Commuter, FSA FAQs
I understand WageWorks has several ways to pay for mass transit expenses. What are they?
- Buy My Pass: Tell WageWorks which pass you want to buy from which transit or vanpool agency and it will be delivered to your home.
- Smartcards: WageWorks loads contributions directly onto Transit Agency smartcards where available.
- WageWorks Commuter Card: Works at points of purchase such as ticket machines/windows that accept MasterCard® credit cards.
WageWorks also offers three ways to pay for parking:
- Pay My Parking: Tell us how much and when to pay your parking garage and we'll send a check directly from your account.
- Pay Me Back: Pay to park and then get reimbursed via check or direct deposit
- WageWorks Parking Card: Works at parking providers who accept MasterCard® credit cards.
What are eligible commuting expenses?
Only parking and mass transit costs incurred by you in connection with travel between your residence and your work place are eligible. Examples of eligible expenses include:
- Mass transit fares, including tickets, passes, tokens, vouchers or other fares for riding buses, trains, Para-transit vans or other mass transportation vehicles;
- Official vanpool* fees;
- Parking fees at or near your work place; or
- Parking fees at a location from which you commute to your work place via mass transportation or a carpool (ex: park-and-ride lot).
*Vanpool is defined as a vehicle with seating for 6 or more adult passengers, excluding driver; 80% of mileage is to transport employees and 50% of seating capacity used for employee transport.
Can’t WageWorks just open an account for me?
Since WageWorks offers a variety of monthly commuter choices, you must open an account and tell WageWorks how to fulfill for your qualified transit and/or parking expense requests.
What is a Smart Card?
A Smart Card is a plastic, credit card size card with an imbedded chip imbedded that stores cash or fare balances. Banks have used them for some time for their credit card holders and now New Jersey transit riders can use their SmartLink SM cards at all of their 13 PATH station entrances. The logic of the card is similar to E-ZPass and all you do is swipe the card at the turnstile. It is so strong, it can read your account even through a leather wallet or handbag. This also helps keep your wallet or bag safe since you don’t have to remove your smart card to use it. New York’s MTA is working on a similar project and WageWorks will let us know when that becomes available.
How can I buy a Smart Card through WageWorks?
The SmartLink cards can be purchased through WageWorks. You can elect a WageWorks commuter debit card and use it to fund your SmartLink card.
How do I find the transit agencies in my area?
To review the transit agencies in your area, please go to the WageWorks home page and follow the instructions for first-time user. Once logged into your account, go to the Commuter Tab, Select "Place Commuter Order" under the "Manage My Account" section, then click on the "Transportation" button to review your options.
I live in University housing and park my car in a University subsidized parking garage for use on weekends and holidays. Am I eligible for a reimbursement of my parking expenses?
No. The following is a partial list of ineligible expenses for reimbursement under a commuter spending account: Tolls; Traffic tickets; Fuel; Mileage or other costs you incur in operating a vehicle; Taxis; Payments to a fellow participant in a carpool or to a friend who drives you to work; Parking at your personal residence; Parking at your spouse's place of work; Parking at a mall or similar location where you stop on your drive to or from your place of work; Costs that have been or will be paid by your employer, such as for a business trip; and Parking at an airport for taking an airplane to work.
I ride the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and use their “Mail-n-Ride” program for both my train pass and my MetroCard. How do I avoid receiving two passes – one from the LIRR and one from WageWorks?
You will not need to do anything. WageWorks coordinates elections with the Long Island Railroad’s Mail-n-Ride program to ensure that participants do not receive multiple orders. At the time you make your election, you will provide specific information about your mail-n-ride account. Payment to your account (partial or full) will be made from WageWorks directly to LIRR. You will continue to receive your ticket via the mail-n-ride program. NOTE: Elections for the Long Island Railroad (and MetroNorth Railroad) mail-n-ride program must be completed by the 4th of the month. This is regardless of the deadline of your employer.
Can I get my transit pass/commuter cards automatically without having to come back to the Commuter Spending Account Web site every month?
Yes. By selecting Every Month when you configure your transit selection, you will automatically receive your transit pass/commuter cards and you will not need to come back to the Commuter Spending Account unless you wish to make a change to the monthly frequency or to the type of pass.
What if I get a reduced fare MetroCard? Will that be an option with WageWorks?
Yes, WageWorks offers the sale of reduced fare MetroCards on their site. Or you can sign up to load funds onto a WageWorks commuter card to purchase your reduced fare MetroCard directly from the transit agency.
Will this new program work if I buy a Senior Discount MetroCard?
Yes, you can sign up to load funds onto a WageWorks commuter card to purchase your Senior Discount MetroCard directly from the transit agency.
I have 2 parking vendors; a monthly commuter lot which I have to annually prepay and EBPA has been allowing me to take monthly deductions against it and then on occasion, I have to drive in to NYU because of business needs, I submit receipts for this. Will this new commuting plan allow for this type of flexibility?
Yes, WageWorks can support your specific needs. Since you prepay for your annual parking space, you can elect a monthly Pay Me Back election equivalent to 1/12 of the annual cost. Assuming that this amount is less than the maximum IRS limit, you can request additional funds be deducted to cover your infrequent parking expenses when driving in to work.
For those infrequent parking expenses, you still need to remember to update your election before the deadline of the appropriate benefit month. You cannot retroactively submit claims for expenses already incurred.
- Example 1: Your annual parking permit is $1200 per year. You elect for a $100 Pay Me Back parking for January. On January 1, you submit your electronic acknowledgement of the expense paid and you are reimbursed $100. If you later spend additional money for parking at NYU in January, no additional funds can be reimbursed.
- Example 2: Your annual parking permit is $1200 per year. You also anticipate you will drive in to NYU and pay additional parking costs of $50 during the upcoming benefit month. You elect for a $150 Pay Me Back parking for January. On January 1, you submit your electronic acknowledgement of the expense paid for your annual permit and you are reimbursed $100. Later, you spend the additional $50 for parking at NYU. You fill out a paper claim and fax it to WageWorks with your receipts and you are reimbursed $50.
What if my monthly expenses are over the IRS limit? How will that work?
If your monthly transit expenses exceed the IRS pre-tax limits of $255.00 per month for mass transit and $255.00 per month for parking (for 2016), we will deduct the maximum before tax benefit from your paycheck. Any remaining balances will be deducted from your pay check as an after tax deduction. This gives you the convenience of paying the full cost of your commute by convenient payroll deductions with no outlay of cash by you.
What if my transit pass gets lost in the mail?
WageWorks makes every effort to ensure that passes are mailed out in time so they can be received by the first of the benefit month. If you do not receive your order by the first of the benefit month, please contact WageWorks within the first three business days of the month. You will be instructed to purchase your exact order directly from your public transportation or vanpool service and will be provided with a Special Handling Form with which you can request reimbursement. The Special Handling Form must be received no later than the 10th of the benefit month to be accepted for reimbursement up to the cost of your regular WageWorks monthly order. There is a lifetime maximum of two replacement cards.
Are the transit passes I order through WageWorks insured?
No, they are not insured the way some transit authorities insure transit passes purchased by using a debit or credit card. However, if you don’t receive your pass by the first of the month you should call WageWorks who will tell you how to replace the card. If you lose the card during the month you use it, there is no insurance to replace it. If this is a concern, you may use the WageWorks commuter card to purchase an unlimited MetroCard to benefit from the MTA’s insurance policy. Rather than delivery of the pass each month to your home, you will need to purchase the pass directly from the MTA.
I really like the idea of paying my parking provider. How do enroll in this benefit?
After logging into your WageWorks account, click on “Place Commuter Order” from the menu on the main Commuter page, and then select the Parking option. Choose “I have contracted a space and pay a monthly fee to part there throughout the month.” The site will return a list of parking providers in your area. Choose your provider from the menu.* Confirm your garage’s information, input your monthly expense and parking garage account number, and then complete your order. Remember to cancel your existing parking deduction if you already have one.
*This should pull up your garage’s information. If it does not, there is a link that will take you to a page where you can manually input your garage’s information.
How long do I have to file a “pay me back” claim?
You have six months from the end of the month to file claims for reimbursement from your Pay Me Back account. Be sure to check the deadline for each benefit month on the Account Activity page for this account. If you have a balance remaining after the deadline, you will receive a credit in that amount which will automatically be applied toward your next Commuter deduction. For transit, a benefit month is defined as the month in which the transit pass is useable. For parking, it is the month in which you can actually park.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
What are Flexible Spending Accounts?
NYU's Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), administered by WageWorks, allow you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis, to pay for eligible health care or dependent care expenses.
There are two different types of FSAs:
- Health Care FSA: used to reimburse out-of-pocket medical expenses for you and your eligible dependent(s).
- Dependent Care FSA: used to reimburse expenses related to the care of eligible dependents in order for you and your spouse (if you are married) to work. You are also eligible to use the account if your spouse is a full-time student, is disabled, or is actively seeking work. Note: Health care (medical) expenses for a dependent are not reimbursable from a Dependent Care FSA.
The amount you set aside is placed in the type of account (health care or dependent care) that you choose to open. You can then reimburse yourself for eligible expenses you incur during the calendar year, up to the lesser of the amount deducted from your paycheck or the allowable maximum.
Keep in mind that contributions for an FSA are taken out of your paycheck before taxes are applied, reducing your taxable income and your take-home pay.
What expenses are eligible for tax-free reimbursement from a Health Care FSA?
The Health Care FSA can be used for out-of-pocket health care expenses incurred by you or your eligible dependents.
To be eligible for tax-free reimbursement from your Health Care FSA, expenses cannot be covered by any other benefit plan. In general, expenses that are eligible for reimbursement are medical, dental, and vision expenses incurred for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of disease, a physical or mental condition, or an injury.
Examples of ineligible expenses: Any amount that is eligible for reimbursement from another source, such as other insurance or Medicare; expenses for which you take an itemized deduction on your federal income tax return; personal care items, cosmetic services and supplies, including hair transplants, cosmetic orthodontia, liposuction, or other cosmetic surgery; weight reduction programs for general health; marriage/family counseling.
What expenses are eligible for tax-free reimbursement from a Dependent Care FSA?
The Dependent Care FSA can be used to pay for eligible daycare expenses for a dependent under age 13, in order for you and your spouse (if you are married) to work. You are also eligible to use the account if your spouse is a full-time student, is disabled, or is actively seeking work.
Examples of eligible expenses include: Care at a day care center with six or more children that meets state and local regulations, babysitters (over age 19), nursery school expenses for the care of a child under age six, and before- and after-school programs.
You also can use the dependent care spending account for eldercare, provided you are responsible for at least 50-percent of the support of the elderly parent, or any person living with you, who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care and this person is noted on your income tax statements as a legal dependent.
Examples of ineligible expenses: Educational expenses (kindergarten or higher), overnight camp, round-the-clock nursing home care, transportation to and from a dependent care location, services provided by your spouse or a person you claim as a dependent on your income tax return, and expenses that are not work-related.
Note: Health Care (medical) expenses for a dependent are not reimbursable from a Dependent Care FSA.
When can I enroll in an FSA?
Each fall, during the designated Open Enrollment Period, you will have an opportunity to enroll in a Health Care FSA and/or a Dependent Care FSA. FSA elections made during Open Enrollment become effective on January 1 of the following year.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA) elections do not "roll over" from year to year. Therefore, if you want to participate, you must make a new election for your FSA every year, even if you want to contribute the same amount.
Can I change my election or stop contributing money to my FSA at any time during the year?
Federal regulations state that once you have designated the contribution amount, you cannot change your decision during the year, unless you experience a qualifying life event.
Examples of qualifying life events are: birth or adoption of a child; marriage; establishing a domestic partnership; divorce; ending a domestic partnership; disability; death; you or your spouse/domestic partner gains or loses a job or stops working.
At the end of the year, if there is unused money in my Health Care FSA, do I get to keep it?
NYU allows you to carryover up to $500 of unused Health Care FSA balances remaining at the end of a plan year. You have until March 31 following a plan year to claim eligible expenses incurred from January 1 through December 31 of the plan year.
Can I transfer money from my Dependent Care FSA to my Health Care FSA, or vice versa?
No. The Health Care FSA and the Dependent Care FSA are two separate plans. IRS regulations do not allow you to transfer money between these two accounts.
If you are unsure of how much to save, be conservative.
When can I get a reimbursement from my FSA?
You may file a claim for reimbursement as soon as you have "incurred" a qualified expense. Out-of-pocket expenses under any of the medical plans, the Caremark Prescription benefit, and the NYU Dental Plan administered by MetLife will be automatically submitted to your FSA for reimbursement.
Remember that according to IRS guidelines, a qualified expense is "incurred" at the time the service is provided, not when you are billed or when you actually pay for the service. This is important to note when filing claims at the end of a calendar year.
- For Health Care FSA Expenses: When you submit an FSA claim for health care expenses, you will be reimbursed for your claim, up to the full amount of your annual election, regardless of the amount of money that has been deposited into your account.
- For Dependent FSA Expenses: You can reimburse yourself on a monthly basis for dependent care expenses incurred during the calendar year, up to the amount available in your account. If you submit a claim for more than the balance in your FSA, you will only be reimbursed for the amount of money available in your account at that time. The remainder of your claim will be held for reimbursement once future contributions are deposited into your account.
What are the filing deadlines for the FSA accounts?
The deadline for submitting claims for your prior year's FSA expenses to WageWorks is March 31.
How can I file a claim for reimbursement from my FSA?
For health care FSA: WageWorks will issue a debit card that you may use at the point of service for eligible expenses. If you activate your debit card you will be able to use it at any provider when you have services that result in you paying out of pocket (i.e., a copayment at the doctor or pharmacy). The amount you charge using the debit card will automatically reduce from the annual election amount.
The debit card should not be used in the case where you do not know your exact out of pocket costs (i.e., using an out of network doctor). In that type of situation, you should pay out of pocket as required. When the claim is processed by your carrier, you will receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) that will clearly show what your out of pocket cost is. You may then submit that EOB statement along with a claim form to Wageworks. Wageworks will then reimburse you via check and the amount will be deducted from the annual election amount.
If you choose not to activate your debit card when received, your out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed via an auto rollover feature in two possible ways:
-- All medical carriers, Caremark and Metlife Dental send reports to Wageworks on a routine basis that will list all out of pocket expenses you incurred. Wageworks will reimburse you via check and deduct the amount from your annual election.
-- You may file a Wageworks Pay-Me-Back Claim form along with documentation of your expense and you will receive reimbursement via check and the amount will be deducted from your annual election.
You must choose to use the auto rollover feature or the debit card, you cannot have both systems active.
For dependent care FSA: You must first pay the facility or caregiver, and then complete a Spending Account Claim Form and send it to Wageworks. You will need to include a canceled check, a receipt or an itemized bill.
What is a "Pended Claim"?
At times, a medical or dental claim might not be processed. The claim could be "pended" for additional information, either from you or from the provider of services. If a claim is pended, it won't roll over to your FSA until it is fully processed and the amount of the charges that you are responsible for is determined.
It is very important to review your FSA account periodically to determine whether all of your medical, dental, and prescription drug claims have been processed. If any of your claims are pended, you need to be sure to take any additional steps required to properly resolve your claim.