Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Social Worker - External in Brockton, Massachusetts

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
1 vacancy in the following location:
  • Brockton, MA
Work Schedule is Full Time - Permanent

Opened Wednesday 9/28/2016 (21 day(s) ago)

** Closes Wednesday 10/19/2016 (0 day(s) away)

Job Overview

Service: Readjustment Counseling Service Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 1811994

The Readjustment Counseling Center is a Community Based Center for war veterans located in Brockton, MA


OUR MISSION:To fulfill President Lincoln's promise – "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's Veterans.

As a VA professional, your opportunities are endless. With many openings in the multiple functions of VA, you will have a wide range of opportunities and leadership positions at your fingertips. Not only is it the largest, most technologically advanced integrated health care system in the Nation, but we also provide many other services to Veterans through the Benefits Administration and National Cemeteries. VA professionals feel good about their careers and their ability to balance work and home life. VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities. For more information on the Department of Veterans Affairs, go to VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.**

Current VA employees should apply under job announcement: RS-16-KA-1811671-BU.


  • Open to all U.S. Citizens and other current permanent Federal employees of other agencies.

NOTE: This position is a AFGE Bargaining Unit position.

NOTE: This position is covered by locality-based comparability pay. NOTE: Travel and relocation expenses are not authorized. NOTE: Selectee may be required to work at any Boston Healthcare System campus, as needed. NOTE: Candidates who meet the qualification requirements within 15 calendar days following the closing date of the announcement will be considered. NOTE: Appointment/promotion is subject to review and approval of the Professional Standards Board. NOTE: Narrative responses to the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) will be required from the selectee in order to proceed with the appointment.

NOTE: Veterans' preference does not apply for other current permanent Federal agency employees.


To provide outreach for readjustment counseling to eligible veterans and family members in the Vet Center program. Readjustment counseling includes individual and group counseling to veterans and family members over issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related psychological difficulties, marital and family issues, substance abuse, employment, military sexual trauma, homelessness, bereavement, and other issues impacting upon a veteran's ability to successfully re-enter civilian society. This task is accomplished in collaboration with other members of the Vet Center or other interdisciplinary treatment teams both within the Department of Veteran Affairs or community agencies, and community/government social services agencies.

Screening/Assessment – Within the first three sessions, the social worker will complete a psycho-social assessment and military history. This information gathering will be directed toward identification of problem areas that hamper a veteran's successful readjustment to civilian life. Upon first contact mental health screening will include an assessment of harm to self or others and the veteran client's ability to provide for self (shelter, food, emergent medical care, etc.) Treatment Planning/Goal Setting – The social worker is responsible for developing a unique treatment plan that reflects a course of therapeutic intervention that will address the needs identified in the assessment. The course of treatment will be reflected in progress notes completed upon each significant contact with the veteran client. The treatment plan will be reviewed and updated at least every six months or as the treatment goals are resolved or changed. Referral to service providers – The social worker maintains and exercises an effective resource data base that is used to address the needs of a veteran client better served by programs external to the Vet Center. The incumbent will identify and maintain relationships with these resources to facilitate veteran client referrals. Additionally, the social worker is a subject matter expert to agencies and programs external to the Vet Center in matters of veteran readjustment.

Resource Usage/Development – The social worker is responsible for using the current social work resource file of the Vet Center and community social service programs and enhancing the content to the benefit of veterans. The social worker will refer the veteran to needed services. Advocacy – The social worker understands the intimidation of bureaucracy external to the Vet Center and will act as an advocate when it serves the best interest of the veteran/family without fostering dependency and preserving the right of the veteran client to exercise choice. The social worker will exercise advocacy with the goal of enabling and educating the veteran client to effectively advocate for him/herself. Crisis Intervention – The social worker is experienced in assessing whether a veteran client is of harm to self or others. The incumbent will have a network of resources internal and external to the Department of Veteran Affairs that will provide further psychiatric assessment and if necessary in-patient services and follow-up to safeguard the veteran client. The social worker will follow Readjustment Counseling Service procedure and reporting policy on clinical crisis. Education/Health promotion – The social worker provides education or facilitates education to elements external to the Vet Center and to veteran and family members on a variety of health topics common to war veterans based on age, injury, or war theatre. Coordination of non-institutional and institutional services – The social worker will ensure good communication and sound clinical treatment of veteran clients that are shared with other health care providers and community based agencies. The coordination is performed in a manner consistent with maintaining the veteran client's privacy and authorization to share information and on a need to know basis. Counseling – The social worker exercises a variety of individual and group counseling techniques that are evidence based in the treatment of readjustment counseling problems and demonstrate good clinical practice. Provision of military sexual trauma counseling is provided only by social workers that have met RCS STEP qualification standards for MST counseling. Outreach – The social worker performs outreach to veterans for the purpose of educating them about readjustment issues and assistance that is available to them. Additionally, outreach is carried out to programs external to the Vet Center to educate other referral sources as to veteran readjustment needs and assistance that is available. Public speaking and the ability to engage veterans in a non-threatening manner is essential.

Work Schedule: Full-time, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (SOME WEEKENDS AND EVENINGS REQUIRED)

Functional Statement Title/#: 910840

Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • Selectee may be required to work at any Boston Healthcare System campus, as needed.
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • Must pass pre-employment physical examination
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Background and-or Security Investigation required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: (From VA Qualification Standards)

BASIC REQUIREMENTS: The basic requirements for employment as a VHA social worker are prescribed by statute in 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(9), as amended by section 205 of Public Law 106-419, enacted November 1, 2000. To qualify for appointment as a social worker in VHA, all applicants must: a. Citizenship: Citizen of the United States. b. Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master's degree level. Current state requirements may be found on the OHRM website. c. English Language Proficiency: Social workers must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j, this part. 2. GRADE REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the basic requirements, at least 1 year of experience as a professional social worker equivalent to the next lower grade level.

GS-11 Social Worker (a) Experience, Education and Licensure. Promotion to the GS-11 full performance level requires completion of a minimum of 1 year of post-MSW degree experience in the field of health care social work (VA or non-VA experience) and licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level. NOTE: For appointment licensure or certification at this level please refer to paragraph 2c. OR, In addition to meeting basic requirements, a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work may be substituted for the required 1 year of professional social work experience in a clinical setting.

In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the KSAs in subparagraph (b) below.1. Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services. 2. Ability to independently assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of patients and their family members and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the patient's problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills and assistance needed, in collaboration with the patient, family and interdisciplinary treatment team. 3. Ability to independently conduct psychosocial assessments and provide psychosocial treatment to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds. This requires knowledge of human development and behavior (physical and psychological) and the differential influences of the environment, society and culture. 4. Knowledge and experience in the use of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses/injuries, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology. 5. Knowledge of psychosocial treatment and ability to independently implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families and groups who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical and social problems to achieve treatment goals. This requires independent judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving or crisis intervention techniques. 6. Ability to independently provide counseling and/or psychotherapy services to individuals, groups and families. Social workers must practice within the bounds of their license or certification. For example, some states may require social workers providing psychotherapy to have a clinical level of licensure. 7. Ability to provide consultation services to other staff about the psychosocial needs of patients and the impact of psychosocial problems on health care and compliance with treatment. Ability to provide orientation and coaching to new social workers and social work graduate students. Ability to serve as a field instructor for social work graduate students who are completing VHA field placements. 8. Ability to independently evaluate his/her own practice through participation in professional peer review case conferences, research studies, or other organized means. 9. Knowledge and skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, and tracking, especially those programs in use by VHA.

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE: Military Sexual Trauma Experience

PLEASE NOTE: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education.

Physical Requirements:

The work in the Vet Center involves irregular hours, including evenings. The work is mainly sedentary in nature, requiring minimal physical demands. Routine walking, standing, bending, carrying of light items such as paper, files, supplies, books, small parts and operating a standard passenger motor vehicle, etc. The work requires the incumbent to be able to move comfortably around the office and when necessary other locations. No special physical demands are required to perform the work. The client population involves a wide range of individuals, a percentage of who are acutely emotionally disturbed.

WORKING CONDITIONS: The incumbent will be centrally based in the Vet Center with occasional travel to outside facilities for meetings, trainings, conferences and networking. The work environment involves every day risks or discomforts which require normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices, meeting and training rooms, or libraries. The work area is adequately lighted, heated and ventilated.

The Department of Veteran Affairs must provide reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities where appropriate.

Security Clearance


Additional Information
What To Expect Next

After we receive application packages (including all required documents) and the vacancy announcement closes, we will review applications to ensure qualification and eligibility requirements are met. During our review, if your résumé and application package do not support your questionnaire answers, we will adjust your rating accordingly. After the review is complete, a referral certificate(s) is issued and applicants will be notified of their status by email (if provided); otherwise, applicants will receive a notification letter via the U.S. Postal Service. Referred applicants will be notified as such and may be contacted directly by the hiring office for an interview. All referred applicants receive a final notification once a selection decision has been made.

You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your USAJOBS account and clicking on "Application Status." For a more detailed update of your status, click on "more information." Information regarding applicant notification points can be found in the USAJobs Resource Center.


VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered:

Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave:** Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee.

Other Information

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

Salary Range: $64,862.00 to $84,320.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: GS-0185-11/11

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: Open to all U.S. Citizens and other current permanent Federal employees of other agencies

Control Number: 451838000

Job Announcement Number: RS-16-KA-1811994-BU