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They do pay after one year you can apply. You have to work in that facility for 3 yrs or you have to pay 3x the amount they paid.
Can someone describe the VA's salary negotiation process for experienced social workers?
You can negotiate the steps with HR not the grades. Step 1 is the lowest salary for any grade, but if you are making more money than what they are offering. You can request for an higher step based of previous experience. They may ask for a copy of your paysubs so they can see your salary. If approved HR would sign off on it.
The highest step is 10 which has the highest salary.