7 things you have to know about travel allied health reimbursements

Travel allied health reimbursements: per diems, allowances, tax advantage, stipends. As they say in Thailand tourist circles: “same, same but different!” They are all reimbursements. Travel allied health reimbursements are typically tax-free ways to get money to us. We love ’em! Companies may call the tax-free pot of money different words, but functionally it’s the same. It’s the part of our paycheck that is not taxed when we work as allied health travelers

The 7 must-knows of travel allied health reimbursements:

  1. Per Diem refers to meals, incidentals, and housing only. You wouldn’t receive a per diem for scrubs or for one-time travel reimbursement. Companies usually pay per diems per shift, per day, or per week. These are not given to us per hour or in a lump sum.
  2. GSA.gov: Companies decide how much to pay us per shift or week for our per diems based on this. This website is created by the government to show a MAX amount we are allowed to get reimbursed for food and housing in each zip code.
  3. MAX amount meaning many times we will not receive this much. Recruiters can only offer us what the bill rate can afford to give us. If the hospital is offering a really high bill rate to have us work for them, we might get the max amount. If the hospital is offering a low or even average bill rate, we won’t get the max amount.
  4. Travel allied health reimbursements can cover your per diems (food and housing) as well as scrubs, continued education, travel, and hotel costs, and more. Anything that is directly a cost for your new assignment can be reimbursed tax-free. It does not mean companies choose to pay for every cost but they hypothetically could.
  5. With the new tax law, you can not deduct your own work expenses on your taxes at the end of the year anymore. You can only get tax-free reimbursements if your company offers it.
  6. You have to negotiate all travel allied health reimbursements upfront on each new contract. Don’t assume a company will cover your scrubs or CEU’s unless you worked it into your pay package and benefits at the start. They have to move money around to make that work. Not all companies even offer the benefit of negotiating these things. It’s a lot of extra work for them to custom make so many pay packages!
  7. Travel allied health reimbursements (no matter what they are called) all come from the same place. The bill rate. Learn how to read pay packages so you don’t get wooed by silly marketing. Nothing is free!

Travel allied health reimbursements are not considered income

  • When applying for a house, car, loan, social security, short term disability, etc: the lender looks at the taxable wages we receive to consider us eligible for approval. Legally that is what our pay and income are. Reimbursements don’t count.
  • We are eligible to get this tax-free part of our paycheck only when we have a tax home. Make sure you know how to set this up correctly, so you don’t owe back taxes and penalties in case of an audit.
  • You CAN be an allied health traveler without receiving any tax-free reimbursements. If you are a traveler with no tax home, you can enjoy the freedom of the lifestyle but your whole paycheck will be taxed.

To sum it up y’all, it’s awesome that we get tax-free benefits to travel for our jobs! I don’t care what name you want to call them, I love that they are a thing!

There are a few rules we have to play by to get this money but it’s a HUGE perk of being an allied health traveler.

Cheers to tax-free money,

xo Laura

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Additional Reimbursements

Did your offer come with something extra that would cost the staffing agency money? This may include a CEU class, scrubs, or sign on bonuses. Don’t worry if this section is blank, most offers don’t have extra reimbursements.

Travel Reimbursements

This is tax-free money that is paid to you to help you pay for the expense of traveling to your assignment. Many staffing agencies pay for this per mile up to a certain amount. They will usually pay this on your first paycheck or split between your first paycheck and last. If you are traveling a short distance this could be a very small amount.

Also, it’s becoming more popular for an agency to not offer this at all. It’s really not a big deal though. If you don’t get travel reimbursement money you should make a bit more in your weekly pay so many times it all equals out.

Weekly Housing Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code.

The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Meal Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code. The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Insurance Costs

Medical insurance can impact your final paycheck a lot since it will deduct pay from your check each week. If you are taking the company health insurance, you are going to want to know up front about how much this will cost you per week.

The average is around $30 a week but some companies charge as much as $100 a week to their travelers and some offer some health insurance options for free. If you are not taking their insurance just set this to zero.

Hours per week

For this calculation, put the hours per week you are expecting to work. And then feel free to run it again with the hours you are guaranteed. Many times contracts have guaranteed hours that are lower than the expected hours.

Guaranteed hours means if the facility doesn’t need you to come in, you will still get paid as long as it was their choice and not yours to not work.

Also, find out if this contract has any “call off shifts” where the hospital can call you off without pay a certain number of times per contract. This is common and not a deal breaker but just good to know!

Length of assignment

In travel nurses and allied health the most common length of a travel assignment is 13 weeks. If you are looking for a contract shorter or longer just ask! Sometimes facilities or hospitals who hire you will be flexible.

Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
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