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DON Program Policy and Guidelines

Program FAQs
What is TIP?
How Does TIP Work?
How Much is the Benefit Amount?
Who qualifies?

What is TIP?

The Department of Defense Instruction 1000.27 established a mass transit benefit program. In accordance with this instruction, the Department of the Navy (DON) implemented TIP for DON employees to help reduce their daily contribution to traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as expand their commuting alternatives.

TIP Administration is divided into two Regions:

  • National Capital Region (NCR): Includes 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
  • Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR): Includes all DON facilities and installations and all DON employees located in 50 states (exclusive of the area included in the definition of the NCR) as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Important Note: Guidance and policies included on this website pertains specifically to the ONCR portion of the program only.

Any potential applicants located in the NCR should refer to the National Capital Region Mass Transit Benefit Program for further information.

How Does TIP Work?

Transportation Incentive Program (TIP) Outside the National Capital Region (ONCR) provides transit benefits for eligible DON civilians and military members outside the national capital region to use mass transit to commute to and from work. Field Support Activity (FSA) serves as the DON TIP Program Manager and provides administrative support to Installations/Commands. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the service provider for DON TIP ONCR; the primary method for disbursement is through the TRANServe Card

Participants must accurately claim an amount that reflects their actual commuting cost-failure to do so will result in fraudulent certification on the application and is subject to criminal prosecution. This program is a benefit, not an entitlement, so there is no retroactive reimbursement for the program back to its inception.

Mass transit methods recognized as qualified means of transportation (QMOT) include:

  • Commuter Bus
  • Commuter Train
  • Subway/Light Rail
  • Vanpool
  • Ferry (foot passengers only)
    • Ferries are not approved as a means of shuttling Personally Owned Vehicles (POVs) from one point to another where the completion of the journey to an individual's duty station is completed in the POV

The following mass transit methods are not recognized as QMOT and are not eligible for TIP:

  • Carpools
  • POVs
  • Motorcyles
  • Bicycles
  • Airplanes
  • Walkers/pedestrians

TRANServe debit cards are loaded on the 10th of the month to enable participants to pay for their qualified mass transit method for the coming month (e.g., October benefits would be loaded on 10 September). Transit benefits are available until midnight on the 9th of the current commuting month (e.g., October benefits would be available until 9 October). Any transit benefits not used by midnight on the 9th of the commuting month are removed from the card and are forfeited.

How much is the Benefit Amount?

Effective January 1, 2022, DON members are eligible for transit benefits up to $280.00 per month (parking fees excluded) for specific, pre-approved commuter mass transit transportation costs not to exceed actual expenses.

Who Qualifies?

The following personnel are eligible to apply for TIP:

  • All Navy military members and federal DON civilian employees, including Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) employees
  • Part-time federal employees and interns

The following personnel are ineligible to apply for TIP:

  • Reservists who are on weekend drilling/training (are considered to be on inactive duty)
  • Contractors, U.S. Coast Guard employees, retirees, and/or military dependents
  • ROTC students (unless enlisted in a military branch and considered "Active Duty", then they are eligible to apply)
  • Overseas members/employees outside the ONCR coverage areas

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