Can a Travel Nurse Get Unemployment? [What You Should Know]

Yes! It’s possible for a travel nurse to become unemployed, but it is not easy because of the nature of the job. Travel nurses are often sent out by their employer on short notice because the nature of their work is temporary and requires travel.

Typically, when a contract comes to an end, the nurse’s agency will almost always have another contract ready for them, making it hard for them to declare unemployment, so they may not have the opportunity to apply for unemployment benefits before leaving the state or country.

So, like many travel health professionals, travel nurses are not able to declare unemployment because they have not been on the job long enough to qualify for government assistance. This is because many states require that you have worked at least 90 days in that state before you can file for unemployment.

To find out more and how to avoid underemployment or unemployment completely, read through to the end.

Can a Travel Nurse Get Unemployment?

Travel nurses often work for more than one company in different states, or countries, and do not have a fixed location like many other types of workers would. It’s possible for a travel nurse to become unemployed, but it is not easy.

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Travel nursing is a great way to earn money while traveling around the world, but it can be challenging to get unemployment if you’re laid off or decide to change your career path.

To receive unemployment benefits from the state of your employment, you must be laid off from an employer for reasons beyond your control. If you quit your job or were fired because of poor performance or disciplinary actions, you might not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you were laid off due to a natural event like an economic recession, then you may qualify for unemployment benefits.

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The Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs has provided some information on how they determine whether someone qualifies as unemployed when they are working abroad. These guidelines are also used in determining whether a traveler is eligible for unemployment benefits:

  • You must have been employed in the U.S. at least 90 days before leaving the country
  • You must have worked at least 1,500 hours during that time period (this includes all time spent working both within and outside the U.S.)
  • You must have worked at least half of your total expected working hours during that period

How Travel Nurse can Avoid Unemployment

Travel nursing can be a lucrative career choice, but it’s not without its challenges.

If you’re a travel nurse, you may have to deal with unemployment. Whether you’re looking for work or just trying to keep your current job, there are steps you can take to avoid or overcome unemployment.

Move around A lot

Since most states require you to have worked at least 90 days before you can file for unemployment. In order to work long enough within one state and still be able to collect unemployment benefits, travelers must often move around the country quite frequently—a difficult feat that most travelers do not have time or money for.

Work with More than One Travel Nursing Agencies

It is important that you work with not just only one travel nurse agency, but with two or more. The more travel nurse agencies you work with, the more healthcare facilities you will have access to work. Should in case you have a fallout with one or have any issues, it’d be easy to quickly get a job with another as soon as possible.

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Always Communicate your availability

Don’t wait until you are out of a job before you begin to communicate your availability for jobs. It is best to inform the agencies you’re working with ahead about your future assignment plans. You can as well extend your availability to other travel agencies that you haven’t worked with.

Is travel Nursing Considered Self-employed?

Yes, travel nursing can be considered self-employed. With travel nursing, you are essentially working as an independent contractor. This means that you are responsible for all taxes and other fees related to your employment.

It also means that if you want to take advantage of deductions or credits like health insurance, you will need to report those as income on your taxes.

Even though it may feel like self-employment, there are some significant differences between being an independent contractor and being employed by someone else:

  • You can’t be fired for lack of work
  • You can’t be fired for poor performance
  • You have more freedom in what kind of work you do (including working from home)

Do travel Nurses Receive Benefits?

Travel nurses are entitled to a number of benefits as other nursing staff. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Paid time off (vacation) and sick leave
  • Health insurance through the hospital where you’re working (if your employer doesn’t provide it)
  • Retirement plans for full-time staff members
  • Life insurance coverage for full-time staff members
  • Tips from the patients and other travel nurses who work there

As you can see, travel nurses are well compensated, and they’re often eligible for benefits. In addition to the standard benefits offered by employers in the US, many companies will offer additional perks that can make life easier for you as a traveler.

Can a Travel Nurse be fired?

Yes, it is possible to fire a travel nurse before the contract expiration. However, there are strict guidelines that must be followed when making this decision.

However, the approach to firing a travel nurse oftentimes is by being blacklisted. This process involves employers of travel nurses, employers of clients, and travel nursing associations.

Travel nurses who are blacklisted have an extremely difficult time finding work again and often become unemployable.

Also, if you’re working for a company with a bad reputation, it might not be surprising to find out that a travel nurse could be fired. However, this won’t always be the case. Several factors are considered when assessing whether or not to fire a travel nurse:

  • their experience and skill level;
  • history of disciplinary action in the past;
  • length of employment;
  • their ability to meet all obligations under the contract

Although many travel companies have policies that prohibit you from being fired without notice. But if you are performing poorly, then you might be fired by your company for a reason that is unrelated to the contract.

Do Travel Nurses Get Canceled?

Travel Nurse jobs and employees get canceled, just as much as any other job. There are several factors that warrant a travel nurse contract to be canceled.

In some instances, it could be that the healthcare facility finds out after a survey that they are overstaffed, or possibly it could be they mistakenly hire people with a skill set that does not fit the specific unit, among several other reasons.

Travel nurse’s job cancelation can either be done by the employer or the travel nurse canceling the job. If the latter is the case, the travel nurse is responsible for paying for the remainder of the contract if his/her recruiter or employer is unable to find a replacement.

What Can I Claim as a Travel Nurse?

Tax deduction for legitimate business expenses in excess of reimbursements or allowances is the common claim you can get as a travel nurse.

The reason has been as a travel nurse, you are hired as an independent contractor, and as such you are responsible for paying your taxes and all of your travel expenses as well.

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Expenses or purchases on which you can claim for tax deductions include travel and transportation, housing and lodging, and meals/incidentals. Nonetheless, the best deduction you can get for business meals and entertainment is a 50% limit.

How often do Travel Nurses Get Audited?

It is not uncommon for a travel nurse to get audited, however, the event is not often as many suppose. In case you will be audited, it is important that you follow all the “travel rules” and keep original documentation of all purchases and expenses so you wouldn’t have any issues.

Are Travel Nurses 1099 or W2?

Travel nurses are employees of an agency and not their employer. These agencies calculate and withholds federal, state, social security, and medicare taxes from your pay before writing you a check, and then submit the taxes to the IRS on your behalf as well.

Majority of travel nurses are W2, because they are typically required to pay taxes. You can claim certain expenses as tax-deductible and you are responsible for paying income taxes at the end of the year.

Most private sector travel nurses report their earnings on a W2 form because it is easier to navigate from payroll systems, and because many insurance companies will not cover travel nurses who do not use a W2 form.

Can a Travel Nurse Work as 1099?

Although most travel nurses work as a W2-employee, there are some traveling nurses that operate as 1099 contractors. This means you will be responsible for handling all your documentation, and calculating and remitting all taxes to the IRS and state authorities yourself.

Do Travel Nurses Get a 401k?

Yes! Travel nurses are entitled to get a 401K. This is considered one of the travel nursing pay benefits offered by many travel nursing agencies.

Why do Traveling Nurses Make so Much Money?

Nowadays traveling nurses make a very good income for the following reasons:

  1. They are employed for short-term needs,
  2. They are offered assignments in areas with high nursing shortages,
  3. Importantly, they easily receive extra compensation for their flexibility and work in hard-to-fill specialties.

Travel nurses can make a good living if they have the right skills and are willing to travel. Aspiring travel nurses should consider their career goals, what type of training they need, and where their interest lies.

Why do Hospitals pay Travel Nurses so Much?

Hospitals pay travel nurses so much for several reasons. However, the major reasons for this high payment are attributed to:

  1. Nursing shortages in most hospitals and there is a need to fill in the gap. That is where travel nurses come into work until the perceived need is achieved.
  2. The expenses of travel nurses are another factor in why they are highly paid. Travel nurses have to pay for their travel and transportation, houses and lodging, meal, and other vital expenses which are included in the pay.
  3. The nature of the assignment is a major factor in why travel nurses are paid. Not every nurse can take up some assignment in the hospital, so an experienced travel nurse ready to take up the risk is employed and paid heavily for doing the job.

What is the Highest Paid Travel Nurse?

The highest-paid travel nurse is a telemetry nurse. They earn approximately $130,870 annually. When broken down, it equals $62.92 hourly, $2,517 weekly, or $10,910 monthly.

Telemetry nursing is a specialized area of nursing that enables monitoring and maintaining patients who cannot move about themselves. This includes those requiring special care, for example, central nervous system (CNS) injuries due to stroke or trauma.

It may also include patients being monitored in intensive care units (ICUs), medical wards, and other hospital settings.

How can a Nurse Make 200k?

APRNs are considered to earn a 6-digit salary because they have met the advanced requirements for educational and clinical practice, enabling them to provide services in community-based settings.

Also, nurses with specialized training, typically nurse anesthetists are liable to make 200k because they are among the highest-paid nurses.

Do Travel Nurses Pay Taxes?

Travel nurses do pay taxes. However, because their payment is different from that of regular nurses, the tax they pay is different. Travel nurses earn by the hour, which is taxable, and a non-taxable weekly travel stipend.

Both the hourly rate payment and the weekly travel stipend are part of their total pay as agreed in the contract.

Under certain circumstances, however, travel nurses can avoid paying federal income tax on their travel expenses if they meet at least one of the following requirements:

Where is the Highest Demand for Traveling Nurses?

Travel nurses work in health care facilities where there are shortages of staff on a temporary or contract basis.

The health organizations where there is the highest demand for traveling nurses are hospitals, long-term care facilities, and surgery centers.

Going by states in the U.S. where travel nurses are needed are California, Texas, New Jersey, and South Carolina.

Travel nurses are highly needed in these states, as such the employers in these states pay some of the highest wages compared to other states.

Do Travel Nurses get Free Housing?

Travel nurses do get free housing but it is not in all cases. There are instances where the nurses may reject the house provided by the company they are employed with and as such opt to be paid the housing stipend so they can rent a house or hotel of their choice.

Which Travel Nurse Company Pays Best?

The travel nurse company that pays best is Triage Staffing. They are the number one choice for most travel nurses because their pay package is encouraging compared to most agencies out there.

Triage Staffing’s strong specs include the;

  1. The Payment package with the hourly wage, overtime, bonuses, and per diem. Interestingly, payment is made by direct deposit on a weekly basis.
  2. The housing stipend can be a tax-free stipend or company-secured housing
  3. They provide unmatched benefits such as health coverage, dental, vision, life insurance, short-term disability, 401(k) with company match, vacation, and education reimbursement which has led this company to attract top talents in the industry over the years.
  4. They are present in all 50 states across the U.S.


From our discourse, it is evident that travel nurses can get unemployment, however, that is if they meet the necessary requirements which have been discussed extensively in this material. We hope that you find this informative piece helpful and have learned all that you need to know.