Job Opportunities

Eligibility Examiner

Vacancy Announcement:
Pay Series:


Opening Date:
Feb 12, 2020
Closing Date:
Mar 12, 2020
Number of Vacancies:
Position Type:
Full-time, permanent

Public Defender Service
Defender Services Office
500 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Who May Appy:
U.S. Citizens and those authorized to work in the United States

AD05/06/07 $39,291 - $63,267(equivalent to GS-05/06/07)

Promotion Potential: AD-07 (equivalent to GS-07)
The incumbent may be promoted without further competition upon completion of one year of exemplary performance, subject to approval of the PDS Director.

Organization Description:

The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is a federally funded, independent organization governed by an eleven-member Board of Trustees. PDS provides legal representation to individuals facing a loss of freedom in the local criminal, delinquency, and mental health systems in the District of Columbia. PDS’s approximately 214 employees, comprised of attorneys, social workers, investigative specialists, administrative, and technical staff, collaborate with each other to advance the PDS mission. PDS’s main office is located at 633 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. District of Columbia residency is not a requirement for employment.

Employment at the Public Defender Service (PDS) is neither federal nor District of Columbia government employment, and all employees are at-will.

Position Description:

This position is located in the Public Defenders Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), Defender Services Office (DSO). DSO offices are located in the D.C. Superior Court Moultrie Courthouse at 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Washington D.C.  Services provided by the DSO include: eligibility interviews of all defendants and juvenile respondents and their families; eligibility determinations for all defendants and respondents to determine what, if any, eligibility they may have for legal representation provided under Criminal Justice Act; verification of eligibility; assisting the court in the appointment of counsel process by coordinating the call-in list for available Panel attorneys, processing the lock-up list and assessing the availability of PDS attorneys, clinical students and pro bono attorneys; identifying conflicts in legal representation; answering inquiries from the public, attorneys, court personnel and the Judiciary; and the collection of statistics on demographics of arrestees. 

Because the DSO provides critical technical support to the court for the initial appearance of arrestees, the DSO days of operation mirror those of arraignment court. Thus, the DSO is operational on all Saturdays and on all holidays, and management and staff coverage is ensured using a rotating schedule. Incumbent must work Saturdays and any day Arraignment Court is operational, on a rotating basis. 


Essential Duties:

Major Duties:

  • Writes, or assists with writing, the lock-up interview sheets. Interviews defendants and juvenile delinquents in the cellblocks when made available by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.Locates and interviews family members as needed.
  • Elicits information from each interviewee as to financial status for the eligibility determination and other individual demographic information for input into the PDS statistical database.
  • Organizes interview sheets and distributes to all applicable courtrooms. Assures that every adult defendant and juvenile respondent first appearing in court has been interviewed. Completes random eligibility verification using available databases.
  • On a rotational basis or when assigned, works at a counter approximately 4ft in height, handling a variety of inquiries and requests from the public and attorneys. May periodically prepare the attorney cut-off and limited lists.
  • When summoned, interviews defendants in courtrooms, testifies with respect to information obtained through the interview process, and explains to judicial officers the office's eligibility determination for a particular defendant.
  • Inputs interview data into PDS databases.
  • Incumbent rotates work assignments, lockups, and counter duties.
  • Completes other duties as assigned.
Required Qualifications:
  • High school degree or equivalent is required.
  • Must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Candidates must be able to: effectively communicate orally with all who come in contact with DSO; interact tactfully and diplomatically with others; gather and assemble facts for analysis; and work well under pressured circumstances.
  • Applicants must have accurate typing skills and possess basic data entry skills.
  • To qualify for Grade 5, one year of general experience is required.To qualify at Grade 6, two years of general experience is required, which must have been at a level of difficulty comparable to the GS-5 level. To qualify for Grade 7, one year of specialized experience is required.

General experience is progressively responsible clerical, office or other work that indicates the possession of, or the ability to acquire, the particular knowledge and skills needed to perform the clerical duties such as filing, telephone usage, typing, record keeping, etc.  Specialized experience is progressively responsible experience that is in, or closely related to, the work of the position that has provided the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to apply a body of rules, regulations, decisions, or statutes; extracting data from various sources; and dealing with people for purposes such as assessing eligibility for and advising on benefits and obligations for social services or similar purposes. 

Other Employment Conditions and Requirements:  Incumbent will be required to work a tour of duty from Monday through Friday beginning at 8:00am and working until 4:30pm.  Additionally, incumbent will be required to work a minimum of two Saturdays each month; work during inclement weather; work in rotation with other DSO staff on all federal and local holidays (e.g. Christmas, D.C. Emancipation Day); work rarely on evenings and Sundays; work when Superior Court’s statutory courtrooms are operational. Additionally, the incumbent will be required to have direct contact and conduct interviews with individuals charged with serious crimes in a secure cellblock operated by the US Marshals Service. This position will require the incumbent to handle the physical demands of this position to include but not limited to: frequently walking to and from the courtrooms and cellblocks and frequently using stairs, elevators, and escalators. This position also requires strict adherence to ALL safety procedures enforced by the US Marshals Service and court security personnel.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Knowledge of and skill in applying basic business office rules, procedures, and operations sufficient to perform a full range of support tasks within a legal office environment.
  • Customer service experience is strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge of MS Office Suites is highly preferred.
  • Candidates with bilingual Spanish/English and/or American Sign Language skills are strongly encouraged to apply.
Application Evaluation:

How you will be evaluated: Your application package includes your letter of interest, resume and requested supporting documents. Please ensure your application package includes detailed information to support your qualifications for this position. Failure to provide sufficient evidence in your application package and requested supporting documents can result in a rejection of your application package.

Rating: Your application package will be rated and ranked among other applicants, based on your experience, education, training, performance appraisals, and awards relevant to the duties of this position. Your rating can be lowered if your application package is not supported by the requested documents.

Referral: If you are among the top qualified candidates, your application package will be referred to a hiring manager for consideration at which time you may be invited to participate in a selection interview.

* PDS reserves the right to interview prior to the closing date.


PDS is funded by federal appropriations, and employees are entitled to participate in federal benefits plans, federal retirement systems, and the workers compensation program. Transferring federal employees will receive recognition of creditable federal service for leave accrual and retirement (if applicable) purposes. Benefits include:

Federal Employees Retirement Systems (retirement annuity)
Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K program)
Federal Employees Health Benefits (health insurance)
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (life insurance)
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program
Flexible Spending Accounts (for health care and dependent care)
Long Term Care
Public Transportation Subsidy (funding contingent)
Parking Space Lottery
Employee Assistance Program
Federal Occupational Health (access to health clinic and services)

How To Apply:

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Cover Letter addressing interest in and qualifications for position and explaining why leaving current, or why left most recent, employment
  • Resume
  • Three professional references
  • Most recent performance appraisal (if an appraisal is not available, please address this in your cover letter)

Please submit your application package via email as MS Word or PDF documents to the following email address: The vacancy number and title of the vacancy MUST APPEAR on the subject line of the email. Application packages submitted with missing information can affect referring application package to the hiring manager. PDS does not accept application packages by mail or fax.

For applicants with disabilities, this organization provides reasonable accommodations which will be decided on a case-by-case basis. To request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or interview process, please contact Jenni Salas, HR Specialist at (202) 824-2420 or at

PDS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and E-Verify Participating Agency.