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VA (Department of Veterans Affairs)

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans."

This forum also includes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Perhaps you are working for the VA or interested in working for the VA. Here is a forum to share your experience with the VA.

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NCguy41  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 8:22:10 AM(UTC)
NCguy41

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I have recently applied for a VSR position in Bay Pines, FL. I feel pretty confident that I will get an offer as I feel that I am pretty well qualified for the position and there are 45 vacancies.

I have read through the various threads on this forum and it seems that 70% of the posts associated with the VSR position are negative. Is this job really that bad? I have been looking for federal employment for years and was really excited about this opportunity. But I have to be honest, reading all of this negativity has me worried. This is a huge decision for me as I would be selling my home in NC and relocating to the Tampa area.

Can anyone tell me what type of person does well in this position. What are the skills that are needed to be successful in this position.

I am very excited as my wife and I have wanted to relocate to Tampa for years, but I’m afraid that I may not like the job or may not be a good fit.

Thanks in advance for any insight that you can provide!
jen143  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 10:12:40 AM(UTC)
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I have no experience personally as a VSR, but I have quite a few friends that were VSRs and eventually promoted to RVSR. Some of them have been promoted beyond that and are no longer VSRs, but nevertheless, I have heard their experiences and it wasn't always positive. I have heard that it can be stressful as there is a high workload and shortage of staff. Just think about the many veterans that are claiming, and the shorter number of people required to review cases. I will say, don't let this discourage you. Your experience is yours alone and I believe it could be what you make of it as well. I have had friends that complained and changed positions, but I have also had friends that made the best of it, until they can get something else. If your ultimate goal is to have a federal job, stick with it and find ways to be promoted or change positions eventually. There are so many pros to a federal job as well, so keep your head up. Stay focused and just maintain professionalism and you'll be fine. :) Best of luck to you!
NCguy41  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, September 26, 2018 11:05:46 AM(UTC)
NCguy41

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Jen,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I’m with you 100%. I think if you are willing to work hard, the sky is the limit.

You have GS9 and GS10 waiting on you if you do well in your position.

The location is an additional bonus as I have always wanted to move back to the Tampa area since living there from 2002-05.

Thanks again and God bless you!
txMax17  
#4 Posted : Monday, October 15, 2018 5:46:33 AM(UTC)
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NCguy41

I am a VSR, the job is not bad if you are provided with the proper training and the tools. This agency lacks organiztion, the work environment and the culture is horrible. I left my old agency because I thought the VA was better and I had the opportunity to move. However, I been here for about 8 months and I still do not feel comfortable preforming my job. I and my fellow coworkers that I started with feel the same way, it is like you are left on your own to figure it out. My experience in agency has been negative, in addition it does not help that half of the employees speak negative about the agency. Every one seems to only care about themselves and making their own numbers than giving you a helping hand. It is all about the numbers and not the quality of the work. It is very disappointing, you will find that most of the employees in this agency are veterans, therefore the culture is the same as being back in the military. I have never been expose to so much unprofessionalism in a work environment I have to say it is rather uncomfortable. In addition, like jen143 said you have a gs09 and gs10 position which it is good and dandy, however you also have to take "certification test" to be considered for a RVSR position. In a normal gs world, positions run from gs05,gs07,gs09, gs11, gs12 and so forth. I have never been in an agency where you must take a test in order to pick up the next grade. Anyways, if your goal is to work for the federal government by all means take the position because it puts in the door; once you are in, there are limitless possibilities and you can easily move. In a nutshell, the job is not bad, like they say you make what you want to make of it, it all depends on your person, what you like and do not like. I personally do not like this agency or the way it is runs therefore, I have taken another offer with another federal agency and will be leaving the agency in the weeks to follow. Lastly, if you asked me if I would reapply for another position in the va my answer is never again.
NCguy41  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:57:47 AM(UTC)
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Wow! I just got referred yesterday for the announcement that had 45 vacancies in Bay Pines, FL.

Do you care to share your location? Do you know anything about the Bay Pines location as far as if the culture is the same?

You have honestly got me a bit nervous about pursuing this opportunity.

Thanks for the info!!
Metalhed  
#6 Posted : Friday, October 26, 2018 7:47:47 AM(UTC)

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Bay Pines will be one of the new Appeals processing Centers. Be prepared for lots of training
this is a new site and business process
this is a brand new line of work, with all new folks working it
the Office is now 1000+ employees
Damon030  
#7 Posted : Friday, October 26, 2018 2:28:28 PM(UTC)
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I start on Monday. Are you thinking that the new hires will be apart of this new process?
DSM36  
#8 Posted : Saturday, October 27, 2018 7:07:43 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for all of the great info! Good luck on Monday Damon!

Metalhead they said the report date will be 13 November if I am selected. I have already completed the interview and writing assignment (both late last week). I feel that report date is almost too fast for me as I am coming from NC. Am I able to bump the report date back at all?

The week after the start date is Thanksgiving. How does the VA handle the Holiday schedule? Is it Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving and a four day holiday for Christmas?

Thanks again for any input that you can provide!
daddythedonkey  
#9 Posted : Sunday, October 28, 2018 12:45:38 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DSM36 Go to Quoted Post
Is it Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving and a four day holiday for Christmas?


No and no. You get the holiday off, period. They MIGHT give 59 minutes of admin time at the end of your shift on the eve of the holiday, but don't count on it.

My 2 cents: If you're used to work environments that include perks like extra days off for the holidays, you should seriously reconsider taking a federal gov't job.
Frogger  
#10 Posted : Sunday, October 28, 2018 2:59:23 PM(UTC)
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The job is a hard one if you do it right, the veteran is really counting on you.
thanks 1 user thanked Frogger for this useful post.
Metalhed on 10/29/2018(UTC)
Metalhed  
#11 Posted : Monday, October 29, 2018 7:55:53 AM(UTC)

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@Damon-- I am sure you will be apart of the new Appeals process.

@DSM-- The start date is something you would have to discuss with HR. There are very strict timelines to get people on board and into Pre Challenge Training, there will be a formal 4-6 weeks of training, sometimes off site and in a different state, and they need folks to start on specific days to get in, processed thru HR and Payroll in a seat and on a team and up to speed before they can go to "Challenge"

Challenge is the name of the formal training. In this MANDATORY training where you learn the specific ways to do the Veterans Service Representative (VSR) job. they only offer the training at specific times and locations. it is a HUGE investment to send someone to Challenge. A class of 60 students with hotel, per diem, etc is over $300k invested just in getting you there and in a seat.

Holiday -- you get Thursday off. if you have leave, ( transferring from another Gov agency) and your supervisor allows you can request additional leave, if you are new to Gov.. you probably will be working Friday after Turkey day.
Goose1200  
#12 Posted : Monday, October 29, 2018 2:51:26 PM(UTC)
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As others have said, the job is what you make of it but it is a numbers game. I was a VSR for about 1/2 a year and left to go to another agency. My issue was I needed a job where I had contact with humans, this job is 99% done online handling claims and getting the needed info to forward it to a Rater. It is a good mission as you do help veterans get money but there has always been such a huge backlog, it would seem to me it may take a while to get caught up. Though, if you're in an Appeals Unit thats brand new, that may not be a bad thing as everyone is starting off fresh but eventually they'll want you to produce. You should go 7/9/10 each year and if you want to be an Authorizer, then you test for a GS-11. Challenge as they call it is all classroom training and you learn the job. Prior to that you do 4 weeks OJT over the computer.

You may like it, you may not but its like a claims handler if you have that experience, once in the Govt for 3 months you can apply to other jobs if its not a good fit. Good luck!
DSM36  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, October 30, 2018 5:50:03 PM(UTC)
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Update: I received my tentative offer today. Very excited! I was able to negotiate a start date of 19 November instead of the 13th. Not a huge difference but a week is better than nothing. Like Metalhed said, they are under time constraints to get people in processed and prepared to attend training.
PolyGS  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, October 31, 2018 8:28:17 AM(UTC)
PolyGS

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Anybody starting at the Seattle RO?
cchar1114  
#15 Posted : Sunday, November 04, 2018 11:32:41 AM(UTC)

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DSM36, Can you post a timeline? I interviewed on last Monday and they checked my references the same day. Still waiting on TO.
DSM36  
#16 Posted : Sunday, November 04, 2018 5:57:26 PM(UTC)
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Veterans Service Representative GS 7/9/10

Applied 9/14/18
Referred 10/14/18
Interview 10/21/18
Tentative offer 10/26/18
Final offer 10/27/18
Report Date 11/19/18

There were 45 openings for this vacancy which probably played a role in getting my final offer so quickly.
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