Paralegal Specialist

Woodlawn, Maryland
Sep 18, 2021
Sep 25, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Office of Program Law, Management Information and Process Analysis Staff.

Learn more about this agency


  • Screens incoming complaints to determine the basis of the lawsuit to determine what action is required. Determines which complaints can be handled under the usual procedure and which should be called to the attention of the Division Director.
  • [cont] Opens the case file in the national docket system, reviews the entries to ensure they are correct and complete, and then makes any needed corrections and/or additions. Initiates action for the filing of answers by informing the
  • [cont] Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), Civil Action Branch (CAB) of the filing and service of a district court complaint. Assigns cases, if appropriate, and monitors them.
  • Responds to inquiries of both a routine and controversial nature from U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Department of Justice entities, other SSA components including the Office of Civil Actions and the CABs of ODAR,
  • [cont] litigants, plaintiffs, plaintiffs' attorneys, etc.
  • Monitors cases to assure that pleadings, such as answers, briefs, and other legal documents are filed within due dates established by court orders, local court rules, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
  • Responsible for the proper identification of court orders and the effectuation of the payment of benefits. Responsible for interpreting court orders and consulting with OGC attorneys when the court order is not clear.
  • [cont] As needed, obtains clarification from appropriate court staff.
  • Notifies and provides copies of the court orders to the CABs of ODAR for remands; determines and notifies the appropriate program service center (PSC) concerning affirmances, dismissals, reversals, 406(b) attorney fee orders;
  • [cont] and identifies and notifies the appropriate regional SSI coordinator concerning reversals.
  • Emails orders for calculation and payment of benefits and 406(b) fees. Emails remands to appropriate components, monitors compliance with court-imposed time limits, and serves as the initial point of contact for all related issues and inquiries.
  • Responsible for overall coordination of case flow. Advises the Division Director and/or staff on all matters concerning the control and coordination of the flow of cases.
  • Responsible for maintenance of adequate records and statistical data. These records and data are used in preparing management and information reports for the Division Director and the Associate General Counsel for Program Law.
  • Locates case files and reviews contents to ensure closing documents are contained therein. Prepares boxes and organizes files for archiving. Requests accession number from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
  • [Cont] Upon receipt of accession number, sends boxes to NARA. Enters NARA locator information into OGC's docketing system. Assists attorneys in recalling archived files from NARA.
  • Receives, controls, and processes all electronic correspondence received by the Office of Program Law to determine the nature of the correspondence and who should prepare the response.
  • Receives and releases all electronic court filings for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This involves reviewing the work of OGC staff attorneys and Special Assistants to the U.S. Attorneys to ensure that it's correct and complete.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • U.S. Citizenship required.
  • Selective Service Registration: If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. See
  • Background and/or security investigation may be required.
  • Job offers are contingent on background / security investigation results.
  • Federal employees must be in good standing.
  • Federal employees must have a successful performance rating.
  • Selectees may be required to serve a 1-year probationary period.
  • All application materials must be received by the closing date.
  • Official Personnel Folders will not be reviewed.
  • Requests for copies of application documents will not be accepted.
  • All application forms submitted become the property of SSA Human Resources.


Applicants for this GS-9 level position must have at least one of the following:
  • 52 weeks of specialized experience at the GS-7 level, or equivalent, which is in or related to the work of the position to be filled and has equipped applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position. Such experience includes legal assistance duties which include researching and summarizing data for the use of attorneys, assisting with the preparation of legal documents, and/or drafting and editing memorandum, research reports, and correspondence relating to cases.
  • A master's or equivalent graduate degree (e.g., LL.B. or J.D., if related); OR
  • 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education (generally at least 36 semester hours) leading to a master's or equivalent graduate degree (e.g., LL.B. or J.D., if related).; OR
  • A combination of relevant experience and graduate level education that together meet 100% of the requirements for this position.
Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement.

Applicants for promotion must have 52 weeks at GS-7.

Time in grade requirement must be met by the closing date of this announcement.

NOTE: You must submit a transcript to substantiate claimed education. (No transcript is required if you are qualifying on the basis of experience alone.)


PROOF OF EDUCATION: If you are qualifying on the basis of education or satisfying an educational requirement, submit a copy of your transcripts that includes your name, the name of the educational institution, course title(s), number of credits, grade, and date of completion. Unofficial transcripts or screenshots of electronic/web transcripts with the required information will be accepted at the time of application. You must submit your transcripts according to the application submission details of this announcement. Documents will not be accepted via email or regular mail. If selected, you may be required to provide your official college transcripts prior to the effective date of the personnel action placing you into the new position.

Foreign Education: If your transcripts show education completed in foreign colleges or universities, you must also provide documentation that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in a conventional/accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university.

For GS-9: Master's or equivalent graduate degree, or successful completion of at least two academic years of progressively higher graduate education in a field that is directly related to the position, or LL.B. or J.D. in a field that is directly related to the position.

Combining Education and Experience: Experience and education as described above may be combined to meet the minimum qualification requirements. Experience and education will be computed as percentages of the overall requirements and must equal to 100 percent when combined. Only graduate education in excess of the amount required for the next lower grade level may be used to qualify applicants for positions at the grade GS-9.

Note: One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school you attended has determined to represent one year of study. If this information cannot be obtained from your school, we will consider 18 semester/27 quarter hours to be equal to one year of full-time study.

Additional information

WHO MAY APPLY: Applications will only be accepted from applicants eligible for one of the following categories.
  • Federal employees currently serving under career or career conditional appointments;
  • Federal employees currently serving under the following types of appointments: Schedule A, Reg. 213.3102 (U) appointments for individuals with disabilities; Veterans Recruitment Appointments; and time limited appointments for veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more;
  • Former Federal employees eligible for reinstatement (i.e., those who have career status or separated from a career-conditional appointment less than 3 years ago);
  • Current or former Federal employees eligible under the Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP); or
  • Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) Eligibles (i.e., Preference-eligible veterans OR veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous service).
  • Federal employees serving under excepted service appointments with competitive service compatibility (e.g. Postal Service, Foreign Service, an agency with an interchange agreement, etc.) may be eligible to apply. Please visit Excepted Service Appointments with Competitive Service Compatibility for more information.
NOTE: Excepted service employees serving under Schedule A appointments for Attorney positions or Pathways Programs appointments (Presidential Management Fellows, Recent Graduates, and Interns) are not eligible for consideration.

Position to be filled under the provisions of the Management Officials Promotion Plan . The best-qualified list for this vacancy may be used to fill the same or similar positions in a component(s) under the same Deputy Commissioner. Additional selections may be made within 6 months of the date the best qualified list is issued.

LOCALITY PAY: Salary will be set in accordance with locality pay provisions. Candidates currently receiving a higher locality pay than the office applied for are advised that should they be selected, they will lose entitlement to the higher locality pay.

This position is eligible for telework
Relocation expenses will not be paid.

This is a high risk public trust position. The selected employee will be required to complete a Standard Form 85P, Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions, in order to have the appropriate investigation conducted, unless the employee has been previously certified eligible to occupy a position at this level.

How You Will Be Evaluated

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

Applicants will be rated based on the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
  • Knowledge of the legal policy/procedures involving court case litigation documents...Maximum Points: 60
  • Ability to use a management information system...Maximum Points: 60
  • Knowledge of completed case file procedures....Maximum Points: 60
  • Ability to use an online/electronic court filing system...Maximum Points: 60
  • Ability to communicate both orally and in writing...Maximum Points: 60
Total Points: 300

Applicants will be assessed using the rating criteria listed in the following link:

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
High Risk (HR)

Trust determination process

Required Documents

Your resume must provide all of the information necessary to make qualifications and eligibility determinations (e.g., experience related to your qualifications for this position, grade levels and dates of your current and prior positions, etc.). SSA employees may submit an SSA-45 .

Your resume must specifically demonstrate, in your own words, the possession of the required experience related to the minimum qualifications, selective placement factors and/or evaluation criteria. Information that is copied or restated language from the vacancy announcement, rating criteria, KSAs and/or position description will not be considered. If this occurs, you may lose consideration for one or more grade levels or found ineligible.

See information provided in the Education section of this announcement for details and requirements.

If you are a current or former Federal employee, you must submit a Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) that that reflects your grade/step, possession of time-in-grade (e.g., a Within-Grade Increase or Promotion/Reassignment dated more than one year ago), and career or career-conditional tenure in the competitive service. You may need to submit more than one SF-50 to prove possession of time-in-grade. Current SSA employees are not required to submit an SF-50.

If you are a former Federal employee with reinstatement eligibility, you must also submit your separation SF-50 showing your separation was not for performance or conduct reasons.

If you are a current Federal employee, you must submit a copy of your most recent performance appraisal. You must also include an explanation if you have changed agencies and have not yet received a performance appraisal from your new agency. If you are a new Federal employee who has not yet received a performance rating, you must upload an explanation.

Current SSA employees and VEOA applicants are not required to submit performance appraisals.

The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) includes those eligible for veterans' preference OR have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 or more years of continuous service, including veterans who were separated shortly before completing the required 3-year period. For more information visit the Vet Guide .

If you are claiming veterans' preference , you must submit a copy of your military discharge certificate (DD-214 member 4 copy preferred) or an official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty. To be acceptable, the document must contain dates and show Character of Service. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference based on a service-connected disability, you must also submit an Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference (SF 15) and the required documentation specified on the reverse of the SF-15. Preference will be granted based on the documents received.

If you are a current active duty military member who does not have a DD-214 and are claiming preference under the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act, you must submit certification from the Armed Forces indicating that you will be discharged or released under honorable conditions from active duty within 120 days of the date on the certification. Certifications must be on letterhead from the appropriate military branch and include the following information: military dates of service and expected discharge or release date, the character of service, military rank, type of discharge, and date when terminal leave will begin. Certifications must be signed by or under the direction of military members' military personnel offices, unit commanders, or higher headquarters.

NOTE: If you are a current Federal employee eligible under VEOA, you are subject to the time-in-grade requirement and must submit an SF-50 as required above.

If you are applying for selection priority under ICTAP, you must submit one of the following as proof of eligibility: a separation notice; a Notice of Personnel Action (SF-50) documenting your separation; an agency certification that you cannot be placed after injury compensation has been terminated; an OPM notification that your disability annuity has been terminated; or a Military Department or National Guard Bureau notification that you are retired under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456.

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.