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OPM Seal VetGuide


1.  Introduction

2.  Veterans' Preference in Appointments

3.  Veterans' Preference in Reduction in Force

4.  Miscellaneous Provisions Pertaining to Veterans

5.  Service Credit

6.  Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans

7.  Restoration after Uniformed Service

8.  Special Redress and Appeals

1.  Introduction

VetGuide explains the special rights and privileges that veterans enjoy in Federal civil service employment. The guide conveniently summarizes in one place material from many laws and regulations that affect the employment of veterans. The guide will help Federal personnel specialists ensure that veterans receive the advantages they have earned.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers entitlement to veterans' preference in employment under title 5, United States Code, and oversees other statutory employment requirements in titles 5 and 38. (Title 38 also governs veterans' entitlement to benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).)

Both title 5 and title 38 use many of the same terms, but in different ways. For example, service during a "war" is used to determine entitlement to veterans' preference and service credit under title 5. OPM has always interpreted this to mean a war declared by Congress. But title 38 defines "period of war" to include many non-declared wars, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. Such conflicts entitle a veteran to VA benefits under title 38, but not necessarily to preference or service credit under title 5. Thus it is critically important to use the correct definitions in determining eligibility for specific rights and benefits in employment.

For additional information, including the complete text of the laws and regulations on veterans' rights, consult the references cited .

2.  Veterans' Preference in Appointments

Why Preference is Given    

When Preference Applies    

Types of Preference   

Adjudication of Veterans' Preference Claims   

Crediting Experience of Preference Eligibles    

Physical Qualifications     

Preference in Competitive Examinations   

Preference eligibles who are qualified for a position (achieve a score of 70 to 100) have 5 or 10 extra points added to their numerical ratings depending on which of the previously described categories of preference they meet. This means the highest possible rating is 110 (a disabled veteran who earns a score of 100 has 10 extra points added).

Names of eligible applicants are placed on lists, or registers of eligibles, in the order of their ratings. Registers are established as standing registers from which selections will be made over a period of time and for case examining in which a register is used to fill a single position or a group of positions and is closed after the needed selection(s) is made.

For scientific and professional positions in grade General Schedule (GS) - 9 or higher, names of all qualified applicants are listed on a register in order of ratings, augmented by veteran preference, if any.

Filling a Position From a Competitive Examination    

Disqualifications of Preference Eligibles    

A preference eligible can be eliminated from consideration only if the examining office sustains the agency's objection to the preference eligible for adequate reason. These reasons, which must be recorded, include medical disqualification under 5 CFR Part 339, suitability disqualification under 5 CFR Part 731, or other reasons considered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or an agency under delegated examining authority to be disqualifying.

Disqualification of 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans    

Preference Eligibles and the Nepotism Provision    

Filing Late Applications    

Temporary Appointment Outside of Competitive Registers   

Excepted Service Employment   

Administration and Enforcement of Veterans' Preference   

3.  Veterans' Preference in Reduction in Force   

Eligibility for Veterans' Preference in RIF   

RIF Retention Standing    

Assignment Rights (Bump and Retreat)   


Appeal of RIF Actions    

Reemployment Priority for Separated Employees   

4.  Miscellaneous Provisions Pertaining to Veterans   

Jobs Restricted to Preference Eligibles


180-Day Restriction on Department Of Defense (DOD) Employment of Military Retirees   

Reduction in Military Retired Pay   

Affirmative Action for Certain Veterans Under Title 38   

5.  Service Credit    

Service Credit for Leave Rate Accrual and Retirement   

Creditable Service for RIF--Not Retired from Uniformed Service    

Creditable Service for RIF--Retired from Uniformed Service    

Creditable Service for Severance Pay      

6.  Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans   

Veterans' Readjustment Appointment (VRA) Authority

30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans    

Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a VA Training Program    

7.  Restoration after Uniformed Service   

Basic Entitlement    

Advising Employees / Resolving Employment Conflicts    

Time Limits     

Positions to Which Restored    

Service Credit    

OPM Placement     

Employee Protections    

Paid Military Leave    

Life and Health Insurance     

Thrift Savings    

8.  Special Redress And Appeals    

The redress and appeal rights available to veterans under law depend upon the nature of the action being appealed. These actions fall into the following categories:

Adverse Actions    

Reduction in Force     

Restoration after Uniformed Service    

Other Actions    

  • To Veterans Information Home Page
  • To Office of Personnel Management Home Page

  • Updated 29 April 1997