FAQs About Commuter Benefits

Commuter benefits allow employees to allocate pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible work-related transit and parking expenses. By using commuter benefits, employees can save up to 40% on these expenses.

There is no cost to the employee to maintain a commuter benefits account other than the amount they have chosen to contribute. The IRS-mandated limit for pre-tax contributions to commuter benefits can be viewed here. For company fees, please see this page.

All employees hired and onboarded in Zenefits can enroll in their company's commuter benefits plan once it has been set up.

  • Part-time and full-time  employees can enroll in commuter benefits through the Commuter Benefits app on their dashboard.
  • Please contact Zenefits Customer Care to enroll contingent workers in commuter benefits.

You can change your monthly contribution at any time in your Commuter Benefits app.

If you change your monthly commuter benefits contributions by the 25th of each month, you'll see the new amount added to your balance on the 1st of the next month. For example, if you make your change on June 14th, the change will go into effect on July 1st.

If you make the change after the 25th, you'll see the new amount added on the 1st of the month after next. For example, if you make your change on June 26th, the change will go into effect on August 1st.

If you're an employer who is changing the entire company's contributions, the deadline is the 15th of the month.

Commuter benefits are an employment benefit provided by your employer for travel between your home and place of employment. When your employment with your current employer ends, you'll lose access to your current commuter benefits account and any remaining funds on the official date of your termination. Any unused commuter benefits funds will be returned to the company's bank account.

Per IRS regulations, your employer can't refund your unused commuter benefits funds back to you. However, you can submit claims for eligible expenses incurred during employment for up to 90 days.

  • Expenses cannot be older than the claim year.
  • Expenses incurred after your employment ends are not eligible for reimbursement.

For more information on the regulations, please see Section 1 .132-9(b) Q&A 14( d ) of this IRS document that states:

Compensation reduction amounts not refundable. Unless an election is revoked in a manner consistent with paragraph (c) of this Q / A –14, an employee may not subsequently receive the compensation (in cash or any form other than by payment of a qualified transportation fringe under the employer’s plan).

Thus, an employer’s qualified transportation fringe benefit plan may not provide that an employee who ceases to participate in the employer’s qualified transportation fringe benefit plan (such as in the case of termination of employment) is entitled to receive a refund of the amount by which the employee’s compensation reductions exceed the actual qualified transportation fringes provided to the employee by the employer."

Terminated workers may continue to submit claims in the dashboard in the Commuter Benefits app up to 90 days after their termination date.

Though it's possible to use your Zenefits Card to autoload a Clipper card for BART, Zenefits doesn't recommend it. Due to the way the CIipper system operates, your funds may be placed on a temporary hold for up to 7-10 days. A better option is use a personal debit card, and submit claims each time the card is used by the Clipper system to replenish funds on your Clipper card.

Administrators can view changes made to employee commuter benefits contributions by selecting the Commuter Benefits application on the administrator dashboard. From there, select Contribution Changes from the top menu.

No, you can simply leave your Commuter Benefits app alone. If you ever change your mind, you can enroll at any time.

Commuter benefits funds do not expire unless you leave your company. These funds will continue to rollover month to month, year to year, as long as you're still at the same company. However, when you leave the company, any unused funds in your account will be returned to the company.

Employees can change their monthly commuter benefits contributions at any time by following these steps:

  1. Click on the Commuter Benefits app on your dashboard.
  2. Click on the Change Contribution button near the top of the page.
  3. Enter how much you’d like to contribute toward your monthly Transit and Parking funds. If your employer contributes to your commuter benefits, you can allocate the contribution between transit and parking.
  4. Click Save Changes.

If you make your changes before the 25th of the month, your new contribution amounts will be available on your Zenefits Card on the 1st of the following month. Learn more.

If a worker no longer wishes to participate in commuter benefits, they can change their contributions to $0 to prevent further deductions. Make sure to do this before the 25th of the month in order for the changes to take effect for the following month.

Additionally, if your company wishes to no longer participate in commuter benefits, an administrator may change the company's contribution rate to zero. This will prevent any further deductions towards workers'  commuter benefits.

If you would like to cancel the account completely, please keep in mind you will forfeit any unused funds in the account when you cancel. You'll need to decide on the date you would like your account deactivated. You can use your funds up to this date, but you won't be able to file claims after the date. 

Please note: Unused Commuter Benefits funds remain with the company after a plan is cancelled. See how Commuter Benefits funding works here.

After you have used up your funds, please contact Zenefits Customer Care and provide your desired cancellation date.

The amount you contribute each month to your commuter benefits is pre-loaded onto your Zenefits Card on the first of every month. For example, if your commuter benefits start on January 1st, your Zenefits Card will be loaded with your full monthly contribution amount on January 1st.

However, you can only spend your commuter benefits funds on expenses that you have on or after the plan's start date. If your plan has started, but you haven't received your card, you can submit claims.

If you change your contribution amount before the 25th of the month, the new amount will be added to your current balance on the 1st of the following month. If you make the change after the 25th, the new amount will be added to your current balance on the 1st of the month after next.

If you are listed as Full-Time or Part-Time in Zenefits, you can enroll in commuter benefits at any time. The only regulation is that you must enroll into the plan by the 25th of the month for your plan to be effective the first of the very next month. 

Employers must set up the plan on the 15th of the month to be effective the first of the next month, and employees would then have a minimum of ten days to enroll in the plan. If the employee misses the initial enrollment they will still be able to enroll the following month. Employees may enroll or cancel the plan whenever they would like.

It is not possible to transfer the balance from a transit benefit allowance to the parking benefit, or vice versa. Once the funds are posted to the appropriate commuter account, they're there to stay. However, contributions can be changed at any time.

There are 3 common reasons why your Commuter Benefits purchase (either with your Zenefits Card, or by submitting a claim) was denied:

  • The expense isn't eligible. Learn more about eligible Commuter Benefits expenses
  • Your plan hasn't started yet. You won't be able to use funds before the start date. 
  • Your balance is insufficient to cover the expense. Remember, your Commuter Benefits contributions are added to your account only after they are deducted from your paycheck. 
You can check your available funds and your plans start date in your Commuter Benefits app. Simply click the app on your dashboard, then look under Benefits Summary to view your available funds and start date. 

To determine why your claim was denied, open the app and click Claims. Hover over the question mark next to the Declined status.

A runout period is the amount of time after a company cancels its plan that an employee is able to submit claims for expenses incurred while the plan was active. 

Runout periods can be 0, 30, 60 or 90 days long and the company administrator decides how long the runout period will be. 

For example, if the plan is canceled on 6 /30 and the administrator has selected a 30-day runout period. Employees can submit claims incurred up to 6 /30 until 7 /30.

Once the plan is cancelled, you'll no longer have access to the Commuter Benefits application on your Zenefits dashboard. Instead, you'll be required to complete the attached form in full and submit it to claims@zenefits.com.

Zenefits does not support the transfer of a company’s existing commuter benefits balances over to our platform from another vendor. We also do not support the transfer of balances from Zenefits to a new vendor.

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