Page updated 5/13/2014
Jobs for Veterans | Federal Jobs for US Veterans
There are many federal jobs for veterans available through civil service employment programs. Veterans Preference, discussed in this section,
and the Veterans Readjustment Act (VRA) are two of the better known
programs. Unknown to many, dependents and spouses of active duty
personnel receive hiring preference for government jobs under the
Military Spouse Preference program and the Family Member Preference
The federal government has an outstanding record of
employing veterans. Veterans hold a far higher percentage of jobs in the
government than they do in private industry. In large part, this is due
to laws providing Veterans’ Preference and special appointing
authorities for veterans, as well as the fact that agencies recognize
that hiring veterans is just good business. Most federal agencies,
including all Presidential Cabinet-level agencies, have established a
Veterans Employment Program Office responsible for enhancing employment
opportunities for veterans within their agency.
Veterans’ Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many
other applicants. Veterans’ Preference applies to virtually all new appointments
in the Competitive Service and many in the Excepted Service. Veterans’
Preference does not guarantee veterans jobs and it does not apply to internal
agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments, and reinstatements.
Not all veterans receive preference for federal civilian employment, and not all
active duty service qualifies for Veterans’ Preference. Only veterans discharged
or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions are
eligible for these veterans jobs through Veterans’ Preference. If you are interested in searching for available federal jobs for veterans please use the links below.
Veterans Preference Menu
preference eligibles 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.
Generally when you apply to a Federal position there are two separate
1. External - with applicants who are not Federal employees. If
there are a few veterans on this list the supervisor cannot select a
non-veteran. If the agency is using a point system, the 5 or 10 points
is added to the overall point total assigned to the applicant. Often
higher qualified applicants are not “within reach” on this list.
2. Internal – with applicants who are current or prior Federal
employees. On the internal list, there is no veterans’
preference. All applicants compete on a level playing field based on
resume, past performance, interviews or other relevant criteria.
There are two types of preference eligibles: those with a
service-connected disability (formerly titled 10 point preference) and those
without (formerly titled 5 point preference). Under hiring reform the point
system is being replaced with a category rating system. Until hiring reform
is fully implemented you may encounter the old terminology of 5 and 10 point
preference. Preference eligibles are divided into four basic groups as
- CPS – Disability rating of 30% or more (10 points)
- CP – Disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30% (10 points)
- XP – Disability rating less than 10% (10 points)
- TP – Preference eligibles with no disability rating (5 points)
When agencies used a numerical rating and ranking system to determine the
best qualified applicants for a position, an additional 5 or 10 points were
added to the numerical score of qualified preference eligible veterans.
The category rating system places preference eligibles who have a
com-pensable service-connected disability of 10 percent or more (CPS, CP) at
the top of the highest category on the referral list (except for scientific
or professional positions at the GS-9 level or higher). XP and TP preference
eligibles are placed above non-preference eligibles within their assigned
Vets Without a Service Connected Disability — (Five Point Preference)
If your active duty service meets any of the following, and you do not
have a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of 10%
or more, you have preference. This preference entitles you to be hired
before a non-veteran whose application is rated in your same category. To
meet this criterion, your service must meet one of the following conditions:
- 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.
- In a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been
authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.
Vets with a Service Connected Disability — (Ten-Point Preference)
You are a 10 point preference eligible if you served at any time, and you:
- Have a service connected disability
- Received a Purple Heart (Purple Heart recipients are awarded the
same preference category as those with a service-connected disability)
- Are the spouse, widow, widower, or mother of a deceased or disabled
veteran (derived preference)
When applying for federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference
on their application or résumé. Applicants claiming disability, 10-point
preference, must complete form SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veteran
Preference. Veterans who are still in the service may be granted five points
tentative preference on the basis of information contained in their
applications, but they must produce a DD Form 214 prior to appointment to
document their entitlement to preference.
Note: Reservist who are separated from the reserves but don’t currently
receive retired pay aren’t considered “retired military” for purposes of
veterans’ preference. If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit
the the following OPM websites:
You can also contact the designated veterans’ hiring program coordinator
for your agency of interest; agency coordinator contact information can be
found at the end of chapter 7 in
The Book of U.S.
A preference eligible who is passed over on a list of eligibles is
entitled, upon request, to a copy of the agency’s reasons for the pass-over
and the examining office’s response.
If the preference eligible is a 30 percent or more disabled veteran, the
agency must notify the veteran and OPM of the proposed pass-over. The
veteran has 15 days from the date of notification to respond to OPM. OPM
then decides whether to approve the pass-over based on all the facts
available and notifies the agency and the veteran.
NOTE: Entitlement to veterans’ preference does not
guarantee a job. There are many ways an agency can fill a vacancy other than
by appointment from a list of eligibles. For more inforamtion on this
subject and to learn how to apply pick up a copy of
The Book of U.S.
Government Jobs, 11th edition at your local bookstore or check out
a copy from your local library.
The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) gives veterans access to
federal job opportunities that might otherwise be closed to them. The law
- Agencies allow eligible veterans to compete for vacancies advertised
under the agency’s merit promotion procedures when the agency is seeking
applications from individuals outside its own workforce.
- All merit promotion announcements open to applicants outside an
agency’s workforce include a statement that these eligible veterans may
The law also establishes a new redress system for preference eligibles
and makes it a prohibited personnel practice for an agency to knowingly take
or fail to take a personnel action if that action or failure to act would
violate a statutory or regulatory veterans’ preference requirement.
This authority permits an agency to appoint an eligible veteran who has
applied under an agency merit promotion announcement that is open to
candidates outside the agency.
To be eligible a candidate must be a preference eligible or a veteran
sepa-rated after three years or more of continuous active service performed
under hon-orable conditions.
Those with derived preference are also eligible for VEOA. There is not a
requirement to select a VEOA applicant over another applicant as in a VRA
ap-pointment to an external announcement. Another difference is that there
is no requirement for the positions applied for to be lower than a GS-11 as
there is under VRA criteria.
Terms and conditions of employment
Veterans receiving a VEOA appointment will be given a career or
career conditional appointment in the competitive service. Veterans
interested in applying under this authority should seek out agency merit
promotion announcements open to candidates outside the agency. There is no
advantage for veterans with career status or reinstatement eligibility to
apply under VEOA, because they already have the eligibility to apply to
merit promotion announcements and there is no pre-ferential treatment for
those applying under VEOA.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
(USERRA) prohibits discrimination in employment, retention, promotion, or
any benefit of employment based on your uniformed service. The Department of
Labor, through the VETS, assists all persons having USERRA claims.
If you are a disabled veteran and you believe an agency discriminated
against you in employment because of your disability, you may file a
disability discrimination complaint with the offending agency under
regulations administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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