Ohio Department of Health
Questions about COVID-19?
Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH for answers.

 

Coronavirus Information

 


The Commuter Benefits program is a voluntary employee benefit program, which facilitates the pre-tax payment of eligible parking and transit expenses for program participants, who pay to park their vehicle while at work or who use public transportation or van pools. The program allows eligible state employees to save money by paying for these expenses using pre-tax dollars, as allowed by Internal Revenue Code 132, which provides for Qualified Transportation Benefit Programs. No federal, state, or school district income taxes, or Medicare tax will be withheld from the pre-tax amount of participants’ eligible commuting expenses, so you will save money each month you participate in the program.

For details about the Commuter Benefits program, including enrollment information, see the Commuter Benefits plan guide.

About the Commuter Benefits Program

How the Program Works

The Commuter Benefits program includes two types of commuting expenses:

  • Transportation expenses, which include qualified fares for riding buses, trains, subways, ferries, and other types of mass transportation, or van pools. 
  • Parking expenses which include the cost of parking at or near your place of work or at or near a place from which you commute to work by mass transit, such as a park-and-ride lot. 

When you enroll in commuter benefits for eligible transportation expenses, you are authorizing the third-party administrator to purchase your public transportation fare passes (i.e. bus pass) and van pool passes, directly from your transportation provider.

The 2021 IRS monthly allowable dollar limit for transit is $270. When you enroll for the commuter transit benefit, the payment card will be delivered directly to your home address.

The 2021 IRS monthly allowable dollar limit for parking is $270. When you enroll for the commuter parking benefit, the third-party administrator will pay your parking service directly.

The monthly administrative fee for parking and transit is $2.65 on an “after-tax” basis and is paid for by the employee.

Order deadline: Payment for parking and transit will need to be made on the 5th of the month for the following month.    

Should your parking and/or transit expenses exceed the IRS monthly allowable dollar limit, you may have additional dollars withheld on an after-tax basis to pay your expenses that exceed the IRS dollar limit.

Funds cannot be returned to participants. These are pre-tax deductions and can only be used to pay for eligible commuter expenses. They cannot be reimbursed to participants per the IRS Code Section 1.132-9(b) Q/A 14(d).

How do I use my Commuter Benefits funds for parking expenses? 

  • Payment Card  – You can use your payment card to pay for eligible parking expenses as they occur. It will be pre-loaded each month with your specified amount. 
  • Parking Vouchers  – In your online account, you can arrange for parking vouchers to be sent directly to your home each month. 
  • Direct Pay for Garages  – In the commuter portal, you can elect to send payments directly to your parking garage vendor.

How do I use my Commuter Benefits funds for transit expenses? 

  • Payment Card  – The easiest way to pay for commuter expenses is to use your ConnectYourCare payment card to pay for transit passes or tickets, either at kiosks or on your preferred transit provider’s website. It will be pre-loaded each month with your specified amount. 
  • Monthly Passes  – You can also purchase your transit passes or smart cards directly through your online account. You can set these up to recur each month, and passes are mailed to your home. 
  • Transit Vouchers  – You can select a commuter check voucher to use on any type of transit. Simply select what you need on the ConnectYourCare portal and follow the online prompts. 
  • Vanpool Vouchers  – You can select a commuter check voucher to pay for vanpool expenses. Simply select what you need through your online account and follow the online prompts. 

ConnectYourCare

The ConnectYourCare website provides more information about the Commuter Benefits Parking and Transit Program. Existing program participants also access the site to make changes in their current benefits and utilize other website resources. Eligible employees who wish to start participating in the Commuter Benefits Program may do so by accessing the ConnectYourCare website at ConnectYourCare.com/StateofOhio.

Customer Service
Visit the ConnectYourCare website, ConnectYourCare.com/StateofOhio, or contact ConnectYourCare Customer Service at 844-881-7147 or by email at ohio@connectyourcare.com (available 24/7). Representatives are knowledgeable about enrollment, elections, eligibility, ordering, cut off dates, and IRS regulations. 

Eligibility

All State of Ohio employees are eligible for participation in the Commuter Benefits parking and transit program.

Enrollment

For details about the Commuter Benefits program, including enrollment information, see the Commuter Benefits plan guide.

Getting Started with Commuter Benefits

The best thing about Commuter Benefits is that there is no requirement to sign up during Open Enrollment – you can begin using this benefit any time during the year. 

To get started, log in to your online account the same way you will for your other ConnectYourCare accounts. If you don’t have another ConnectYourCare account, follow these easy steps: 

  • Go to ConnectYourCare.com/StateofOhio
  • Select LOG IN /SIGN UP, then select New User Registration
  • The system will prompt you to enter your ConnectYourCare payment card number. If you have a card, enter the number. If you are not enrolled in a carded account, or if you have not received your card, select the option to indicate you do not have a payment card to proceed
  • Set up your username and password
  • Follow the prompts to verify your identity
  • Once registered and logged in, select the Commuter Benefits tab to: 
    • Place a transit or parking order 
    • View your recent orders 
    • See reminders 
    • Set up recurring orders 
    • Change your profile information 
    • Read FAQs 
    • Receive important notifications about your transit options

Order deadline: Payment for parking and transit will need to be made on the 5th of the month for the following month.    

Family Extended Benefits

State of Ohio employees

State of Ohio employees may now purchase transit passes, such as bus, train, subway, ferry or van pool, for family members or dependents for whom they pay transit costs. This additional benefit applies only to transit costs and does not include parking costs. 

If you are not currently enrolled in the Commuter Benefits program, you can enroll to purchase a transit pass for a family member with pre-tax dollars. If you are already enrolled and contribute less than the monthly pre-tax maximum of $270, you can now increase your pre-tax deductions up to the maximum and order a transit pass for a family member. The more pre-tax money you contribute to the benefit program, the more you save on taxes.

There is no need to wait for the Open Enrollment period; you can sign up any time. Keep in mind that orders must be placed a month in advance. You must place orders by the 5th of the current month for benefits to be effective the next month. Here is how it works: 

For employees not yet enrolled: 

Go to the Enrollment tab.

For current participants: 

  1. If you have an existing commuter account for parking or transit benefits, you can increase your contributions to the monthly pre-tax maximum of $270 to purchase transit passes for your family members. However, if you have elected a pass for yourself and want the same one for a family member, some transit authorities do not allow you to elect more than one of the same type, such as annual passes or transit agency smart cards. Be sure to check with your transit provider before ordering. 
  2. To make changes or to modify your existing order, log into your ConnectYourCare account.

To learn more about the program, visit connectyourcare.com/StateofOhio or call ConnectYourCare Customer Service at 844-881-7147, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Eligible Expenses

The majority of costs you incur from your residence to work or from work to your residence, for public transportation (i.e. mass transit) or van pools and for parking are considered eligible commuting expenses under IRS regulations. Commuting expenses must represent your normal commute between your residence and your work location.

Termination of Participation or Employment

Employees who wish to cancel their participation in the benefit must do so by the 5th of the month prior to month in which they want it to become effective.

Employees who retire or terminate employment will forfeit any balance in their account. It’s important to cancel your deduction by the 5th of the month prior to your termination.

Reimbursements cannot be made to participants. These are pre-tax deductions and can only be used to pay for eligible commuter expenses. They cannot be reimbursed to participants per the IRS Code Section 1.132-9(b) Q/A 14(d). Any credits will be forfeited upon termination.

General Contact

Ohio Department of Administrative Services
30 E. Broad St., 27th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Local: 614-466-8857 
Toll Free: 800-409-1205, option 2

Driving Directions

Benefits Administration Services Home Page