(more elaboration below)
Both our employers have an employer benefit were we can direct part of our pay, up to $260/month towards purchasing subway transit passes. Any combination of types of cards, such as single ride, monthly unlimited, etc are allowed. One is self administered, the other uses Wage Works.
I believe the relevant part of the law is here (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.132-9):
Those who claim spouses can get passes cannot provide supporting documentation which supports this claim. "It's just true".Q-5. May qualified transportation fringes be provided to individuals who are not employees?
A-5. An employer may provide qualified transportation fringes only to individuals who are currently employees of the employer at the time the qualified transportation fringe is provided.
A secondary question is can a transit pass, once provided, be used for non-commuting expenses. E.g. can my wife use her subway card to visit a friend on Saturday?
There is one justification I can find in the law where buying a pass for a spouse to use might apply, if I were interpreting the law quite liberally.
1) The law provides for an employee to buy "a transit pass" up to the dollar limit. (But can more than one "pass" be purchased?)
2) The law does not specify how such pass is to be used. (So I give it to my spouse)
But I'm not sure I would want to use that argument "in court" so to speak.
Can anyone help me figure out if I'm being an idiot by not purchasing a transit pass? Or is HR giving incorrect information? This would not be new, because the main benefits representative for a 15,000 employee firm was telling folks during orientation that our in-network only EPO health insurance covered out of network services "as long as you have a referral". I had to quickly correct that! yikes. But I do not want to (again) engage HR on the transit pass issue without backup. Because I'm not 100% sure I'm right.