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Veteran Preference for Federal Jobs | Military to Civilian Resume

Veteran Preference for Federal Jobs

Veteran Preference for Federal Jobs

Since the time of the Civil War, veterans of the Armed Forces have been given some degree of preference in appointments to Federal jobs. Recognizing their sacrifice, Congress enacted laws to prevent veterans seeking Federal employment from being penalized for their time in military service. Veterans’ preference recognizes the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served their country in uniform, restores veterans to a favorable competitive position for Government employment, and acknowledges the larger obligation owed to disabled veterans.Veterans’ preference is not so much a reward for being in uniform as it is a way to help make up for the economic loss suffered by those who answered the nation’s call to arms. Historically, preference has been reserved by Congress for those who were either disabled or who served in combat areas. Eligible military veterans receive many advantages in Federal employment, including preference for initial employment and a higher retention standing in the event of layoffs. However, the veterans’ preference laws do not guarantee the veteran a job, nor do they give veterans preference in internal agency actions such as promotion, transfer, reassignment, and reinstatement.Veterans’ preference in its present form comes from the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944, as amended, and is now codified in various provisions of title 5, United States Code. By law, veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring from competitive lists of eligibles and also in retention during reductions in force.Preference applies in hiring for virtually all jobs, whether in the competitive or excepted service.In addition to receiving preference in competitive appointments, veterans may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments for which only they are eligible.Note: The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 clarified the scope of the term “veteran” for the purposes of determining who is entitled to veterans’ preference. OPM is in the process of revising its regulations to conform to this clarification.To receive preference, a veteran must have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge).

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