Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

AA with OMHA. Anyone applying?

I know that the agency is hiring for supervisory attorneys a legalmessenger06/26/18
I think I did applied for the positions you are mentioning. kelsen106/26/18
You might have a shot, I think the requirement is “experie legalmessenger06/26/18
Sometimes I feel hopeless about these federal positions, but kelsen106/26/18
I don’t want to out myself with location, but I got hired legalmessenger06/26/18
I'm glad to read you had that opportunity, dont worry, I don kelsen106/26/18
legalmessenger did you apply recently (like within the past lawyermom107/03/18
I applied for the new office opening postings that were put favorandgrace06/26/18
No overtime at the moment, but yes to credit hours. You can legalmessenger06/26/18
I applied to one of the new field offices but never heard an newkid50406/26/18
Congrats on the offer! Almost everyone in the office came legalmessenger06/26/18
Sounds like a dream to me....I just hope... kelsen106/26/18
I applied for Cleveland. Still haven’t heard back. I’m sobeitunion06/27/18
Good luck! I should never have been hired (two years out of legalmessenger06/27/18
but why do you feel you shouldnt have been hired? Its not li favorandgrace06/27/18
I’m the only person in the entire office that was hired ri legalmessenger06/28/18
I imagine that might have helped you get the job. A lot of downwardslope06/28/18
Interesting. I guess that is the advantage of working in a s legalmessenger06/28/18
Thank you - not many stories like that. I appreciate it. sobeitunion06/27/18
If someone happens to know a little bit of info about the hi kelsen106/28/18
All I know is that it is a very slow process. I think I inte legalmessenger06/28/18
Wow it is slow. I bet every agency is like that. I am just d kelsen106/28/18
There is no way to tell. If you are bumping up on a deadline downwardslope06/28/18
kelsen, i just emailed the HR email that was in one of the p lawyermom107/03/18
Thanks lawyermom for the update. Still waiting on some news. kelsen107/03/18
I had applied to a few offices, so still waiting. lawyermom107/05/18
just an update for those interested: talked to a live person lawyermom107/11/18
Well, they are back at square 1 with the ALJ hiring since th downwardslope07/11/18
Yeah, everybody in the office is talking about the Order. So legalmessenger07/12/18
Wait what order? What does it say and how does it affect fed favorandgrace07/12/18
There is an executive order ending competitive hiring of ALJ downwardslope07/12/18
I am not getting this completely but I will google it. Appli kelsen107/12/18
Before OMHA ALJs were hired off the ALJ register or as trans downwardslope07/12/18
As an update on this thread, this is an amendment pending to lawyermom107/16/18
So I guess this means they are not going to hire for now. kelsen107/17/18
I think they are still hiring and moving ahead-saw some more lawyermom107/19/18
Atlanta is a new office. They decided not to open the propos downwardslope07/20/18
I saw the Atlanta posting. Will apply as well. kelsen107/20/18

legalmessenger (Jun 26, 2018 - 4:02 pm)

I know that the agency is hiring for supervisory attorneys at GS13 and lowly decision writers like myself starting at GS9. Several new field offices opening up. For me it’s been a great gig, happy to answer questions.

Anyone on here applying?

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kelsen1 (Jun 26, 2018 - 4:15 pm)

I think I did applied for the positions you are mentioning. Applied two cities. I know it is GS13 but it will not hurt if you apply. Probably those positions are already filled with inside people but we can be lucky. I have over 7 years of experience but not so sure if I qualify for it but did it anyways. Still under received status.

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legalmessenger (Jun 26, 2018 - 4:19 pm)

You might have a shot, I think the requirement is “experience commensurate to GS12” for at least a year or something.

I got hired without the slightest chance of being hired. It was a Unicorn snowflake in hell. And yet here I am. Good luck!

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kelsen1 (Jun 26, 2018 - 4:37 pm)

Sometimes I feel hopeless about these federal positions, but whenever I read some stories like you I started to feel some hopes again. I also have experience in the Healthcare field. Can I ask where did you get hired and the position? Thanks!

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legalmessenger (Jun 26, 2018 - 4:59 pm)

I don’t want to out myself with location, but I got hired at a “new” field office as an attorney advisor at GS9. The pay sucked (and still kinda sucks) but I quickly went to GS11 and there’s a lot of opportunity to move around between offices.

We are part of the treasurers union and have a great contract. Telework, super flexible work schedule with credit hours, etc. I work 4 10s with two days at home, it’s awesome. Work is still interesting, judges are mostly cool and the office atmosphere is very laid back. Total opposite from my experience in private practice, which I hated. Your healthcare background is super valuable. You won’t be happy with the starting pay for GS9, but you get your foot in the door for GS13 gigs, as well as the coveted ALJ placement (if the ALJ is not a soon extinct animal).

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kelsen1 (Jun 26, 2018 - 5:15 pm)

I'm glad to read you had that opportunity, dont worry, I dont need to know your specific location, it just that as I said it motivates me whenever I read stories like yours. I have been on and off on USAjobs applications hoping that someday I will get an opportunity. So far it looks like the hiring process its being a little faster these months. I could be wrong... Appreciate your comments.

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lawyermom1 (Jul 3, 2018 - 1:08 pm)

legalmessenger did you apply recently (like within the past few months) or have you been there for awhile?

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favorandgrace (Jun 26, 2018 - 5:09 pm)

I applied for the new office opening postings that were put up last month. Hoping to get referred, but I haven't heard anything since then.

Do you get to work overtime/ amass credit hours?

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legalmessenger (Jun 26, 2018 - 6:00 pm)

No overtime at the moment, but yes to credit hours. You can bank your credit hours so they rollover with each pay period and use them just like your annual leave.

Plus there’s the pension and retirement benefits. Not a ton of money, but if you have kids and a working spouse, it’s a really good law job. No clients, no billable hours, no clients... no clients.

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newkid504 (Jun 26, 2018 - 8:10 pm)

I applied to one of the new field offices but never heard anything.

What type of legal issues do you see most often?

I just received an offer from SSA but I wouldn't mind working for OMHA.

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legalmessenger (Jun 26, 2018 - 9:10 pm)

Congrats on the offer!
Almost everyone in the office came from SSA. Everyone I’ve talked to prefers OMHA.

As far as issues, it’s a very small universe. Statutory definition of reasonable medical necessity, some regs, a bunch of CMS manuals, and many more obscure “local coverage determinations” and policy articles are the authorities. We never cite case law or even previous alj decisions, and it’s all de novo.

That being said, there’s always new and weird stuff in the healthcare world so it doesn’t get old. In SSA you will actually deal with beneficiaries, we almost always deal with appellants who are the providers, often with counsel. Less skin in the game, less drama. Production quota is easily met if your Judge is cool.

It’s not for everyone, but I love it because it never interferes with my personal time. I leave the office and I’m done. Sometimes it feels like you’re an insurance adjuster, which is kind of true. But there are subtleties to writing a really good decision (that no one will read, except the conclusion and order), and it’s satisfying to do it quickly and well.

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kelsen1 (Jun 26, 2018 - 9:41 pm)

Sounds like a dream to me....I just hope...

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sobeitunion (Jun 27, 2018 - 2:56 pm)

I applied for Cleveland. Still haven’t heard back. I’m not holding out much hope given my experience applying for federal jobs though

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legalmessenger (Jun 27, 2018 - 3:52 pm)

Good luck! I should never have been hired (two years out of school, experience working in dysfunctional solo’s office, no preferences), but somehow it happened. The only hit I ever got on a usajobs app.

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favorandgrace (Jun 27, 2018 - 4:50 pm)

but why do you feel you shouldnt have been hired? Its not like you were unemployed. With your stats at the time, I would have been expecting to be hired at GS12.

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legalmessenger (Jun 28, 2018 - 1:26 am)

I’m the only person in the entire office that was hired right from the private sector instead of from a different fed agency, so it just feels like a super lucky break. I’m not a vet or a URM, I had zero administrative law experience (not that it mattered). I was going nuts working for the solo, and I was actually making even less money.

It is pretty crazy that you start out as a gs9, but coming from my previous job as an associate making $36k a year, it was heaven sent.

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downwardslope (Jun 28, 2018 - 7:04 am)

I imagine that might have helped you get the job. A lot of people come out of the private (or even public) sector can’t afford to take a GS-9. I had a low paying state job, but it still paid better than GS-9 especially when you take into account that my state job had far superior benefits to the fed job and I was in a place with no state income tax. I know at SSA when I was in training, everyone complained about being forced to take a GS-11 and people were coming in with 5, 10, or even 20 years of experience. However, at least with SSA, you can usually start earning overtime at some point in your first year, which helps a lot for people who are interested.

FWIW, I did similar work to what they do in OMHA in my state job and agree it is a lot more interesting, but couldn’t accept a GS-9, especially in some of the locations that are like Miami and Seattle where only a GS-12 would be manageable.

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legalmessenger (Jun 28, 2018 - 11:29 am)

Interesting. I guess that is the advantage of working in a storage closet for a burnt out hack of a solo for $15.00 an hour: even the GS9 looks extremely good from where you’re already sitting.

I look back on those days with humor now. I actually did work in a storage closet. Duties included personally serving eviction process on broke tentants. Getting the really unhinged clients that the solo would not deal with, calling me on my cell all the time. Spending many, many hours researching how to do the procedural stuff because the aspie-boomer solo did not/would not give any advice or guidance. Then getting berated by boss for not billing that research time. Then getting screamed at by clients for billing that research time. “Why am I paying you to learn how to do your f&$ckkng job?! Didn’t you go to law school???”

I loved going to court, and I loved those few victories when the client really got a great outcome. But even when they got a great outcome, they still were almost never happy. Even when they seemed happy, NO ONE paid their bill in full. I made $36k a year, no bonuses, and yet knew I was “lucky” to have the job.

Yeah, GS9 sounded real good.

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sobeitunion (Jun 27, 2018 - 7:01 pm)

Thank you - not many stories like that. I appreciate it.

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kelsen1 (Jun 28, 2018 - 10:03 am)

If someone happens to know a little bit of info about the hiring process of these positions it will be appreciated if you post something. The one I applied for closed yesterday and I am clueless about what to expect next and for how long.

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legalmessenger (Jun 28, 2018 - 11:32 am)

All I know is that it is a very slow process. I think I interviewed in April, got a tentative offer mid June, and actually started in November.

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kelsen1 (Jun 28, 2018 - 12:09 pm)

Wow it is slow. I bet every agency is like that. I am just desperately frustrated where I am and wishing and hoping for a change.

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downwardslope (Jun 28, 2018 - 12:35 pm)

There is no way to tell. If you are bumping up on a deadline, like the end of the fiscal year or a possible shutdown/lapse in funding, a hiring process may go quickly to ensure a person is hired. In other situations, it can take nine months from the time of the application to the start date.

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lawyermom1 (Jul 3, 2018 - 1:10 pm)

kelsen, i just emailed the HR email that was in one of the postings and probably got some type of auto-reply message about the sheer volume of applications and that they were still reviewing. I sent that email last week.

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kelsen1 (Jul 3, 2018 - 1:26 pm)

Thanks lawyermom for the update. Still waiting on some news. My applications are just under received status. Did you apply?

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lawyermom1 (Jul 5, 2018 - 11:01 am)

I had applied to a few offices, so still waiting.

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lawyermom1 (Jul 11, 2018 - 12:55 pm)

just an update for those interested: talked to a live person earlier today and they said that staff are still reviewing the applications, but they had a goal of trying to get folks hired by the end of the fiscal year. Unclear how many positions, but "multiple" which seems to mean more than 40 (IMO).

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downwardslope (Jul 11, 2018 - 2:28 pm)

Well, they are back at square 1 with the ALJ hiring since they had the EO yesterday. I am not sure how close they were to making new hires, but it seems like it might it might make it significantly more difficult to staff offices if they are going to be getting 4K applications for every ALJ position that is open.

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legalmessenger (Jul 12, 2018 - 10:40 am)

Yeah, everybody in the office is talking about the Order. Sounds like OPM will basically go away altogether (???), so who knows what will happen with new hiring.

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favorandgrace (Jul 12, 2018 - 11:05 am)

Wait what order? What does it say and how does it affect federal hiring? let me go google..

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downwardslope (Jul 12, 2018 - 11:41 am)

There is an executive order ending competitive hiring of ALJs and making them excepted service.

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kelsen1 (Jul 12, 2018 - 12:17 pm)

I am not getting this completely but I will google it. Applied to two positions in two cities and I think there were few vacancies. They were 4 or 5 posted. My application its still under received.

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downwardslope (Jul 12, 2018 - 12:52 pm)

Before OMHA ALJs were hired off the ALJ register or as transfers from SSA. Now that can’t happen because ALJs are excepted service if they transfer to a different agency. So what that means is that there are no new judges to open up these additional offices or an easy way to hire.

Before it was just a matter of posting a certificate of people on the register or who were ALJs elsewhere. Now they have to hire another way. USAJobs is not required, but it still puts them way behind ALJ hiring than they were before when they had candidates in mind.

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lawyermom1 (Jul 16, 2018 - 7:23 pm)

As an update on this thread, this is an amendment pending to the FSGG Appropriations bill in the House that would ban funds from being used to implement the EO that @downwardslope mentioned above.

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kelsen1 (Jul 17, 2018 - 9:41 am)

So I guess this means they are not going to hire for now.

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lawyermom1 (Jul 19, 2018 - 11:12 pm)

I think they are still hiring and moving ahead-saw some more jobs posted on usajobs for attorneys in some offices.

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downwardslope (Jul 20, 2018 - 7:32 am)

Atlanta is a new office. They decided not to open the proposed office in Boston due to cost and are now looking to put one in Atlanta instead. They are probably posting all of them just in case they don’t have enough attorneys that transfer with the current OMHA judges who are interested.

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kelsen1 (Jul 20, 2018 - 9:07 am)

I saw the Atlanta posting. Will apply as well.

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