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Home » FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I claim Veterans' preference?

A. If you are claiming Veterans' preference, the following documentation must be submitted with your application. Failure to do so will result in not having Veterans' preference applied.

If you are claiming 5-Points Preference, the following must be submitted:

  • DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (must show your character of service upon discharge)

If you are claiming 10-Point Preference, the following must be submitted:

  • DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (must show your character of service upon discharge)
  • SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference (must be complete)
  • Letter from the VA Regional Office stating what your percentage of disability is. It is not necessary to send documentation of what your specific disabilities are.
  • Purple Heart recipients: Purple Heart must be listed on your DD214 or other official documentation.

If you are using your spouse, son or daughter's 10-Point Preference, you must submit:

  • DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (must show their character of service upon discharge)
  • SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference (must be complete)
  • Letter from the VA Regional Office showing that your spouse is unemployable/100-percent service-connected
  • If deceased, a copy of the death certificate
Q. Is there a limit to the number of times I can use my Veterans' preference when applying for Federal jobs?

A. No. There is no limit on how many times you can apply and claim an entitlement to Veterans' preference. However, it is important to remember that Veterans' preference does not apply when the agency is using merit promotion procedures to fill a position.

Q. Does Veterans' preference apply to appointments made under VEOA?

A. No. Veterans' preference does not apply to appointments using VEOA.

Q. I am a current Federal employee; can I use my Veterans' preference when applying for vacancy announcements open to all U.S. citizens?

A. Yes. There is no limit to the number of times you can use Veterans' preference.

Q. I am currently on active duty and will not get my DD 214 until I am separated or retired. Is there any other official documentation that I can submit with an application package in lieu of the DD 214 to verify that I am eligible for Veterans’ preference or one of the special hiring authorities for Veterans?

A. Yes – You can request a Statement of Service through your Military Personnel Office. The Statement of Service will need to list your dates of military service, character of service, and expected date of separation. If you have been awarded a service-connected disability rating from your branch of military service, include the disability rating in your Statement of Service.

Q. What is the Standard Form (SF-15) application for 10-point Veterans' Preference?

A. The SF-15 is used by Federal agencies and OPM examining offices to adjudicate an individual’s claims for Veterans' preference. Veterans and certain family members who claim 10-point preference must fill out and submit the SF-15, to include supporting documentation when applying for Federal positions.

Q. Where can I find the SF-15 to submit as part of my application package?

A. The SF-15 can be found on OPM’s Electronic Forms page at http://www.fedshirevets.gov/pdf/SF15.pdf

Q. How do I obtain the signature for the certifying official on the SF-15?

A. The certifying officer block on the SF-15 is signed by the agency representative. You do not need to have this signed when submitting with your application.

Q. Where do I send the completed SF-15?

A. The SF-15 and any other requested documentation is submitted to the agency where you are applying for employment.

Q. Who determines eligibility for Veterans' preference?

A. Congress determines eligibility for Veterans’ preference through law in Title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 (5 USC 2108). However, the Federal agency to which a Veteran applies for employment will adjudicate claims for Veterans’ preference. The agency will request a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other acceptable documentation in order to adjudicate claims for Veterans' preference.

Q. I served on active duty in the armed forces. Am I able to claim Veterans’ preference when applying for Federal jobs?

A. Maybe. Not all Veterans are considered Veterans for the purpose of federal civilian employment under Title 5 United States Code section 2108 and not all active-duty service qualifies for Veterans' preference. Veterans’ preference is based on dates of active-duty service, receipt of campaign badges or Purple Heart, or having a service-connected disability.

Q. What determines whether I am eligible to claim 5-point or 10-point preference?

A. You are a 5-point preference eligible if your active-duty service meets any of the following:

  • 180 or more consecutive days, 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
  • Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
    • 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976, OR
    • 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:

  • have a service connected disability, OR
  • received a Purple Heart.

If you are still unsure on your ability to claim Veterans’ preference eligibility, you may also visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/vetpref/mservice.htm

Q. I have never been in the military however; my spouse is a Veteran and currently works for the federal government. Am I able to claim Veterans’ preference as a spouse when applying for federal jobs?

A. No. When the Veteran is able to use his or her entitlement to Veterans’ preference in federal employment, the spouse may not use that entitlement at the same time. However, further details on the specific criteria that must be met to claim derived Veterans’ preference as a spouse can be found at: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/familypref/index.aspx.

Q. I have never been in the military however; my daughter is a severely disabled Veteran and unable to work. Am I eligible for Veterans’ preference when applying for federal jobs?

A. Maybe. Mothers and spouses of a severely disabled Veteran are able to claim entitlement to derived Veterans’ preference when the Veteran is unable to use it due to his or her service connected disability. Further details on the specific criteria that must be met can be found at: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/familypref/index.aspx.

Q. Where can I get information on special hiring authorities for Veterans, such as the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998 (VEOA), Veterans Recruitment Act (VRA), and the 30% or More Disabled Veteran Hiring Authority?

A. You will find the most current information regarding special hiring authorities on the Feds Hire Vets website at: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/shav/index.aspx. Also, if you have questions about the applicability and use of Veterans' preference and these authorities, please contact the agency posting the announcement or where you are interested in working.

Q. Does Veterans’ preference points apply to appointments made under VEOA?

A. No. Veterans’ preference points do not apply to merit promotion announcements using VEOA. VEOA allows certain Veterans to apply to vacancy announcements that are open under merit promotion procedures outside of the agency’s workforce.

Q. I am currently a Federal employee. When I apply for a position as a VEOA eligible, am I subject to the time-in-grade restrictions?

A. Yes. Such an employee remains subject to time-in-grade restrictions.

Q. I am a Federal employee. When I apply for a position as a VEOA eligible candidate, am I subject to the demographic area restrictions listed on the area of consideration?

A. No. VEOA eligibles are not restricted to demographic restrictions. Any individual eligible under VEOA, regardless of where they are located, may compete for a vacancy whenever the hiring agency will accept applications from outside its own workforce.

Q. I am a current federal employee; can I use my Veteran’s preference when applying for another competitive position opened under all sources in a different Federal agency?

A. Yes. There is no limit to the number of times you can use Veterans’ preference.

Q. I lost my DD-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, how can I obtain a copy?

A. A copy of the DD-214 and other military service records can be obtained from the National Archives. Visit https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records for additional information.

Q. I don’t have a DD-214. I am still on active duty and interested in applying for federal jobs. What documentation can I provide to the agency when applying for federal jobs?

A. You may submit an official letter from your military unit verifying your terminal leave status and dates. Additionally, the letter must include a statement that your service has been performed under honorable conditions as the agency needs this documentation prior to making your appointment. Once you complete terminal leave and receive a DD-214, provide a copy of member copy 4 to your agency HR office to validate dates and character of service.

Q. The job I am interested in applying for says that I have to submit a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) letter? What is the purpose of this letter and where can I get one?

A. The VA Letter is a rating of disability. The letter provides information useful for determining the type of Veterans’ preference being claimed on the Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference (SF 15) and establishing eligibility for a special hiring authority. To obtain the VA letter, contact your local VA regional office by calling 1-800-827-1000 or visiting www.va.gov.

Q. If I accept an appointment at one grade level, am I eligible to accept another appointment at a higher grade level without meeting time-in-grade requirements?

A. Maybe. If you are applying under merit promotion procedures, time-in-grade is required. However, if your appointment is based on a selection from an open competitive examination of eligibles or under a direct hire authority then the answer may be no. Check with the agency HR office you are applying to find out how this will apply in your case.

Q. When applying for a civil service positions in the Federal Executive Branch, am I considered a former federal employee for having served in the armed forces?

A. No.

Q. Who do I contact if I have a question about a posted job opportunity announcement?

A. If you have a question about a particular job opportunity announcement, you will need to contact the federal agency representative who posted the announcement. The point of contact information is generally listed at the bottom of the announcement.

Q. Does OPM have employment data that demonstrates federal agencies are hiring Veterans?

A. Yes. On the Feds Hire Vets website, OPM posts employment data that shows federal agency hiring of Veterans. The report, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch of Government, shows data for Veterans being hired in the federal government.

Q. I am a Veteran and am interested in federal employment. Where can I find a listing of available Federal jobs?

A. On the USAJOBS website, OPM posts employment openings showing Federal agency hiring opportunities for Veterans. The website can be found at https://www.usajobs.gov/. Additionally, individual agency websites will list employment information.

Q. What is the Veterans Employment Program Office (VEPO)?

A. The VEPO is responsible for promoting Veterans' recruitment, employment, training and development, and retention within their respective agencies. Veterans are encouraged to contact these individuals for specific information on employment opportunities in those agencies.

Q. How can I find the contact information for federal agency VEPOs?

A. A complete listing of federal agency VEPOs can be found on the Feds Hire Vets website under the Agency Directory tab. On this web page, you will have access to their name, background information, e-mail, and phone number. The web address to access the Agency Directory is http://www.fedshirevets.gov/AgencyDirectory/index.aspx.

Q. I believe that a federal agency is conducting prohibited personnel practices. Will OPM investigate my complaint against this agency?

A. No. While OPM provides government-wide leadership on federal programs and policies, OPM does not investigate individual complaints alleging prohibited personnel practices. Complaints alleging prohibited personnel practices and retaliation should be directed to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of prohibited personnel practices and can be visited at https://osc.gov/.

Q. Now that I am a federal employee, where can I find guidance on using my creditable military service time for leave accrual and retirement purposes?

A. Speak with your agency HR office and they will be able to provide you the necessary information.

Q. Can a Veteran be eligible for multiple classifications?

A. No. A Veteran can meet the specifications for multiple classifications but they can only select one for consideration and inclusion for their numerical rating.

Q. If I believe my Veterans' preference rights may have been violated, where can I file a complaint?

A. Preference eligibles who believe their rights under any law or regulation relating to Veterans’ preference have been violated may seek information or file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). Complaints must be filed in writing and within 60 days after the date of the alleged violation. The VETS Staff Directory (http://www.dol.gov/vets/aboutvets/contacts/) lists the locations for the National Offices, and Regional and State Offices.

Q. What does the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) do with my complaint?

A. Upon receipt of the initial complaint, filed within 60 days of an alleged violation, VETS conducts an investigation to determine if the claimant’s Veterans’ preference rights have been infringed upon or if a claimant was denied the opportunity to compete under merit promotion procedures when the agency is accepting applications from outside its workforce. If VETS determines that the case has merit, every effort is made to resolve it. If a resolution is not reached in a timely manner, or in cases of appeal, the claimant may elect to elevate the complaint to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Q. What is a “Derived Preference” for hiring consideration?

A. Derived preference, available to eligible spouses (including widows or widowers), is based on the qualifying service of a Veteran who is not able to work. Under certain circumstances, mothers of deceased or disabled Veterans are also eligible for derived preference. Derived preference follows the same appointment process as Veterans’ preference.

Q. Where can I get more information about Veterans' preference?

A. Specific details regarding Veterans' preference can be found on the OPM website (http://www.opm.gov/staffingPortal/Vetguide.asp) and the Feds Hire Vets website (http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx). You can also contact the Veteran Employment Services Office at 202-461-7759.

Q. I applied for a job on the USAJOBS.GOV/VA for Vets for site, but did not get a response/qualify for the position. I still need a job. Can you help me?

A. Yes, someone can assist you. Please email VESO at vacovaforv@va.gov or call 202-461-7759.

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