Showing posts from March, 2018

How Do Taxes Work as a Travel Social Worker?

Friends, we're right smack-dab in the middle of tax season... in fact, with less than a month left, I thought I'd answer a couple really basic tax questions (please bear in mind, I am not a tax expert and this is not legal advice). We'll start with pay (people are attracted to the pay)...  But the reason behind the pay or that non-taxed housing stipend you're getting is because you're duplicating expenses.  The IRS expects that you're actually duplicating expenses (maintaining a home base) and this is why you get a subsidy.  Please be mindful that you are actually duplicating expenses and have a home tax base and evidence (have I said "duplicating expenses" enough!?). Next, you've signed a contract for somewhere not your home base.  First, congrats!  Now starts paperwork, including (if you're new to a company) an I-9, which is the legal verification of your work status in this country.  Then you get to fill out a W-4.  You will fill this f

How Do I Become a Travel Social Worker?

Now that we have the "What is travel social work question" covered in a basic form, let's tackle the most frequent question I come across:  How do I become a travel social worker?  I'm going to take you back before I get to the answer. Over a decade ago, I was sitting in my friend's apartment in NYC on Christmas day.  We were playing Wii Fitness and he mentioned that his mom, a nurse, was back in town from Hawai'i, where she had been spending 9 months out of every year for the past five years working at a hospital as a Travel RN.  WHAT?  She does WHAT?  "Why doesn't this exist for me?" was my only thought.  Back then, it just didn't.  So I plugged along in the workforce, moving up the ladder.  The higher you go, the further away from direct practice you get. About three years ago, I found myself itching to get out of a director position, and with the summer off, I applied for what I thought was a temporary job in Chicago - where I was th

Which Agency Should I Choose?

I'm currently on assignment working three 12-hr shifts.  I feel like I've scored the social work lottery:  a three-day work week!  Because of this, I mostly rested and recouped yesterday...but I've been watching the poll I created in the facebook group . It seems that most members are interested in deciding which agency to choose, so we'll tackle that. I've traveled with two companies over the nearly three years.  They're very different in the assignments they offer and how they pay, so I can understand the confusion about who to choose.  If you're planning on getting in to travel, I think there are a few questions one has to ask when considering agencies. 1)  What is your background as a social worker? The relevance of this question, I think is the most important.  If you have only behavioral health experience as an outpatient, this will potentially limit with whom you can travel right out of the gate.  Most agencies offer as their bread and butter tr

What IS Travel Social Work?

First, I think we need to define Travel Social Work so we're all on the same page moving forward.  Travel nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, tech, allied health, etc., opportunities have been around as long as I can remember. Travel Social Work is a newer sector of the market and follows the same model as those other disciplines.  Hospitals, behavioral health facilities, home health agencies, and sometimes military facilities have a high demand for social workers and case managers and can't always fill and/or retain the employees they need. Cue us!  Travel Social Workers are hired in by staffing agencies to complete contracts in these facilities around the country for 13 weeks, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. This means, every 13 weeks or so, you get to pack it up and explore, all while earning an income doing what you love!  How exciting.  If you're anything like me, you have an insatiable wanderlust.  Working in traditional social work settings in