Congressman looking for answers to transit benefits for feds

A Capital Beltway lawmaker is joining the chorus of federal employees calling for their retroactive transit benefits.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), recently contacted the General Services Administration on behalf of one of their employees looking for more than $1,000 in back transit pay.

“Our office also would like to learn the status of GSA’s efforts to provide retroactive pay for transit subsidies for any other employees who qualify for it,” Beyer’s letter said.

GSA Associate Administrator Lisa Austin responded to Beyer’s office in a June 6 letter, stating that the agency was reviewing the benefits.

“The agency expects to render a decision in the near future and will notify its employees,” Austin said.

A GSA spokeswoman told Federal News Radio in an email that GSA’s general counsel was reviewing the claim and could not be more specific on a timeline.

The GSA employee said he could get up to $1,200 in retroactive pay because he uses Metro.

‘For those of us who opted to use Metro instead of driving cars, we were penalized during the period when the subsidy rate was lowered, cut in half in my case,” he said. “This sends a signal to the best employees that it doesn’t really matter how well you perform.”

The increase for the monthly transit benefit was included in the 2016 omnibus spending bill.

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The parity is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015 at $250 a month.

In an emailed statement to Federal News Radio earlier this year, National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said that whether or not employees will get this increase depends on their collective bargaining agreements.

“Prospectively, this should be applicable to all federal agencies unless they have some contract language that limits the transit benefit they are eligible to receive,” Reardon said. “Whether or not employees are entitled to retroactive benefits for 2015 under the legislation also depends specifically on the language in their contract, which differs by agency.”

An exclusive Federal News Radio survey found that agencies somewhat varied in what and when they told employees about the benefits.

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