Frequently Asked Questions
The Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR)
benefit is a Department of Defense (DOD)program whereby DOD provides transit passes
and/or vouchers (fare media) to help reduce their daily contribution to traffic
congestion and air pollution, as well as expand their commuting alternatives.
- The TIP benefit is a personnel benefit (Object class 12.1 and 12.2) and must be provided to any qualified military member/civilian employee.
DOD Instruction 1000.27 authorizes and requires the Department of the Navy (DON) to offer a mass transit benefit program to reduce pollution and traffic congestion, preserve the environment, and expand transportation alternatives both inside the National Capital Region and Outside the National Capital Region.
The TIP is divided into two main regions, (1) National Capital Region
(NCR) and (2) Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR).
You should enroll in the region where your command/installation is physically located.
- The NCR is defined as the District of Columbia; Montgomery, Prince George's, and Frederick Counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties in Virginia; and all cities now or hereafter existing in Maryland or Virginia within the geographic area bounded by the outer boundaries of the combined area of said counties.
- ONCR is defined as the 50 states (exclusive of the area included in the definition of the NCR above), the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- FMO is the Program Manager (PM) for Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR) participants only.
- The following address links you to the DOD National Capital Region (NCR) transit benefit web site:
- All Department of the Navy (DON) (Navy and Marine Corps) military members and federal DON civilian employees, including Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) employees, are eligible for the TIP benefit. Part-time federal employees and interns also qualify for this benefit.
- Reservists on active duty for more than 30 days are entitled to the same benefits, and are to apply for this benefit in the same manner as is applicable to members/employees in the same geographic area.
- Contractors, retirees, and/or military dependents are not eligible for this benefit.
- ROTC students are not eligible for this benefit unless enlisted in a military branch and considered “Active Duty.”
- This benefit does not extend to Installations/Commands or individual service members stationed overseas, excluding those areas mentioned in the ONCR definition (refer to FAQ 3).
- Due to the diversity in currency, transit systems, and fare media, it is unlikely the program will be expanded to overseas
territories as they are not under the jurisdiction of USDOT. However, public laws such as Executive Order 13150 can be amended
by Supreme Court orders or by the passing of new legislation. Listed below are links to the U.S. House and Senate directories
should you choose to contact your representative(s) to voice your concern.
- The following recognized mass transportation systems qualify for this benefit:
- Commuter Bus
- Commuter Train
- Subway/Light Rail
- Ferry (walk-on, bicycle, and vanpool passengers only)
Please Note: Carpools, motorcycles, airplanes, bicyclists, and/or walkers, solely utilizing any of these methods of transportation, do not qualify for this benefit.
- The TIP does not give money incentives to individuals whom: telecommute, use available H.O.V. lanes, or use automatic toll collection passes such as EZ Pass or Speed Pass.
- Qualified personnel may receive up to $125 per month in fare media, or cash reimbursement to subsidize their local commute from residence to permanent duty station.
- The transit subsidy is a non-taxable benefit.
- All applicants must claim an amount for reimbursement that is as close to the actual monthly cost of their mass transportation expenses as possible. If this amount exceeds the maximum benefit, the participant will receive the maximum reimbursable amount.
- Installation/Command Points of Contact (POCs) are required to send applications to FMO by the monthly deadline. This deadline varies month/month but is typically around the 23rd or 24th of the month. This deadline is set at least one month in advance and can be found on our website or by asking your Installation/Command POC. Applicants should check with their Installation/Command POC regarding any local deadlines to ensure that all applications are delivered to FMO on time. Applications received prior to each deadline will be processed for that monthly enrollment period and approved applicants will start receiving vouchers/fare media at the end of the month following the deadline.
- For example, a person that submits an application turned in before the deadline in January, will receive their vouchers during the last week of February and can begin using them in March. Please see the diagram below.
- No. The TIP is a benefit, not an entitlement, thus there is no retroactive reimbursement for the program.
- Your Installation/Command has the option to request participants relinquish their parking passes upon enrollment into the TIP program. This decision will be determined locally, and the measure by which the Installation/Command enforces their guidelines should be determined internally.
- Vanpools participating in the TIP must adhere to the guidelines stated in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 26 Section 132(f).
- The vehicle used must be a highway vehicle with the capacity of at least six (6) adults, in addition to the driver—7 total (6 adult passengers + 1 driver).
- At least 80 percent of the expected mileage use of which can reasonably be expected to be:
- for purposes of transporting employees in connection with travel between their residences and their place of employment, and
- on trips during which the number of employees transported for such purposes is at least 1/2 (3) of the adult seating capacity of such vehicle (not including the driver).
- The vehicle may be owned and operated either by public transit authorities (commercial) or by a private vendor in the business of transporting persons for compensation or hire.
- A vanpool operated by public transit authorities must be registered with the local transit authority and be eligible to receive vouchers compatible to that local system.
- Vanpool owners who are drivers or passengers of a vanpool are not eligible to receive the TIP benefit. Federal employee vanpool drivers receiving compensation for driving the vanpool are not eligible to receive the TIP benefit—this includes drivers who are riding for free.
- For more information on IRS requirements for vanpool, please review IRC Section 132(f)(5)(A)(ii): 1E_Title_26-United_States_Code_Federal_Regulations-Internal_Revenue_Code_Section_132(f).doc (DOC, 34 KB)
- No. Reimbursement under the TIP is only for “actual commuting cost” up to the maximum reimbursable amount per month. Vanpool riders must pay out of pocket to hold their spot in a vanpool or make the necessary arrangements with participating members to cover the cost during their absence.
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) will coordinate the distribution of
fare media (vouchers/passes) efforts for the TIP in either one of the two following methods:
- On-site Distribution: DOT will send agents to distribute
fare media (vouchers/passes) to some installations/commands based on the number of
participants they have enrolled in the program, cost effectiveness
to the government, and convenience to the local POC(s). DON, along with DOT,
will determine which installations will partake in on-site distribution.
- DOT will provide on site distribution for all authorized areas on a
quarterly basis. DOT distributes for the upcoming quarter two (2) months prior to
that quarter. For example, DOT will distribute fare media for 2nd
QTR of the Calendar Year (Apr/May/Jun) during the month of February, and so on.
- DOT will provide on site distribution for all authorized areas on a quarterly basis. DOT distributes for the upcoming quarter two (2) months prior to that quarter. For example, DOT will distribute fare media for 2nd QTR of the Calendar Year (Apr/May/Jun) during the month of February, and so on.
- The DOT Account Manager will contact the local POC(s) prior to on-site distribution with a designated schedule of when and where the distribution will take place. The POC(s) will then notify participants regarding the time and place of the distribution.
- On-site Distribution: DOT will send agents to distribute fare media (vouchers/passes) to some installations/commands based on the number of participants they have enrolled in the program, cost effectiveness to the government, and convenience to the local POC(s). DON, along with DOT, will determine which installations will partake in on-site distribution. - DOT will provide on site distribution for all authorized areas on a quarterly basis. DOT distributes for the upcoming quarter two (2) months prior to that quarter. For example, DOT will distribute fare media for 2nd QTR of the Calendar Year (Apr/May/Jun) during the month of February, and so on.
Overnight Mailing of Vouchers: DOT will implement the Overnight Mail Distribution Process for command/installations that do not have on site
distribution. Installation/Command POCs will receive overnight mailing of transportation vouchers/passes from DOT no later than three (3)
working/business days prior to the end of the month—before the quarterly/monthly disbursement—to allow the POC time for distribution to
- The Installation/Command POC will make all necessary arrangements to inform participants where and when to obtain vouchers.
- The following applies for enrolling applicants located in areas that receive distribution via overnight mail:
- If the participant enrolls by the deadline in the second month of a quarter (Feb), they will receive fare media for the entire upcoming quarter (Apr/May/Jun) via overnight mail.
- If the participant enrolls by the deadline in the third month of a quarter (Mar), they will receive fare media for second and third month of the following quarter (May/Jun) via overnight mail.
- If the participant enrolls in the first month of a quarter (Apr), they will receive fare media for only the third month (Jun) of that same quarter via overnight mail.
- Once participants catch up to the quarterly distribution schedule, they will receive three months worth of fare media at each regularly scheduled quarterly distribution.
- Vouchers and/or fare media that is lost, damaged, or stolen will not be replaced. Once the participant signs for the fare media, he/she assumes full responsibility for them. To get a full credit, vouchers must be returned in the same condition.
- Participants withdrawing from the TIP should notify their Installation/Command Point of Contact (POC). Any unused vouchers or fare media must be returned to the POC. If fare media has been deposited for future periods and cannot be returned to the POC, the participant is required to reimburse the DON for those vouchers via a US money order to the Department of Treasury and submitted to your local POC.
- TIP participants needing to make a change to their original application must fill out another TIP application, indicating “Making a Change,” and submit it to their point of contact (POC). POCs must fax changes directly to DOT to update a participant’s record. This process allows for a quicker turnaround by DOT to note the change in the program database and make any adjustments. - Fax number for DOT account manager: (202) 493-2436.
- You are required to submit an updated application when:
- The amount you are claiming changes
- Personal information changes
- Military status (Active/Reserve) changes
- Type of mass transportation system changes
- If a participant is changing commands, they must withdraw from the command they were previously stationed at and re-enroll with the POC at their new command.
- TIP ONCR participants on TAD/TDY for two (2) weeks or longer are not
eligible to claim the transit subsidy for the period of their TAD/TDY. This
policy also applies to civilian employees/military members who are assigned
no-cost orders. The reasons for this policy position are as follows:
- Personnel on TAD/TDY are eligible to seek reimbursement for any transport costs incurred for official transport to and from the place of work in the TAD/TDY location. Transport costs, which represent a business expense in this situation, are not paid out of Per Diem, but through reimbursement of actual transportation costs incurred, and as such are unrelated to the rate of Per Diem paid, or the length of TAD/TDY.
- Employees on TAD/TDY can claim reimbursement through their travel voucher for any transportation costs incurred during their period of TAD/TDY. This includes costs associated with transport to and from their hotel/accommodation and place of work, whether that transport is via taxi, public transport, or private vehicle (mileage allowance).
- Any participant who exceeds the two week TAD/TDY minimum is required to reimburse the DON by returning vouchers/passes for their time of absence. Reimbursement in the amount owed should be deducted from the upcoming month's/quarter's unused vouchers and returned to DOT. If the participant is using a monthly pass, the upcoming month's pass should be recalculated and reduced to reflect an adjusted amount.
- Reserve Affairs made a clear distinction between reservists on active duty, and those on inactive duty, in insisting that the DOD TIP policy only permits reservists on active duty to be eligible for the benefit. Reservists who are on weekend drilling/training are considered to be on inactive duty and are therefore not eligible to receive this benefit.
- DON military members/civilian employees stationed on a Joint Command can have, or the TIP Program Office can arrange to have, either an Army or Air Force POC. Such POCs will have agreed to perform the duties of a DON TIP ONCR POC even though they are employed by a different branch of service.
- If your are a DON Military Member working for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at a DLA or Joint Command installation located ONCR, you must enroll in the TIP ONCR, do not enroll in the DLA Transit Subsidy Program. Contact the FMO Program Office to locate or establish a POC for your DLA/Joint Command installation.
- You should begin by contacting the local POC for your installation/command. This person can be found by following the link below. The POC will be able to provide you with an application (applications are also available by following the link below) and is the person you are to turn your application into.
- There is a calendar month in between when you submit your application and when you will start receiving benefits. For example, a person that submits an application turned in before the deadline in January, will receive their vouchers during the last week of February and can begin using them in March. Please see the diagram in Question #8.