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Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration PEER SPECIALIST in Las Vegas, Nevada


The position functions as an interdisciplinary team member, assisting Social Workers and other professional/non-professional personnel as part of the Post Incarceration Engagement (PIE) Project in the Veteran's Justice Outreach Program under the Social Work Service Care line. The PIE Project is a peer-based re-entry linkage model for substance use disorder, mental health, and homelessness services for Veterans released from incarceration.


The position serves as a recovery agent by providing and advocating for effective wellness and holistic, recovery-based services that aid Veterans in daily living. The position orients new Veterans to the programs' services, hours, locations, staff, and other pertinent information necessary for the Veterans to understand how to effectively utilize the program services. The position assists Veterans to articulate personal recovery goals through the use of individual or group meetings. During these meetings, the position assists Veterans in identifying their skills, strengths, supports, and resources needed to aid them in achieving their recovery goals. The position collaborates with Veterans and the treatment team to develop and implement a personal wellness and recovery plan. The position assists Veterans in determining the steps needed to achieve their self-directed recovery goals and wellness. The position utilizes recovery tools to coach Veterans on relevant skills needed for self-management of their health condition(s) and pursuit of their personal wellness. The position monitors progress and assists with the execution of the recovery and

wellness plan, makes timely reports of progress, and presents new areas of concern to the treatment team. The position also contributes to the development of an effective discharge plan. The position observes behaviors that might indicate difficulty adapting or responding to treatment, completes appropriate documentation, and reports concerns to the treatment team in a timely manner. The position uses ongoing individual and group meetings to teach Veterans how to identify and combat negative self-talk and overcome fears by providing a forum that allows Veterans to share their experiences. When appropriate, the position shares stories about personal recovery experiences in relation to current struggles that the Veterans report. These discreet self disclosures made by the position facilitate Veterans' recovery by conveying hope that change

and recovery are possible. Utilizing his/her personal recovery experience, the position will: - Teach and role model the value of every individual's recovery experience.

  • Model effective coping techniques, holistic wellness, and self-help strategies.

  • Assist in obtaining services that suit the individual's personal recovery and wellness needs.

  • Assist Veterans in exploring their interests and options for making improvements in life functioning areas such as housing, employment, relationships, and community engagement (i.e. assist Veterans in exploring options for obtaining decent and affordable housing and make referrals to appropriate VA housing programs; support Veterans' vocational choices and refer them to appropriate resources to support employment).

  • Inform Veterans about VA and community supports and resources

  • Assist Veterans in developing empowerment skills, identifying strengths, and combating stigma through self-advocacy. This is accomplished through regular individual or group meetings and using role playing/modeling techniques.

  • May serve as liaison to community-based organizations to develop and/or foster Veterans' community integration, natural supports and self-reliant strategies.

  • May perform outreach activities to establish community partnerships that will provide healthcare services for the Veterans in the community and inform Veterans of the availability of those health care services and other benefits.

  • May assist Veterans in building social skills in the community that enhance community re-integration using techniques such as role playing and social skills training. When necessary, the position handles crisis interventions for Veterans and addresses other emergent situations through immediate consultation with the supervisor or most available clinical provider. These interventions are carefully documented and communicated to the multidisciplinary team in a timely manner. Performs other related duties as assigned. Promotion Potential: The selectee may be promoted to the full performance level without further competition when all regulatory, qualification, and performance requirements are met. Selection at a lower grade level does not guarantee promotion to the full performance level. Work Schedule: 0730 - 1600

Telework: Not Available

Virtual: This is not a virtual position.

Position Description/PD#: PEER SPECIALIST/PD00065-A, PD00066-A, PD00067-A, and PD00068-A

Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


Conditions of Employment


To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement, 04/13/2021. Time-In-Grade Requirement: Applicants who are current Federal employees and have held a GS grade any time in the past 52 weeks must also meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement. For a GS-06 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-05. For a GS-07 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-06. For a GS-08 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-07. For a GS-09 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-08. The grade may have been in any occupation, but must have been held in the Federal service. An SF-50 that shows your time-in-grade eligibility must be submitted with your application materials. If the most recent SF-50 has an effective date within the past year, it may not clearly demonstrate you possess one-year time-in-grade, as required by the announcement. In this instance, you must provide an additional SF-50 that clearly demonstrates one-year time-in-grade. Note: Time-In-Grade requirements also apply to former Federal employees applying for reinstatement as well as current employees applying for Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) appointment. BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR PEER SPECIALISTS a. Statutory Requirements. Section 405 of Public Law 110-387, as codified in 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(13), established that to be eligible to receive appointment to a Peer Specialist position, a person must: (1) be a veteran who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition; and(2) be certified by -(a) a not-for-profit entity engaged in peer specialist training as having met such criteria as the Secretary shall establish for a peer specialist position; or(b) a State as having satisfied relevant State requirements for a peer specialist position. b. Length of Experience as a Consumer of Mental Health Recovery Services. Veterans eligible under 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(13) must have spent a minimum of 1 year in personal recovery from a mental health condition. NOTE: You MUST provide copies of your DD-214, Peer Specialist Certification and documentation from your mental health provider verifying that you have spent a minimum of 1 year personal recovery from a mental health condition with your application package. You may qualify based on your experience and/or education as described below: Specialized Experience: You must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization. Examples of specialized experience would typically include, but are not limited to: GS-06: One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (GS-05), which is progressively responsible, identifying needs and providing individualized assistance and appropriate service to Veterans on less complicated cases without prior approval. The supervisor is kept informed of the progress of the work and is available for consultation. Completed work is evaluated for adequacy of methods, results, ability to solve new and changing problems, effectiveness in relations with others, and the ability to coordinate activities with other departments. Supervision is primarily received through the review of reports and discussions of progress on assigned cases. GS-07: One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (GS-06), which is progressively responsible, performing the full range of services involved in establishing eligibility for assistance; making initial and continuing eligibility determinations in all types of cases and authorizing grants to those who are eligible; developing pertinent information through interviews, correspondence, and home visits to support authorization of assistance to eligible individuals or to terminate applications of persons who are ineligible; and is responsible on a continuing basis for conducting regularly scheduled reviews of cases to update information on changes in the recipient's circumstances which affect his needs. GS-08: One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (GS-07), which is progressively responsible, taking the initiative in developing and implementing an appropriate plan of assistance and service and keeping the supervisor informed of any unusual problems that arise while working with a wide range of cases that involve a variety of individualized problems of a less serious nature. Supervision is usually limited to discussing progress of more serious cases in regularly scheduled conferences and a sampling review of case records and reports. GS-09: One year of specialized experience at the next lower grade level (GS-08), which is progressively responsible, taking the initiative in providing assistance and service and keeping the supervisor informed of the progress of cases assigned; planning programs of assistance and service for individuals and families incumbent works with, make continuing appraisals of progress of plans, give sustained effective help and encouragement, and evaluate changes in the family's or individual's situation that may affect assistance planning. Consults with his supervisor on unusual questions when incumbent wants conclusions reexamined or feels that adequate precedents for a proposed action have not been definitely established. Supervision is received mainly through review of reports and through periodic discussions of progress of assigned cases. OR, Education: Applicants may substitute education for the required experience. To qualify based on education, graduate education or a post-bachelor's degree internship meets the specialized experienced required for GS-6/9 ONLY in those instance where it is directly related to the work of the position. You must have: GS-06: Six (6) months of graduate education or a 1-year post-bachelor's degree internship meets the requirements for GS-06.

GS-07: One full year of graduate education meets the requirements for GS-07.

GS-08: One and one/half years of graduate education meets the requirements for GS-08.

GS-09: Two full years of graduate education or a master's degree meets the requirements for GS-09. You will be rated on the following Competencies for this position:

Customer ServiceInterpersonal SkillsProblem Solving Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. Note: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment. Physical Requirements: The applicant must be able to perform primarily light and sedentary duties with occasionally moderate physical demands, exercise patience, and control emotions, with reasonable accommodation if necessary, without endangering the health and safety of the applicant or others. (See also VA Directive and Handbook 5019.) Operation of a motor vehicle is required. For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/.


A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education. 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: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. 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. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html.

Additional Information

VA supports the use of telework as a way to help attract and retain talented individuals in public service, increase worker productivity, and better prepare the agency to operate during emergencies. This position may be authorized for telework. Telework eligibility will be discussed during the interview process. Receiving Service Credit or 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. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed. Special Employment Consideration: VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply, including those eligible for hiring under 5 CFR 213.3102(u), Schedule A, Appointment of persons with disabilities [i.e., intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities], and/or Disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. Contact the Agency Contact for information on how to apply under this appointment authority via the Selective Placement Coordinator. The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal/VA competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation (a copy of the agency notice, your most recent performance rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location) and be found well-qualified for this vacancy. To be well-qualified: applicants must possess experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the required competencies of the job. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. Placement Policy: The posting of this announcement does not obligate management to fill a vacancy or vacancies by promotion. The position may be filled by reassignment, change to lower grade, transfer, appointment, or reinstatement. Management may use any one or any combination of these methods to fill the position. 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. Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members. For more information on the "Who may apply" eligibility requirements, please refer to the OHRM Status Candidates and Other Candidate Definitions document. If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.