How Do Travel Nursing Stipends Work?

Travel Nurses stipends cover travel, housing and more.

Travel Nurses can receive tax-free money to help them pay for housing, transportation and other expenses. Stipends are one of the benefits of travel nursing, and stipends for some assignments can really sweeten the deal.

In this post, we’ll help you understand how Travel Nurse stipends work so that you can get the most out of traveling while playing by the rules.

Travel nursing stipends boost your income

You’ll notice that many times the pay for a travel nursing assignment is listed as a “blended rate.” That hourly rate includes the tax-free stipends that Travel Nurses can receive. Those stipends cover:

  • Housing at your assignment location
  • Travel to and from the assignment
  • Meals and incidental expenses

Keep in mind you must live 50 to 100 miles away from the location of an assignment to receive stipends. Let’s look at a few of the other limits.

Different states allow different stipend amounts

Every state has limits on the amount of tax-free money Travel Nurses can receive. When you’re deciding on an assignment, check that stipend limit for that area by visiting the GSA website.

Also, you can find assignments that may have a good hourly rate by checking on the highest-paying states for Nurses.

You’ll need records to validate your expenses

To collect a travel nursing stipend, you have to be able to prove the expenses that you’re getting a stipend for. Here are a few ways to keep track of your expenses:

  • Keep a mileage log to validate your travel distance
  • Keep records of your rent to validate your housing stipend
  • Keep a copy of your contracts to prove that you work on a temporary basis

You cannot work 365 days while receiving stipends

Stipends are restricted to Nurses who are not full-time employees. Spending an entire year at one assignment classifies you as a full-time employee. If you work more than 364 days on one assignment, you may be penalized for your stipends. That one extra day is a costly decision.

If you like your current assignment so much that you’d like to stay, we can help with that. Contact your Recruiter for more information.

You can receive less stipends to prove higher income

If you’re hoping to buy a house or make another big purchase, it might be in your best interest to avoid stipends. Accepting a higher hourly rate allows you to prove a higher income to lenders, giving you a better shot at the home you want.

Finding a tax pro is a good idea

As a Travel Nurse, your taxes are quite different than a Staff Nurse. Stipends play into that. The best way to understand your own tax situation is to talk to a professional. Some tax advisers specialize in taxes for people who travel for a living. You can also find some tips online at sites like