal MasterCard, your participation in the plan ends on the day you separate from the District. Participants can use their Beniversal card through the end of the month following the last month of employment. For example, if an employee terminates March 15, they are able to use their current card through April 30. After that point, if they have a remaining balance of $11.75 or greater they will be automatically transferred to a spend-down account administered by BRi. They will receive a welcome letter and a new card in the mail. They can continue to use their spend-down card until the funds are exhausted.

Q. Who is the District’s transit benefit vendor?

A. Benefit Resource, Inc. (BRi) is the Distrist’s transit benefit vendor. More information about BRi is available at: https://www.benefitresource.com/cbp-resource/ You can contact BRi at Phone: (800) 473-9595, Monday - Friday, 8am - 8pm (Eastern Time) Email: [email protected]

top