Frequently Asked Questions
The DoD NCR Mass Transportation Benefit Program
SmartBenefits® and Claims Module FAQ
SmartBenefits® is a program that lets employers assign the dollar value of employees' monthly commuting benefit directly to the employees' registered SmarTrip® cards. With SmartBenefits®, you eliminate the need to distribute paper vouchers to Metrorail, Metrobus, regional bus systems', and van pool commuters.
A SmarTrip® card is a permanent, rechargeable farecard. It's plastic, like a credit card, and is embedded with a special computer chip that keeps track of the value of the card.
Using a SmarTrip® card is fast and easy. Instead of inserting a farecard through the Metrorail faregate slot, you simply touch the SmarTrip® card to the circular targets on top of or inside station faregates. Likewise, you can tap the SmarTrip® farebox on Metrobus to pay your fare with SmarTrip®.
SmarTrip® cards can be used directly on the following modes of Transit.
Metro Train/Metro Bus
ART (Arlington Transit)
DASH (Alexandria Transit Company)
CUE Bus System
Loudoun Commuter Bus
Montgomery County Ride On
REX (Richmond Highway Express)
SmarTrip® cards cannot be used directly on the following modes of Transit.You must use a SmartBenefits® Allocation or CommuterDirect.com for service on the following Transit Authorities, further details below (question 8).
National Coach Works/ MARTZ
Other transit companies that partner with WMATA.
You will need to obtain and register a SmarTrip® Card.SmarTrip® cards can be purchased at Metro Stations with parking facilities, Commuter Stores, CVS stores, online, or at over 400 retail locations across the Nation Capitol Region (NCR). Please visit the following link for a full listing:http://www.wmata.com/fares/purchase/where.cfm#retail
If you already own a SmarTrip® card, you will need to register it correctly with WMATA in order for DoD MTBP to be able to make your transit benefit available on your card?See below.
Your Common Access Card (CAC) name is the exact spelling of your first and last name as it is imprinted digitally on your CAC card.
In most cases, this spelling matches the visible spelling on the outside of your CAC card. In rare cases the spelling on the outside of your CAC card may be shortened, or include a hyphenated name that is not on the digital imprint.
To verify the digital imprint of your CAC name, click the link:
Your CAC name is listed under
Name: Lastname, Firstname
Example: John Q Public
*If your first or last name is more than 15 Characters long, use the first 15 characters from your CAC name to register your SmarTrip card with WMATA. WMATA’s website has a limit of 15 characters to input a name.
To register your SmarTrip® card using your CAC name, visit
*If you already own a registered SmarTrip® Card, you can verify the WMATA registration matches your CAC name by emailing SmarTrip@wmata.com or by calling 1-888-SMARTRIP (1-888-762-7874)
After your SmarTrip card is registered with WMATA in your CAC name, return to https://mtbp.whs.mil/Participant/Status.aspx and click “Link SmarTrip® Card”
Follow the on screen instructions. *screenshot in question 4
Check back at the website in a few days to verify your SmartBenefits® Status changes from “Account not established ” to “Enrolled”
Yes.SmarTrip®cards linked to a SmartBenefits® account store funds in two “Purses”
Transit Benefit Purse
The transit benefit purse is loaded on the first of the month by funds made available by DoD.It will hold up to your certified monthly commuting cost (not to exceed $230). Funds from this purse are spent first when commuting and any unused funds do not roll over at the end of the month. Funds cannot be used for parking expenses (compliant with IRS regulations). Funds cannot be transferred to Personal Stored Value Purse.You may view the Balance at faregate, farebox or online with a SmarTrip® online account.
Personal Stored Value Purse
The personal stored value purse contains your personal funds for Parking or Transit and holds up to $300 maximum.Funds may be added at Metro Station kiosks.Funds on this purse do roll over month-to-month.You may view Balance at Farecards & Passes Machines, parking lot SmarTrip® targets, faregates (only after you have spent all Transit Benefit Purse funds for the month), or online with a SmarTrip® online account.
*Important note:You must have personal funds in the Personal Stored Value Purse in order to leave a metro parking facility.Even if you have $230 in your Transit Benefit Purse, you cannot pay for parking with Transit Benefit Funds!
You can check the balance of both Purses online by creating a WMATA SmarTrip® Online Account.https://smartrip.wmata.com/AccountCreate/AccountCreate.aspx
Starting November 2011, Metro will implement a new program called “autoload”. This will load your SmartBenefits® directly to you card the first time you tap a SmarTrip target. Metro fares will automatically draw from your SmartBenefits® purse (see question 6) first. Because of this, it is recommended that you own a second SmarTrip card for weekend, personal or local vacation use
Yes.SmarTrip® cards are personal property and can hold your personal funds.The DoD NCR MTBP office will have the ability to link a SmartBenefits® account to the Transit Benefit Purse on your properly registered (see FAQ #4) personal SmarTrip® card every month if you qualify for the program.Transit Benefit funds and personal funds are separated on your card.
Starting November 2011, Metro will implement a new program called “autoload”. This will load your SmartBenefits® directly to you card the first time you tap a SmarTrip target. Metro fares will automatically draw from your SmartBenefits® purse (see question 6) first. Because of this, it is recommended that you own a second SmarTrip card for weekend, personal or local vacation use.
Yes, the card is the mechanism that enables DoD NCR MTBP to establish your SmartBenefits® account.For these modes of transit you must use either CommuterDirect.com (VRE & MARC) or WMATA’s allocation system (vanpools, commuter busses and all other non-SmarTrip® enabled modes of transit, full listing in question 9) http://www.whs.mil/DFD/Info/allocate.cfm
After establishing an account with either CommuterDirect or WMATA, on the first of every month you qualify for the program, your monthly benefit will be transferred off of your SmarTrip® Transit Benefit purse and sent to your 3rd party provider for payment.Benefits cannot be delivered in any other way.You must have a registered SmarTrip® card in order to participate in the DoD NCR MTBP.
9. How do I use SmartBenefits® on a mode of transit that is not SmarTrip® enabled, i.e. vanpool, MARC, VRE, etc?
The mass transportation providers listed below do not have SmarTrip® card readers installed for direct use.After establishing a SmartBenefits® account, riders of VRE and MARC need to create an account on CommuterDirect.com . Riders of vanpools, MTA commuter busses and all others listed below will need to create a WMATA “Allocation” account to transfer the funds from your SmarTrip® card’s transit benefit purse to your transit provider electronically on the first of every month you qualify.http://www.whs.mil/DFD/Info/allocate.cfm
Marc – Visit CommuterDirect.com to link your registered SmarTrip® card to a CommuterDirect or Commuter Store account. Click on the “SmartBenefits” icon and follow the instructions to get set up.Passes will be mailed to you or you can pick them up at a Commuter Store.
VRE – Visit CommuterDirect.com to link your registered SmarTrip® card to a CommuterDirect or Commuter Store account. Click on the “SmartBenefits” icon and follow the instructions to get set up. Passes will be mailed to you or you can pick them up at a Commuter Store.
Vanpools – you will need to create a passenger allocation to your WMATA registered Vanpool #.Money is directed to you vanpool operator on the first of the next month.The Van will have a listing of customers who paid through allocation for the month.Instructions detailed at: http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
National Coach Works/ MARTZ- Create apassenger allocation to MARTZ. The conductor on the bus keeps a listing of customer accounts and sells passes directly to participants. Instructions detailed at: http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
Quicks Bus – Create a passenger allocation to Quicks Bus.The conductor on the bus keeps a listing of customer accounts and sells passes directly to participants. Instructions detailed at:http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
Metro Access – Passenger Allocation to EZpay. Instructions detailed at:http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
Dillon Bus – Create a passenger allocation to “MTA Commuter Bus”, purchase tickets and passes on MTA web store before the 25th.Passes will be mailed to you. Instructions detailed at:http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
Keller Bus - Create a passenger allocation to “MTA Commuter Bus”, purchase tickets and passes on MTA web store before the 25th.Passes will be mailed to you. Instructions detailed at:http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
EYRE Bus - Create a passenger allocation to “MTA Commuter Bus”, purchase tickets and passes on MTA web store before the 25th.Passes will be mailed to you. Instructions detailed at: http://www.wmata.com/business/employer_fare_program/vanpool_transit.cfm
No.Parking costs have never been allowed as part of the tax free DoD Mass Transportation Fringe Benefit.This rule is specifically detailed in the DoD policy on Mass Transportation Benefits (DoDI 1000.27) http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/100027p.pdf .
The Purse System on the SmarTrip® cards specifically blocks Transit Benefits from being used to pay for parking at Metro facilities.
*You must have personal funds in the Personal Stored Value Purse in order to pay for parking at metro facilities.Even if you have $230 in your Transit Benefit Purse, you can not pay for parking with Transit Benefit Funds!
11. What will the claims process be for SmartBenefits®?Do I still need to show my ID or sign for electronic benefit distribution?
Not in person.Participants will claim benefits using a new CAC-enabled Claims Module on the DoD NCR MTBP site ( https://mtbp.whs.mil ).Between the 1st – 15th of each month, participants will submit a claim for the following month.The Claims module verifies that you are still employed, eligible, and allow you the opportunity to evaluate how any planned leave or travel will affect your commuting cost in the upcoming month.Claims are not optional, and should take between 5- 10 minutes to complete.
Click here for an example of the Claims Process
FAILURE TO SUBMIT A MONTHLY CLAIM WILL RESULT IN A FORFEIT OF NEXT MONTH’S BENEFITS.
Failure to submit a monthly claim will not withdraw you from the Mass Transportation Benefit Program, but you will only receive benefits for the months for which you submit a claim in the month prior.To allow for processing time, Claims must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior.After this cut off, benefits are forfeited for the following month, and cannot be reinstated.
You will not be withdrawn from the DoD NCR MTBP for failing to submit a monthly claim.You will skip a month of benefits every time you fail to submit a monthly claim within the claim period.
Click here for an example of the Monthly Claims Process. http://www.whs.mil/DFD/PSD%20Services/ClaimInstructions.cfm
The monthly claim process is an important internal control that replaces the physical verification of employee’s DoD CAC/IDs to ensure continued eligibility, and it serves to collect participant attestation to the program rules.
Claims are made between the 1st–15th of the month prior, for the next month’s benefit.(cut off dates are driven by WMATA’s required deadlines)
Example:In order to receive Benefits for November 2011, you must visit the MTBP website and submit a claim between October 1-15.A Claim made between October1-15 will be for issuance of November benefits.
Claims are made by visiting the DoD NCR MTBP website from a CAC enabled computer.If you know that you are going to be away from your CAC enabled computer for the next months claim period, you can submit a claim for 2 months.
Participants will be required to make a claim each month to continue benefits.Three reminders will be sent during the claim period.
You will not receive next month’s Transit Benefits.Failure to submit a claim between the 1st and the 15th will result in forfeiting your benefits for the following month.The monthly claim process is an important internal control.No Claim means No Benefits.
During the claim period, you will receive 3 email reminders to submit your monthly claim.
If you know that you are going to be away from your CAC enabled computer due to during the claim period for next month, you can submit a claim for 2 months.
The funds on your card are not lost.After you purchase a replacement card, contact Metro SmarTrip® customer service at 1-888-SMARTRIP (1-888-762-7874) or email@example.com .To replace your old card information with the new.WMATA will make all remaining funds available on the new card.
You must submit the new card to the Mass Transportation Benefit Program applications website at https://mtbp.whs.mil in order to make next month’s benefit available.
*important note:If you use CommuterDirect for MARC/VRE or a WMATA allocation account for vanpools, MTA commuter busses, etc you will need to update your CommuterDirect or WMATA allocation account with the new card number as well.
Yes.There are some cases where DoD NCR employees do not have a CAC card issued or work at a facility that does not have CAC enabled computer on the DoD network.To receive a paper SmartBenefits® application, send a request to MTBPapplications@whs.mil .
These participants’ continued eligibility will be verified by the employee’s DoD component MTBP reviewing official.The DoD NCR MTBP office will provide each organization a monthly listing of non-CAC participants to certify as employed and eligible.Benefits will be made available on SmarTrip® cards until the component instructs the MTBP office otherwise.
*Important note: The paper application can not be used by employees waiting for their CAC to be issued. This process is strictly for DoD employees that will not be issued a CAC or work at a facility that does not have access to the DoD CAC enabled network.
Yes.You still recertify once a year.The annual recertification is approved by your supervisor and your organizational reviewing official.Monthly claims do not pass through the same management for approval.
Click here for an example of the monthly claims process. http://www.whs.mil/DFD/PSD%20Services/ClaimInstructions.cfm
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