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Hiring Programs for Veterans

Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants. Veterans' preference applies, to virtually all new appointments in both the competitive and excepted service. Veterans' preference does not guarantee veterans a job and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.


Veterans' preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. Please know that not all active duty service may qualify for veterans' preference.

Only veterans discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions are eligible for veterans' preference. This means you must have been discharged under an honorable or general discharge.

If you are a "retired member of the armed forces" you are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless you are a disabled veteran OR you retired below the rank of major or its equivalent.

There are basically two types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible) and non-disabled (5 point preference eligibles).

You are a 5 point preference eligible if your active duty service meets any of the following:
 
  1. For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a future date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
  2. Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
  3. For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976.
  4. In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.

You are a 10 point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you:

 

  1. have a service connected disability, OR
  2. received a Purple Heart.
    If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor.


Special Hiring Authorities
These special authorities represent a few of many appointing authorities that agencies can use entirely at their discretion. Veterans are not entitled to appointment under any of these authorities. Check the vacancy announcements, which should clearly state "Who May Apply."


Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA) is an excepted authority that allows agencies, to appoint eligible veterans without competition. If you:
 
  • are in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; OR
  • are a disabled veteran, OR
  • are in receipt of an Armed forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR
  • are a recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), AND 
  • separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), you are VRA eligible.
 
You can be appointed under this authority at any grade level up to and including a GS-11 or equivalent. This is an excepted service appointment. After successfully completing 2 years, you will be converted to the competitive service. Veterans' preference applies when using the VRA authority.

You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," is preferable. If claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a Standard Form (SF-15) [PDF - 152 KB], "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference."

Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA)
Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA) is a competitive service appointing authority that can only be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions. It can not be used to fill excepted service positions. It allows veterans to apply to announcements that are only open to so called "status" candidates, which means "current competitive service employees."
 
To be eligible for a VEOA appointment, your latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), AND you must be either:
 
  • a preference eligible (defined in title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3)), OR
  • a veteran who substantially completed 3 or more years of active service.
 
When agencies recruit from outside their own workforce under merit promotion (internal) procedures, announcements must state VEOA is applicable. As a VEOA eligible you are not subject to geographic area of consideration limitations. When applying under VEOA, you must rate and rank among the best qualified when compared to current employee applicants in order to be considered for appointment. Your veterans' preference does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

Current or former Federal employees meeting VEOA eligibility can apply. However, current employees applying under VEOA are subject to time-in- grade restrictions like any other General Schedule employee.

You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," is preferable. If claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a Standard Form (SF-15) [PDF - 152 KB], "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference."

30% or More Disabled Veteran
30% or More Disabled Veteran allows any veteran with a 30% or more service-connected disability to be non-competitively appointed.

You are eligible if you:
 
  • retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; OR
  • you have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.

This authority can be used to make permanent, temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or term (more than 1 year, but not more than 4) appointments in the competitive service. There is no grade level restriction.


When using this authority to appoint on a permanent basis, you are first placed on a time limited appointment of at least 60 days and then converted to a permanent appointment at management's discretion. When the authority is used for temporary or term appointments, you will not be converted to a permanent appointment. 
 
You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," is preferable. If claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a Standard Form (SF-15) [PDF - 152 KB], "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference."

Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a VA Training Program
Disabled veterans eligible for training under the VA vocational rehabilitation program may enroll for training or work experience at an agency under the terms of an agreement between the agency and VA. While enrolled in the VA program, the veteran is not a Federal employee for most purposes but is a beneficiary of the VA.

Upon successful completion, the host agency and VA give the veteran a Certificate of Training showing the occupational series and grade level of the position for which trained. The Certificate of Training allows any agency to appoint the veteran noncompetitively under a status quo appointment which may be converted to career or career-conditional at any time.

Schedule A Appointing Authority
Though not specifically for veterans, the Schedule A authority for people with disabilities, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), is an excepted authority that agencies can use to appoint eligible veterans who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability. To be eligible, you must:

Show proof of your disability. Documentation may be from any licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. Territory to practice medicine), a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private), or any Federal or State agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits;

Your medical documentation should distinguish between disabilities that are temporary, or transient, versus disabilities, which are chronic, permanent, on-going, or unresolved with no end in sight.

Have a certification of job readiness. Certification of job readiness (i.e., that you are likely to perform the duties of the job you wish to perform despite the presence of your disability) may be from any licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. Territory to practice medicine), a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private), or any Federal or State agency, or agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.

Agencies can use this authority, at their discretion, to appoint you at any grade level and for any job (time-limited or permanent) for which you qualify. Veterans' preference applies when agencies hire individuals under this authority. After 2 years of satisfactory service, the agency may convert you, without competition, to the competitive service.
 
You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of your DD214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," is preferable. If you are claiming 10 point preference as a disabled veteran, you will need to submit a Standard Form (SF-15) [PDF - 152 KB], "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference."

For further details please visit the FEDS HIRE VETS website.