Anyone know about the VA? — The Bump
Military Families

Anyone know about the VA?

DH is just finishing up his Army service.  He's applied and been offered a job as a nurse at a VA hospital out of state.  Can anyone tell us about the pay and benefits?  He's been trying to get ahold of someone in the HR dept, but as usual, it's taking forever.  We heard that it can take 2-3 months before they get all his background checks and stuff done so he can start work.  Any experience with this?  He's been a Combat Medic, but finished up his Bachelor's in July and has been interning as a nurse at the hospital on post since July.  Will his 4 years as a medic be counted as experience and increase his pay?  What other factors go into this decision?  What can we expect to pay for insurance for a family of 3?

Thanks for your help!

Re: Anyone know about the VA?

  • Its been a while since I worked for the VA, but here is some quick info. He should be given credit for his prior time, but his starting pay would be determined by his years of experience as a nurse, where you are located and what types of incentives they are offering at the time for that location. I can't tell you about the insurance for federal employees because we have Tricare, but it is still a good insurance plan. The hiring process is a bit brutal and can move very slowly, but once you are in the system, its great. I found a bunch of info by googling va employee benefits. This link gives some good info about it too.

     https://www.vacareers.va.gov/why-choose-va/benefits/index.asp

    I wish I could think of more to help you out. Hope this info helps though.

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  • Check out this website for the information you're asking about:

     https://www.usa.gov/Federal-Employees/Benefits.shtml#Benefits_and_Insurance_Programs

    His health insurance will not be free like on active duty, but he will pay for it with pre-tax dollars (thus reducing his taxable income).  Same with dental.  I recommend you look at the flexible spending accounts - for anticipated out of pocket medical needs as well as child care.  Again, it allows you to use pre-tax dollars for these expenses.

    Your husband will also be entitled to use the VA for his own healthcare for five years, possibly longer depending on his eligibility.  That can help you with out of pocket medical expenses.  They'll tell him about that as he transitions off active duty.

    He'll also get 5% matching on his TSP contributions, something most active duty personnel don't get.  Definitely take advantage of that free money!

    His prior service will be used to determine his starting salary - based on his level of experience for that job.  It's not a simple mathematical formula.  His prior service will also allow him to start with more vacation days.  He'll also have an opportunity to use those 4 years toward his federal civilian retirement if he chooses to buy into the system, but he has plenty of time to decide about that. 

    When he inprocesses as a civilian employee they'll provide him with information on all his benefits and some time to decide. 

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