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Veterans Preference Guide

Veterans Preference Guide

Since 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 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 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.

If you are a Veteran you have a couple of different tools that can give you an edge in getting a civil service (Federal) job: the Preference Points and Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment rule. The following is a summary of these tools and how they can help:

Preference Points Overview

General Requirements for Preference

Types of Preference

How it Works

Filing Applications After Examinations Have Closed

Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA)



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    over 4 years ago


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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Veteran's Preference is not as wildly respected as desired -- federal employees work hard to get where they are. I've utilized my veteran's preference and was fortunate to obtain federal only to learn of the dislike from federal employees.

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    Account Removed

    almost 6 years ago

    The author is correct in that VetPref will help get you in the door, but once you are in you have a serious hill to climb.

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