Skip to main content

U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Employment of Veterans

Veterans bring a wealth of skills and experience that make them well suited for employment in the Federal workforce.   

The Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Services has access to the best sources of Veteran candidates.  This office has a direct link to local job fairs, state employment offices, VA facilities, and military transition programs to assist in finding qualified service members and veterans.  Directory of contacts may be accessed at FEDS Hire Vets.

Common ways to Appointment in the Federal Government
Veterans eligible for special hiring authority such as the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) may compete for positions along with current federal employees under merit promotion procedure.   Veterans may also compete for positions ‘opened to all U.S. citizens’ under competitive examining procedure which may allow veteran preference over nonveterans.

Documenting Eligibility
For all special appointing authorities, Veterans must provide the appropriate required documentation for preference or appointment eligibility, such as the member 4 copy of the DD214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty". If claiming 10-point preference, the veteran must submit a Standard Form # 15 "Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference.   

Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment
VRA Authority (Public Law 107-288, the Jobs for Veterans Act) revised the eligibility requirements for the former Veterans Readjustment Appointment.  Current authority criteria follows:  

  • VRA is an excepted appointing authority.  It allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans to positions for which they are qualified, up to and including GS-11 or equivalent, without competition.  

  • VRA eligible veterans:  

    • are in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; OR 
    • are a disabled veteran, OR
    • are in receipt of an Armed forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR  
    • are a recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years) after any length of service, AND 
    • separated under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge).

  • After successfully completing 2 years, veterans will be converted to the competitive service (conversion to a career-conditional/career appointment).
  • Veterans may be appointed to temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or term (more than 1 year but not to exceed 4 years) positions. However, temporary/term VRA appointments will not be converted to the competitive service after 2 years. 

  • There is no limit to the number of times a veteran may apply and be appointed under this authority.

Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) 
The VEOA (Public Law 105-339), as amended by Section 511 of the Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act (Public Law 106-117 and codified at 5 U.S.C 3304(f)).    

  • To be eligible for a VEOA appointment the latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge), AND the veteran must be either:
    • a preference eligible (defined in title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3)), OR 
    • must have substantially completed at least three or more years of continuous active military service. Active Service under VEOA means active duty in a uniformed service and includes full-time training duty, annual training duty, full-time National Guard duty, and attendance, while in the active service, at a school designated as a service school by law or by the Secretary concerned.

  • The VEOA allows preference eligible or veterans to compete when agencies recruit from outside their own workforce under merit promotion (internal) procedures when filling permanent, competitive service positions.  It allows eligible veterans to apply to  announcements that are only open to status candidates. The announcements must state VEOA is applicable.  Application of the VEOA entitlement is not limited by the geographical area of consideration of the published job opportunity announcement.

  • VEOA does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements. 

  • VEOA can only be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions.  It cannot be used to fill temporary or term appointments.

  • If selected, the eligible veteran will be receive a career or career conditional appointment.

30 Percent or More Disabled Veteran Appointing Authority
30 percent or More Disabled Veteran hiring authority is an effective way to quickly appoint eligible disabled Veterans to any positions at any grade level for which they are qualified without issuing a vacancy announcement according to 5 U.S.C. 3112. 

  • To be eligible Veterans must be:  
    • retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; OR
    • have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.       

  • The veteran must provide documentation such as a notice of retirement or discharge due to service-connected disability from active military service (dated at any time by a military department) or by a notice of compensable disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (dated 1991 or later). 
  • This authority can be used to make permanent, temporary, or term appointments in the competitive service.

  • When using this authority to appoint on a permanent basis, veterans are first placed on a time-limited appointment of at least 60 days and then converted to a permanent appointment at management's discretion. 

Note:   Temporary or term appointments will not be converted to a permanent appointment. 

Derived Preference
Certain family members of veterans are eligible for special considerations because of the sacrifices made by the veteran and their families.   Derived preference is a method where the spouse, widow/widower, or parent of a veteran may be eligible to claim veterans’ preference when the veteran is unable to use it.   The eligible family member will receive preference in the competitive examining process if the family member applicant meets all eligibility criteria.   A parent and a spouse (including widow/widower) may be entitled to preference based on the same Veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, no preference will be afforded if the Veteran is living and is otherwise able to accept Federal employment.  For more information, visit Feds Hire Vets

Military Spouses
This authority was established to recognize the commitment required of military families in support of the military service member.   This Act allows agencies to appoint certain military spouses without going through the competitive examining process.  Similar to VEOA, a military spouse may apply for positions, which are open to status candidates advertised under merit promotion procedures.    Agencies can choose to use this authority when filling competitive service positions on a temporary (not to exceed 1 year), term (more than 1 year but not more than 4 years), or permanent basis. The authority does not convey any preference in hiring or entitle spouses to any priority over any other applicant.  Click herefor more information on the authorization. 

Gold Star Fathers Act
This law extends hiring preference for federal jobs to eligible fathers of totally disabled veterans separated from the armed forces under honorable or general discharge and individuals who lost their lives while serving in the armed services under honorable conditions.  Previously, only mothers of veterans who met the above qualifying criteria were given preference upon applying and qualifying for certain federal civil service jobs.   Click here for more information on the authorization.

Schedule A - Appointing Authority for People with Disabilities
Schedule A authority is an excepted service authority that agencies may use to appoint eligible individuals, to include veterans, who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability.   Agencies may use this authority to appoint eligible individuals at any grade level and for any job for which they qualify.  Veterans' preference applies when agencies hire eligible veterans under this authority.   After 2 years of satisfactory service, the veteran may be converted, without competition, to the competitive service. 

  • Appointments may be made on a temporary, time-limited (more than one year), or permanent basis in the excepted service.  A licensed medical professional, a state or licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or a state or federal agency that provides disability benefits must certify the applicant as being disabled and as “job ready”. If the individual is not certified as job ready, an agency may hire the person on a temporary appointment in order to determine job readiness. 

  • The medical documentation should distinguish between disabilities that are temporary, or transient, versus disabilities, which are chronic, permanent, ongoing, or unresolved with no end in sight.

  • There is no limit to the number of times an eligible veteran may apply and be appointed through use of this authority.

Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a Veterans Administration (VA) Training Program
Disabled Veterans eligible for training under the VA vocational rehabilitation program may enroll for training or work experience at an agency under the terms of an agreement between the agency and VA.  The Veteran is a beneficiary of the VA while enrolled in program and is not considered a Federal employee for most purposes.     

Upon successful completion, the host agency and VA give the Veteran a Certificate of  Training showing the occupational series and grade level of the position for which the Veteran has been trained. The Certificate of Training allows any agency to appoint the Veteran noncompetitively under a status quo appointment, which may be converted to career or career-conditional at any time.

Complementary Content