Veterans & Military Spouses

Social Security offers many career options for people who have proudly served our country. Your military experience and willingness to serve can lead to a rewarding career in public service.

Veterans Preference

Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring from competitive lists of eligibles.

Here's what you need to know.

There are three types of preference eligibility:

  • Disabled, regardless of the rating (10 point preference).
  • Non-Disabled (5 point preference).
  • Sole survivorship preference (0 Preference).

Preference eligibles are divided into five groups:

  • 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).

Visit the Feds Hire Vets Veterans’ Preference webpage for more information on the types of veterans’ preference.

Veterans Recruitment Act (VRA)

Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) allows for the appointment of eligible veterans, without competition into an excepted service position. This hiring authority can be used for positions up to GS-11 or equivalent. After the individual satisfactorily completes two years of satisfactory service, the veteran may be converted non-competitively to a career or career-conditional appointment.

Here's what you need to know.

You are eligible for an excepted appointment under the VRA authority if you:

  • Served during a war or are in receipt of a campaign badge for service in a campaign or expedition; or
  • Are a disabled veteran; or
  • Are in receipt of an Armed Forces Service Medal (includes the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal) for participation in a military operation; or
  • Are a recently separated veteran (within 3 years of discharge); and
  • Separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge).

Visit USAJOBS if you are interested in applying for employment under this special hiring program. Refer to the “Who May Apply” section of the vacancy announcement.

30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans

The 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans authority enables the appointment of an eligible candidate to any position for which he or she is qualified without competition. Unlike the VRA, there is no grade-level limitation. Initial appointments are time-limited, lasting more than 60 days; however, individuals can be non-competitively converted to a permanent status at any time during the time-limited appointment.

Here's what you need to know.

You are eligible if you:

  • Are retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; and
  • Have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.

Contact us at if you are interested in applying for employment under this special hiring program.

Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA)

This flexibility gives preference eligibles and other certain eligible veterans access to jobs that otherwise are only available to status employees. In VEOA appointments, preference eligible and other veterans are not afforded any preference, but they are allowed to compete for job opportunities open to status candidates outside the recruiting agency. A VEOA eligible who is selected will be given a career or career-conditional appointment.

Here's what you need to know.

To be eligible for consideration, your latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (i.e., an honorable or general discharge), and you must be either:

  • A preference eligible (defined in title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3)); or
  • A veteran who substantially completed 3 or more years of active service under honorable conditions.

Visit the FedsHireVets Special Hiring Authorities webpage for more information.

Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a VA Training Program

Disabled veterans eligible for training under the Veterans Administration (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. While enrolled in the VA program, the veteran is not a Federal employee, but is a beneficiary of the VA.

Here's what you need to know.

  • Training is tailored to the individual's needs and goals, so there is no set length. The training is intended to prepare the individual for eventual appointment in the agency rather than just provide work experience. The agency must ensure that the training will enable the veteran to meet the qualification requirements for a specific position.

Visit the Veteran Readiness And Employment webpage for more information.

Military Spouses

The federal government has established an appointing authority for military spouses. While spouses will not receive veteran's preference, they are eligible to be considered for federal employment.

Here's what you need to know.

You are eligible for employment if you are:

  • A spouse of an active-duty member of the armed forces; or
  • A spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected disability and unable to work; or
  • A spouse of a service member killed while on active duty.

Visit the Spouses of Active Duty Military Members webpage for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who determines eligibility for veterans' preference?

Congress establishes eligibility for veterans' preference through laws outlined in title 5, United States Code, Section 2108 (5 USC 2108). However, the Federal agency to which a veteran applies for employment will adjudicate claims for veterans' preference.

Where can I find the Standard Form (SF)-15 to submit as part of my application package?

A fillable SF-15 can be found on OPM's website.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can use my veterans' preference when applying for Federal jobs?

No. There is no limit on how many times you can apply and claim an entitlement to veterans' preference. However, it is important to remember that veterans' preference does not apply when the agency is using internal selection procedures to fill a position.

Is there any other official documentation that I can submit with an application package in lieu of the DD 214?

Yes. You can request a Statement of Service through your Military Personnel Office. The Statement of Service will need to list your dates of military service, character of service, and expected date of separation. If you have been awarded a service-connected disability rating from your branch of military service, include the disability rating in your Statement of Service.

What do I send as proof of my service-connected disability?

A letter certifying that you have a service-connected disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To request the letter, please call the VA at 1-800-827-1000. Review the SF-15 for additional supporting documentation requirements.