ASSOCIATE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If I am offered an award, when can I start?
In the event an award is offered, the date on which tenure may begin is negotiated on an individual basis, normally within six months of the award. The starting date may be delayed by mutual agreement of sponsoring federal laboratory, the Associate, and the Fellowships Office, but cannot be later than one year from the offer date. If this condition cannot be met, a new application, including a newly approved research proposal, must be submitted to the Fellowships Office and will be judged without prejudice in the next competition.
How do I initiate my relocation to the lab?
You should submit your Request for Movement of Household Goods form to RAPTravel@nas.edu at least three weeks prior to your proposed move date. Your request will be sent to our contracted moving company, Azar Storage, and they will contact you directly to arrange your move.
If I don’t have a place by the time of the move, can goods be stored?
RAP Travel does not cover storage costs as part of relocation.
Can I move pianos? Cars?
These are not covered by RAP Travel but you can negotiate with the mover to move the piano and pay directly when your other goods are moved.
What if my goods are damaged?
In the event of loss or damage to the shipment, the Associate should make notations on the carrier’s inventory of articles at the time of delivery. The notations made at the time of the delivery do not constitute filing a claim in writing. This notation is made to support any claims that may be filed later. Damage claims are between the mover and the Associate.
Can I use another company?
No. We have negotiated a contract with a moving company to ensure that relocation rules and regulations are enforced and that negotiated rates are reasonable.
Can I move myself?
A self-move is considered an exception and is subject to formal approval by RAP Travel in advance of the move. Be sure to keep all documentation and itemized receipts, which we will need to reimburse you.
Insurance and Stipend Payments
When will my stipend begin?
Your stipend will begin once your laboratory Adviser confirms your official start date by responding to an e-mail notification they receive. Stipends are paid at the end of the month and your first payment will be for the number of days you were on tenure during that month.
Why did I receive my first check as a check and not direct deposit?
As with most payroll systems, a test must be done to make sure the routing and account numbers are verified through the ACH Bank Transit system. If a direct deposit fails, a check will be issued after a 14-day waiting period.
When can I expect my health insurance identification card?
The Fellowships Office will process your health insurance application once your Starting Date form has been received from the laboratory confirming that you have officially started tenure. The Fellowships Office will send your application to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield with the current address listed in your online Associate profile. You will receive your health ID card directly from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield within 1-2 weeks.
I will be traveling abroad this month and I was wondering what to do about health insurance. Does the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield plan cover me while I am overseas?
As long as you are on professional or programmatic travel for your Associateship you are covered by health insurance. If medical costs are incurred while on travel, you will have to pay out of pocket and submit a claim to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield when you return home.
Am I required to use the Fellowships Office Travel Agency to book my travel?
All airline travel must be booked through Omega World Travel to ensure that federal regulations are met. Costs of travel not booked through Omega may not be reimbursed.
If I want to request a travel advance when should I send my Travel Authorization to RAP Travel?
Travel Authorizations need to be received no later than 30 days before the departure date.
Will my travel reimbursement be issued via check or direct deposit?
For U.S. citizens/permanent residents, reimbursements will be issued through direct deposit if this is how your stipend is paid.
For nonresident aliens, mid-month reimbursements will be issued via check. Month-end reimbursements will be issued through direct deposit if this is how your stipend is paid.
Where can I find a list of the current per diem rates?
The per diem rates are set by the Federal government. Domestic per diem rates can be found at www.gsa.gov
; international per diem rates are found at www.state.gov
Are rental cars allowable for professional/programmatic travel?
Due to federal regulations, rental car approvals are issued on a case by case basis. A justification for the rental car must be provided on the travel authorization form.
Can personal travel be combined with professional/programmatic travel?
Yes. However, personal travel must be approved on the Travel Authorization Form and any increase in airfare as a result of including personal travel will be the Associate’s financial responsibility.
Are fax transmittals allowable?
You can send the Travel Authorization Form via fax. However, we do request that all Travel Expense Reports be mailed with original receipts.
My taxes are due soon and I haven’t received a 1099-MISC or W-2. What does this mean?
As an Associate with the NRC Research Associateships Program, you will not receive a 1099-MISC or W-2 from the Fellowships Office. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you will receive a Statement of Stipends Paid Memorandum through email in mid-February. This memo will state your stipend, travel, and health insurance amounts for the tax year. If you are a nonresident alien, you will receive a Form 1042-S in mid-March.
Do I need to pay social security tax?
No. Fellowship awards to postdoctoral researchers under the NRC Research Associateship Program are classified as non-compensatory grants. Since you do not perform services in return for your award, you are not considered an employee and do not pay social security tax.
When is my tax return due?
Your filing deadline is dependent on your residency for tax purposes. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, your filing date will be April 15th. If you are a nonresident alien, your due date will generally be June 15th. However, if you meet the Substantial Presence Test, you are considered to be a resident for tax purposes and must file by April 15th. Guidance on the Substantial Presence Test can be found on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov
I’m a nonresident alien. Why did you withhold tax on my work-related travel expenses?
The Academies are required to withhold at 14% on all payments made to you, or on your behalf. All travel expenses are considered a benefit of the award and are taxable. Taxable travel includes reimbursements made to you and any direct-billed expenses booked through our travel agency or moving company.
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