Employee Benefits Law Specialist

District of Columbia, D.C
Aug 13, 2019
Aug 20, 2019
Full Time


This position is located in the Department of Labor (DOL), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), in the Office of Health Plan Standards & Compliance Assistance (OHPSCA), a major component of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which administers and secures compliance with Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

- This position is inside the bargaining unit.

Learn more about this agency


This position is located in the Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance (OHPSCA), a major component of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), which administers and secures compliance with Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). OHPSCA's mission is to plan, direct, and carry out a program to provide policy and technical guidance regarding the positions of ERISA and other laws affecting group health plans.

The incumbent serves as an Employee Benefits Law Specialist. As a technical expert in OHPSCA, the incumbent: (1) drafts major precedent-setting and far-reaching interpretations, variances, opinions, and guidance concerning the group health plan provisions of ERISA; (2) provides technical advice and assistance to other components of EBSA and DOL, HHS, IRS, Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), other Federal and state agencies, and the public; (3) conducts extensive research; (4) recommends office policies and positions; (5) actively participates in the planning and execution of major regulation projects and other projects involving interpretations, advisory opinion, procedures, and forms; and (6) reviews work and provides guidance to lower level specialists in OHPSCA.

Major duties for this position include but are not limited to, the following:

Develops and writes complex and far-reaching interpretations, opinions, involved in applying ERISA and related laws to case situations and issues.

Evaluates and determines the sufficiency of the information, documents and arguments and issues submitted by plan administrators, fiduciaries, industry groups, plan participants and beneficiaries and their representatives, employers, employees, and special interest groups.

Performs research and evaluation needed in fact-finding and policy development, and drafts the rule-making documents for publication in the Federal Register. Analyzes and evaluates public comments, assesses data from a wide variety of sources, writes issue papers, and recommends agency actions or positions at appropriate stages of the project.

Conducts research and analyzes legal and policy precedent (i.e., including a review of relevant legislative history, existing law, regulations, agency opinions, court and administrative rules) to ensure that proposed positions are consistent with those previously developed.

Formulates and executes major regulatory and policy review and development projects which may require the incumbent to coordinate efforts of other ERISA, tax, legal and health care specialists to analyze complicated information; describe and compare policy alternatives; assess economic and political constraints; and present findings to policy makers, plan officials and the public.

Serves as a liaison and authoritative source of information and provides technical advice and guidance to other DOL offices, Congress, other Federal and state agencies, plan officials and representatives industry, health care, insurance, labor organizations and the public regarding the statutory and regulatory requirements governing ERISA.

Maintains liaison with the senior personnel of other Federal agencies including HHS, IRS, Treasury, as well as EOP and: (1) secures and furnishes technical advice or assistance; (2) provides interpretive guidance; and (3) identifies, differences in the interpretation of ERISA, PPACA, HIPAA, COBRA, GINA, WHCRA, Newborn' and Mothers' Health Protection Action Act, MHPAEA and an array of related laws affecting group health plans, potential regulatory or policy conflicts, and other problems of mutual concern.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - The employee may travel once or twice per year.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
14 - This position is at the Full Promotion Potential (FPL).


Conditions of Employment

  • Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
  • Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
  • U.S. Citizenship.
  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Position requires Public Trust-Low Risk Background Investigation.

Applicants must meet all legal and regulatory requirements. Reference the "Required Documents" section for additional requirements.


GS-14: Applicants must have 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to GS-13, in the Federal Service.

Specialized experience is defined as: Progressively responsible experience that demonstrated the ability to perform work in the field of employee benefit plans and/or health insurance. Such experience may have been gained in (1) management, administration, development, analysis, audit, financial management, or termination of such plans; or (2) in closely related work, such as health insurance.

Specialized experience may have been gained in government, employee benefit plan administration or consulting, a law firm, an actuarial or accounting firm, a labor union, a relevant trade association or research service, or an insurance company. Examples of qualifying specialized experience include:
  • Analysis and application of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and related laws, regulations, court decisions, and precedent rulings.
  • Development of employee benefit plans, petitions for exemptions, or requests for rulings under governing law.
  • Legal work, a substantial portion of which required interpretation of Federal laws and legal requirements concerning employee benefit plans, or in related fields as health insurance.
  • Auditing or accounting work that involved determining compliance with Federal and State laws governing employee benefit plans, or insurance.
  • Analysis of Federal laws or regulations, development of policy, and drafting of proposed changes in an employee benefit plan or a related function.


Education cannot be substitute for the required specialized experience at the GS-14 grade level.

Additional information

DOL seeks to attract and retain a high performing and diverse workforce in which employees' differences are respected and valued to better meet the varying needs of the diverse customers we serve. DOL fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, flexibility and fairness so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.


How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will be evaluated against the evaluation factors below and will be placed into a category based on your vacancy question responses.


Category A - Best Qualified - Meets the basic qualification requirements for the vacancy and has successful experience in the same or similar job that has demonstrated superior proficiency in applying critical competencies required by this position to work of increased levels of difficulty and complexity.

Category B - Well Qualified - Meets the basic qualification requirements for the vacancy and demonstrates satisfactory proficiency in the critical competencies required by this position.

Category C - Qualified - Meets the specialized experience described in the minimum qualifications requirements section of this announcement and demonstrates proficiency in the basic competencies.

Evaluation Factors (Competencies) - All qualified applicants will be evaluated on the following key competencies:

Oral/Written Communication - Expresses information to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately. Uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling to communicate information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a clear, succinct, and organized manner.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving - Employs common sense approaches to problem solving, e.g. identifying and considering issues, determining accuracy and relevance of information, as well as implementing alternative solution approaches, to resolve issues, deliver services and provide value.

Interpersonal Skills - Shows understanding, professionalism, courtesy, tact, empathy, concern, and politeness, even with individuals who are difficult, hostile, or distressed. Demonstrates team effectiveness with sensitivity to the differences of others; e.g. diversity, race, gender, disabilities, and other individual differences.

Technical Competence - Knowledge and application of the laws, regulations, court proceedings, precedents, interpretations, and exemptions governing ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code and the operation of employee benefit plans.

The information you provide may be verified by a review of your work experience and/or education, by checking references and through other means (ex. interview). The examining Human Resources Office (HRO) makes the final determination concerning applicant ratings. Your resume MUST provide sufficient information to substantiate your responses to the vacancy questions. If not, the HRO may amend your responses to more accurately reflect the level of competency indicated by the content of your resume. Your evaluation may also include a review by a Human Resources Specialist or panel and may include other assessments (ex. interview, panel review, written test, writing sample, etc.)

INFORMATION FOR ICTAP/CTAP ELIGIBLES ONLY: If you are eligible for special priority selection under ICTAP/CTAP, you must be well-qualified for the position to receive consideration. ICTAP/CTAP eligibles who are placed into Category B or higher will be considered "well-qualified".

Click Application of Veterans Preference for Category Rating Jobs for more information.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

The following documents must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the vacancy closing date. You are not required to submit a document if it does not apply to you. Warning: If you submit a document using the same document title, the 2nd submission will OVERWRITE the 1st submission. Also, do not upload password protected documents.

- Veterans Documents (if applicable): To be considered as a 5-point preference eligible, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty, DD214. Your DD-214 must show the type of discharge and dates of active duty. To claim 10-point preference, you must submit a copy of your DD214; an Application for 10-point Veteran's Preference, SF15; and the proof of entitlement of this preference which is normally an official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying to the present existence of the service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of your disability. (For active duty service members expecting honorable or general discharge or release within 120 days, click Active Duty ). Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference. For more information, go to: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hrp/vetguide/index.aspx

- Displaced Employee Placement Documents - Only required if requesting priority consideration under CTAP or ICTAP eligibility.

- Cover Letters are not mandatory and will not be used to verify experience, but may be submitted

Applicants selected for employment who are not current DOL employees will be required to provide proof of citizenship , and the E-Verify system will be used to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.