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Although other types of postdoctoral appointees were given employee status effective January 1, 1998, National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral trainees continue to retain their trainee status. Excerpts from the NIH NRSA Guide state that "a stipend is provided as a subsistence allowance for fellows to help defray living expenses during the research training experience. It is not provided as a condition of employment with either the federal government or the sponsoring institution.NRSA stipends are not considered salaries. In addition, fellows supported under the NRSA are not considered to be in an employee-employer relationship with the NIH or the sponsoring institution.. Since NRSA awards are not provided as a condition of employment with either the Federal government or the sponsoring institution, it is inappropriate and unallowable for institutions to seek funds for or to charge fellowship awards for costs that would normally be associated with employee benefits (for example, FICA, workmen's compensation and unemployment insurance).."
A new policy document entitled, NRSA-National Research Service Awards, Policies, and Procedures, outlines the benefits that are available to NIH NRSA postdoctoral trainees. These include such things as medical and dental insurance, but exclude statutory benefits such as workers' compensation, FICA, and unemployment. For more information concerning benefit provisions for NRSA postdoctoral fellows, please contact the Human Resources Benefits Division at 847/491-7513, or refer to for the benefit program summary for NRSA postdocs.
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