Most new graduate and seasoned physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and therapist assistants do not know the difference between working as an employee vs. an independent contractor. Nothing drives me crazier than when I hear of a rehab staffing agency or any rehab or home health facility hiring a PT, PTA, OT, COTA, SLP or SLPA as a 1099 independent contractor. It bothers me because most physical, occupation or speech therapist and therapist assistants I speak to do not even know what it really means to be an independent physical, occupational, speech therapist or therapist assistant independent contractor in the rehab world. Many times, one accepts a 1099 position because the agency or facility does not give them a choice. One may just show up to the office sign and agree to a bunch of documents they do not even read
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax rate, which is the combined Social Security tax rate of 6.2% and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45%, will be 7.65% for 2020 up to the Social Security wage base. The maximum Social Security tax employees and employers will each pay in 2020 is $8,537.40. If a rehab staffing agency, home health company or facility hires you as an independent contractor they do not have to match the FICA tax rate because you are not an employee. Most responsible companies legitimately hire independent contracting physical, occupational, speech therapist and therapy assistants to supplement their staffing needs while others hire because just to save on employee tax expenses and add to their bottom line. That is okay if everyone is on the same page, preferably via a contractual agreement. But it is not okay if a 1099 worker unexpectedly receives a tax bill or unexpectedly gets audited by local or federal agencies. You work as a rehab independent contractor because you know what you are getting yourself in to and understand you are offering your services with no guaranty of getting paid.