Mass Transit Benefits - FederalPay.org
The federal government is known to pay marginally less than the private sector. There are many lesser-known benefits offered by the government that more than make up for the small monetary discrepancy between government and private jobs.
One such benefit is the Federal Government Mass Transit Benefits Program and the Federal Parking subsidy. These programs can be worth thousands of dollars per year to employees who take advantage of them. There are many restrictions, such as that an employee may only receive benefits from one of the programs at a time; benefits received may not exceed the actual cost incurred by the employee; over payment for parking and mass transit must flow back to the government; and the employee must use the service for which the government is pay at least 75% of the time. For example, an employee may not collect the parking subsidy then commute with someone else who also collects the parking subsidy.
Because the subsidy is considered a reimbursement, rather than a payment, subsidies are tax-free. In addition, the mass transit benefit can be combined with state or local benefit programs where applicable.
The mass transit is designed to encourage employees to commute and to assist employees who work in areas where public transit is the only viable means of getting to work. The mass transit subsidy reduces traffic, parking needs wear and on roads. In many locations, the mass transit subsidy is cost effective for the government overall.
The parking subsidy was established because the federal government was not able to provide free parking at all facilities. In major cities such as Washington D.C. and New York City, daily parking costs hundreds of dollars per month. Because free parking is provided at most government facilities, laws were passed to provide monetary support to employees who have to pay for parking on a daily basis.
These benefits programs were established under different laws so the subsidy amounts differ. The parking subsidy is linked to Cost of Living and increases each year automatically. The mass transit subsidy was set at $130 per month when it was established and each year congress includes a line in their budget or continuing resolution that sets the subsidy equal to the parking subsidy.
In 2013 both subsidies were set at $240 per month.
The one-year increase to the Mass Transit subsidy expired at the end of 2013. Amid the budget crisis known as the fiscal cliff and a government shutdown, an increase to the Mass Transit subsidy was not passed for 2014.
While the parking subsidy increased $5 automatically the mass transit subsidy fell $110 to a total of $130 for 2014.
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