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Employee Benefits Investigator

Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

in San Francisco CA / Seattle WA / Telecommute

Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Open & closing dates: 08/09/2019 to 08/23/2019

Pay scale & grade: GS 09 - 11

Salary: $56,051 to $98,176 per year

Several vacancies, in San Francisco CA and Seattle WA

Telework eligible? Yes as determined by agency policy



Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is responsible for planning, directing and administering a program of enforcement to ensure maximum compliance with Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and criminal provisions of US Code as they relate to employee benefit plans. Offices initiate, execute and coordinate civil/criminal investigations of alleged violations of ERISA and conduct financial investigations of all types of employee benefit plans & related entities.


GS-09: Employee Benefits Investigator will complete the following tasks under close supervision of a supervisor or higher level investigator: 

  • Plans, conducts and coordinates civil and criminal investigations or reviews of small, single or multi-employer plans or service providers.  Participates, as a team member, in the conduct of larger reviews.
  • Researches and reviews a variety of background materials, plan reports, case files of previous investigations, and other information related to the entity being reviewed.  With assistance from supervisor/higher level investigator, helps to determine areas to be covered and the investigative methodologies to be used.
  • Initiates contacts and holds discussions with plan officials, their financial/legal representative, and banking, insurance company, securities and investment firms, and real estate and other fiduciary and service provider representatives.
  • Examines records, plan and service provider operations, financial/accounting systems and operations, reports, and other data necessary.  Applies applicable provisions of ERISA and related Federal civil and criminal statutes, related regulations, case precedents, and exemption and court decisions.  Determine if transactions conducted, plan policies and operations, and financial interrelationships meet the specific regulatory requirements and standards for prudent management of funds.  Verifies and corroborates facts and statements, obtains relevant evidence, establishes reasonable judgments and recommendations.
  • Develops complete investigative reports, using computers/computer software applications, or as a team member, portions of analyses of facts and issues; citation of applicable ERISA provisions and related legislation and regulations; support of findings with statements, depositions, affidavits, financial records, reports of financial transactions, etc.; and recommendations for closure or further action.
  • Discusses findings with supervisor and/or higher level investigator and makes recommendations that may serve as the basis for negotiation of voluntary compliance and/or other actions.

GS-11: Employee Benefits Investigator will complete the following tasks with some supervision from a supervisor or higher level investigator:

  • Plans, conducts and coordinates moderately difficult civil and criminal investigations of health, pension and other employee benefit plans, service providers, trust departments, and other financial entities having relationships and conducting transactions with the plan.
  • Determines the scope and investigative approaches to be taken for each investigation.  Researches and reviews targeting data, reporting and disclosure documents, case files and other background information; determines investigative scope and approaches as well as setting forth the issues(s) being investigated, sections of ERISA believed to be violated, references to relevant interpretations and regulations, required elements of proof, estimated time for completion, records to be reviewed, interviews to be conducted, information and documentation to be collected, and possible remedies needed for correction.
  • Initiates and arranges for meetings, conferences, and discussions with plan officials, service providers, and their financial and legal representative and conducts formal interviews.  Establishes and maintains effective relationships with others.
  • Examines and analyzes: employee benefit plan financial records, trustee meeting minutes, claims data, and other plan records.
  • Prepares comprehensive and well-documented investigative reports, using computers/computer software applications and recommendations for disposition and/or the necessity for additional investigation, civil litigation or criminal prosecution.  Clearly and effectively conveys information (orally/writing) taking into account the audience and the nature of the information. Actively listens to others; persuades others to accept recommendations.
  • Participates with higher graded investigators in the negotiation of corrective actions with plan officials, fiduciaries, and their legal representatives.  Under the guidance of a higher level investigator, develops recommendations for settlements for the Regional Director's approval.
  • Works with the legal staff of the Department's Office of the Solicitor (SOL) or Department of Justice in preparing cases for civil litigation and/or criminal prosecution and developing documentary evidence. May serve as a witness for the Agency civil and criminal court trials and may testify before Federal/state grand juries concerning facts and evidence developed during criminal investigations. Reviews and recommends approval of out of court settlement negotiated by the SOL.


Conditions of Employment

  • Requires a probationary period if the requirement has not been met.
  • Appointment to this position may require a background investigation.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Requires a valid drivers license.

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


Applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the Federal Service or meet the education requirement or have an equivalent combination of education and experience.

For the GS-9 level, Applicants must possess 1 year of specialized experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-07 grade level in the Federal Service.

Specialized experience is experience gained as a compliance inspector, analyst, planner or investigator whose work is related to the field of employee benefit plans and/or Federal and/or state financial regulatory statutes; work directly involved in assessing or assuring finance-related regulatory compliance such as financial auditing, provided the experience clearly demonstrated the application of the laws, regulations and administrative procedures involved in assessing and assuring compliance and/or professional auditing and accounting work that involved determining compliance with Federal and State laws governing health and pension plans, securities, banking, insurance, or corporations.


Master's or equivalent graduate degree;


two (2) full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree;


LL.B. or J.D., if related.

Selective Factor (GS-11):

To be considered minimally qualified for the GS-11 you must have knowledge of ERISA or knowledge of similarly complex federal or state financial regulatory programs.  Candidates must show this knowledge in their resume to receive further consideration.  

In addition, an in depth knowledge of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as working knowledge of other Federal and State health care laws and regulations are desired, but not required.  

Also for the GS-11 level, Applicants must possess 1 year of specialized experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in the Federal Service.

Specialized experience is experience that provided knowledge of ERISA rules, regulations and enforcement and regulatory policies and procedures, as well as Federal criminal statutes and the Federal rules of evidence; knowledge and experience in investigative techniques and methods of financial examination in order to obtain the necessary information to assess employee benefit plan operations, fiduciary conduct, and individual transactions.


Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree;


three (3) full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree;


LL.M., if related.

Combining Education and Experience:

Education and experience can be combined to meet the minimum qualification requirements.  Note: Only graduate education in excess of the amount required for the next lower grade level can be combined with the appropriate level of experience to qualify for positions at grades GS-9 and GS-11. 

For additional information, refer to the Office of Personnel Management Operating Manual for Qualification Standards, Group Coverage Qualification Standards for Administrative and Management Positions.


Any applicant falsely claiming an academic degree from an accredited school will be subject to actions ranging from disqualification from federal employment to removal from federal service.

How to Apply

The text above consists of excerpts of a job ad currently online at USAJOBS.gov. Much of the omitted information is critically important, such as the application instructions and complete qualification requirements.

See the full text of the USAJOBS.gov ad at their web page:


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