Navigating pay packages and benefits on top of everything else that must be considered in finding a travel nursing assignment can be overwhelming, so how do you know what to expect regarding your housing stipend? This article will explain the different housing options for people on a traveling nursing assignment. It will also cover important components of travel nursing pay like travel reimbursement and housing stipends.
What Are the Different Types of Housing Options For a Traveling Nurse?
There are two common forms of travel nurse housing:
- Agency provided housing
- Tax free housing stipend
In agency provided housing, your staffing agency will organize your housing for you. This option is easy for those that don’t want to find their own lodging. The only problem with this option is that you don’t have too much of a say on where you’ll be living for several months.
On the other hand, a housing stipend is where the traveling nurse receives a payment that’s meant to cover the cost of their temporary housing. In this case, you will have to find lodging on your own. However, most travel nurses choose this option since it allows them to experience enhanced flexibility in nursing careers.
So, which travel nursing housing option is better? That’s really up to you. Everyone is different when it comes to their preferences. Would you rather have one less thing to worry about or do you prefer to create yourself a home while on your travel nursing job? If you’re having a hard time deciding, talk with one of recruiters for more information.
A Little Bit About Housing Stipends For Travel Nurses
As a travel nurse, you can receive three types of tax-free housing stipends in your job contract: a meals and incidentals stipend meant to cover meals and other miscellaneous costs you may encounter, a housing stipend to pay for housing options, and, in some cases, arrival reimbursements to help cover the cost of travel expenses from your house to one of the facilities. A great way to minimize your arrival costs is to apply for a travel nursing extension at your current facility.
A travel nurse housing stipend is an amount of money that’s intended to reimburse the cost of rent while on a nursing assignment. The GSA, or Government Services Administration, oversees these pay rates for all counties in the United States. These reimbursements that are given by your travel nursing agency are determined as a per day/per diem rate, which can fluctuate strongly between counties and seasons.
What Do You Need To Do To Receive A Travel Nurse Housing Stipend?
You first need to identify your tax home, where the business or workplace is located, and where your current assignment is. If you have a different tax home and travel nurse assignment, these are the requirements you will have to meet:1,2
- 25% of your income should be earned from your tax home
- You have a permanent residence
- You are traveling away from your tax home to work
- You spending money on lodging
Why Do Some Areas Pay So Much More?
Throughout the history of traveling nursing, the cost of living has continued to increase. Certain areas of the country pay more in travel nurse housing stipends because of the elevated cost of living in short term housing or rentals.
For example, the cost to live in bigger cities like San Francisco or Seattle is likely more than the living expenses in a smaller town in the Midwest, so the GSA stipend limit is typically higher in those areas. So, if you ever decide on renting or buying a house as a travel nurse, be sure to get fully acquainted with the area’s average cost of living.
The time of year is also a factor in the way that the GSA calculates the limits on stipends. A perfect example is the state of Florida during winter when the population increases because many snowbirds migrate to the area. The GSA limits spike for a few months out of the year to accommodate the increase in the cost of living and scarcity in available housing options.
Travel nursing opportunities and nontaxable stipends are typically a win-win situation regardless of where you choose an assignment. Travel nurses typical salary range is 25%-50% more than staff nurses’ take-home income!
Have you ever considered travel nursing as a couple? Traveling with your partner is an additional way to enhance your experience, and cut costs. By living in pairs, you can split the rent of your short-term lease and have a larger variety of housing options to choose from.
Want more information on stipends and pay packages for your travel nursing assignment? Please reach out to an expert Senior Recruiter at Host Healthcare with any questions about nursing jobs. Our staff at our travel nurse agency will make sure you completely understand the travel nursing career benefits, pay packages, and how tax free housing are calculated!
Ready to take your nursing career to the next level? Doing a travel assignment at different healthcare facilities across the United States offers several benefits, such as higher pay, the opportunity to travel, and further your experience in a new nursing job. If you’re ready to start your career as a healthcare traveler, contact a recruiter from Host Healthcare today.
- “Publication 463 (2021), Travel, Gift, and Car Expenses.” IRS. https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463#en_US_2016_publink100033754