In 1998, Congress amended the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA), and even though it has been codified through various provisions of the United States Code, the current form dates from 1994 (before the amendment).
Since veterans have served their country, Congress has passed numerous laws to recognize their sacrifice and all that goes with it. The rationale for the preferences is that veterans may have suffered an economic loss to themselves and their families by serving the purposes of the country, and because of this, Congress enacted laws recognizing the obligation owed to disabled veterans and to restore them (all generally) to a favorable competitive position in government-related positions or Federal jobs.
Now, here is a brief article to guide you through the application process.
What Does Veterans Preference Mean?
The VEOA grants veterans the opportunity to apply to specific, permanent, and competitive employment in government, but not to excepted service positions. Consequently, the VEOA’s primary objective should not be misunderstood, it does not give preference to eligibles or veterans, but rather allows them to apply for positions that are intended for “status” candidates that are not offered to external applicants.
In other words, there is a preference regarding the hiring for permanent and temporary positions in the competitive and specific services of the Executive Branch, it does not apply to executive branch positions in which Senate confirmation is required, or to positions in the Senior Executive Service.
Regarding the Legislative and Judicial branches of the Federal Government, the preference does not apply either, with the exception that the jobs have been subject to the act by other law or are in competitive service.
The entity in charge of managing and receiving the VEOA applications in order to obtain this benefit is, mainly, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which serves as the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Government and the other agencies authorized to carry out the delegated function of examining these matters.
VEOA Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria are defined in the United States Code, which we briefly list below:
1. You must have been discharged or separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions (it means honorable o general discharge).
2. Comply with any of the requirements contained in title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3). On this title, Congress enlists the specific criteria you need to meet in order to be a “preferred eligible.”
a. To list any of the situations, you must have served in the armed forces during a war or during specific years (the OPM defines which are the qualifying expeditions or campaigns).
b. Some cases of disabled veterans.
c. Having served between April 28, 1952, and July 1, 1955;
3. A veteran who substantially completed 3 or more years of active service.
You need to meet those 3 criteria to be able to apply for any of the Federal jobs destined only to certain candidates. However, if you’re not a veteran but your spouse or child was, the preference extends to some family members, for instance, the unmarried widower or widow of a veteran who served during a war (only those armed conflicts declared by Congress as war.) or the parents of a veteran who lost their life while serving between April 28, 1952, and ending July 1, 1955.
At any rate, you may read the full title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3) here.
Veterans Employment Opportunities Act
If you aspire to work with the Federal Government and you think you meet the criteria to obtain a veteran’s employment opportunity, you’ll need to prove your military service and any other criteria you meet.
The U.S National Archives and Records Administration through The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) provides you with all your veteran’s service records. However, nowadays (due to Covid-19) offices are closed except for emergencies such as requests related to burials, medical treatments, and homeless veterans applications. Yet, it doesn’t mean that you have to delay your application, you may try asking for your records online at NPRC’s official website.