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Attorney Advisor Jobs: HHS vs. SSA vs. VA

HHS, SSA, and VA are all hiring for attorney advisor gigs ri hoyas4ever05/30/18
HHS > SSA > VA VA pays the most out of the three, but qua john0905/30/18
HHS probably has the best exit options. I suspect SSA and HH karma05/31/18
Thanks for the information! Is the GS-13 a senior attorney hoyas4ever06/09/18
The GS-13 is a senior attorney job. In my office, those with karma06/09/18
Interesting, it's good to hear it's possible to advance even hoyas4ever06/09/18
It really depends on who you write for. Some judges are terr karma06/10/18
What is the production quota at OMHA? newkid50406/10/18
hoyas4ever (May 30, 2018 - 7:12 pm)

HHS, SSA, and VA are all hiring for attorney advisor gigs right now, and I'm interviewing.

Which of these jobs is the best overall? 2nd? 3rd?

Pros & Cons?

If I got offers from all three, which should I choose?

I'm not sure I want to stay in government forever, and I'm weighing promotional opportunities vs. exit options.

I read a lot about SSA and VA from the other posts, and I'd like to hear more about HHS if anyone works there.

Thanks.

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john09 (May 30, 2018 - 9:09 pm)

HHS > SSA > VA

VA pays the most out of the three, but quality of life and work/life balance is likely the worst.

SSA is generally an okay place to work. Work/life balance is good. I can't comment on the work environment because there are a lot of SSA hearing offices across the country. I'm sure that most SSA hearing offices have fine work environments, but there are probably exceptions.

I can't comment on HHS, but the job seems very similar to the work at SSA. HHS also has offices nationwide so quality of life and work environments will vary from office to office.

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karma (May 31, 2018 - 11:54 am)

HHS probably has the best exit options. I suspect SSA and HHS have similar chances to get GS-13. But if you're in the DC area, I think there will be more in SSA and fewer in the very small OMHA of HHS.

In HHS, your boss will likely be an ALJ, possibly one that doesn't know how to manage. If you get a bad one, that can be a major problem. HHS also is the most limited by geographic area, as you can ultimately do remote work in BVA and SSA has offices everywhere.

HHS, unlike SSA, rarely has overtime available. SSA is term and HHS likely a permanent position.

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hoyas4ever (Jun 9, 2018 - 10:43 am)

Thanks for the information! Is the GS-13 a senior attorney or supervisory job? How long would that take to get? I saw some new GS-14 positions posted yesterday.

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karma (Jun 9, 2018 - 10:56 am)

The GS-13 is a senior attorney job. In my office, those with no federal experience were started at GS-9, so they spent one year as a 9, one year as an 11, and then one year as a 12 before they could even apply. (And in my office, the leap from 11 to 12 was not as automatic as it was with some offices-they threatened and did withhold that promotion from people.) The senior attorney positions are very competitive. In a full office, there were 18 judges with 2 attorneys each and a pool of maybe six. Everybody wants the GS-13. And then they had 5 or 6 senior attorneys and one supervisory attorney. A couple of the new offices are slated to have 23 judges ultimately, but they will take months if not a couple years to ramp up to that.

They did change the law recently so there could be attorney-adjudicators, and I think some of the senior attorneys are doing that, but I haven't heard any talk about them advertising for a specific position of attorney adjudicators.

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hoyas4ever (Jun 9, 2018 - 12:17 pm)

Interesting, it's good to hear it's possible to advance eventually.

Do a lot of people have trouble meeting the quota or is it fairly reasonable?

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karma (Jun 10, 2018 - 6:39 am)

It really depends on who you write for. Some judges are terribly picky and other judges extremely relaxed.

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newkid504 (Jun 10, 2018 - 11:27 am)

What is the production quota at OMHA?

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