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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 can be confusing. In accordance with title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 (5 USC 2108) , 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 three types of preference eligibles, disabled (10 point preference eligible), non-disabled (5 point preference eligible) and sole survivorship preference (0 point preference eligible).
You are a 0-point Preference eligible - no points are added to the passing score or rating of a veteran who is the only surviving child in a family in which the father or mother or one or more siblings:
- Served in the armed forces, and
- Was killed, died as a result of wounds, accident, or disease, is in a captured or missing in action status, or is permanently 100 percent disabled or hospitalized on a continuing basis (and is not employed gainfully because of the disability or hospitalization), where
- The death, status, or disability did not result from the intentional misconduct or willful neglect of the parent or sibling and was not incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.
You are a 5 point preference eligible if your active duty service meets any of the following:
- 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 August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
- Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992, OR
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, 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.
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 not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor.
Now that we have discussed your preference eligibility and the associated points, let's discuss preference groups. Preference eligibles are divided into five basic groups as follows:
- 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)
- SSP – Sole Survivorship Preference (0 points)
NOTE: Disabled veterans receive 10 points regardless of their disability rating.
When agencies use a numerical rating and ranking system to determine the best qualified applicants for a position, an additional 5 or 10 points are added to the numerical score of qualified preference eligible veterans
When an agency does not use a numerical rating system, preference eligibles who have a compensable service-connected disability of 10 percent or more (CPS, CP) are placed 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 category.
You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference or appointment eligibility. Acceptable documentation may be:
A copy of your DD-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty," which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions
A "certification" that is a written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.
NOTE: Prior to appointment, an agency will require the service member to provide a copy of the DD-214.
If claiming 10 point preference, you will need to submit a Standard Form (SF-15 [152 KB]) "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference."