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Federal Hiring Preference

Definition Federal Hiring Preference refers to a system that gives eligible veterans priority in the hiring process for federal government jobs. It aims to recognize veterans for their service and ease their transition back into civilian life. This preference does not guarantee employment but ensures that qualified veterans receive special consideration when applying for federal […]


Federal Hiring Preference refers to a system that gives eligible veterans priority in the hiring process for federal government jobs. It aims to recognize veterans for their service and ease their transition back into civilian life. This preference does not guarantee employment but ensures that qualified veterans receive special consideration when applying for federal positions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Federal Hiring Preference is a policy that provides eligible veterans with preference in federal government job hiring processes, helping former service members to secure federal employment more easily.
  2. Two main types of preference categories exist: disabled veterans (10 points) and non-disabled veterans (5 points). Veterans are awarded these points based on their military service, which can be added to their qualifying examination scores or experience ratings during the hiring process.
  3. To take advantage of this benefit, veterans must submit proper documentation to verify their eligibility, such as the DD form 214 (military discharge form) and, if applicable, the SF-15 for disabled veterans seeking 10-point preference.


The VA benefits term: Federal Hiring Preference is crucial as it provides eligible veterans and certain family members with preferential treatment in the federal hiring process.

This advantage aims to recognize the sacrifices made by veterans and their families, ensuring smoother transitions into federal civilian employment.

Consequently, it addresses some of the unique challenges veterans may face when transitioning from active service, such as translating military experience into applicable civilian skills.

Moreover, by prioritizing qualified veterans, the Federal Hiring Preference contributes to maintaining a workforce with diverse skills and backgrounds, which ultimately benefits the entire federal sector.


The Federal Hiring Preference is a valuable benefit program designed to assist United States veterans and their families in securing stable employment within federal offices and agencies. Its primary purpose is to recognize the skills, commitment, and sacrifices made by those who have served in the military, and to bolster their reintegration into the civilian workforce.

By offering veterans a competitive edge in federal employment, this program aims to alleviate some of the challenges veterans often face when transitioning back to civilian life, such as unemployment or underemployment, while also ensuring that the federal workforce benefits from the unique skills and experiences of military personnel. This hiring preference is also geared toward addressing negative stereotypes and misconceptions about the abilities and work ethic of veterans.

By prioritizing their employment in federal positions, the program helps demonstrate the value and competence these individuals bring to the workforce, further dismantling unfounded biases. Ultimately, the Federal Hiring Preference not only promotes the economic stability and professional development of veterans and their families, but also enriches the public sector with highly skilled and dedicated individuals, resulting in increased workplace diversity and a strengthened federal workforce.

Examples of Federal Hiring Preference

Veterans’ Preference in Federal Hiring: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers federal hiring preference to eligible veterans applying for jobs within the federal government. For example, a veteran who has completed an honorable or general discharge from the service and has a service-connected disability can apply for jobs within the VA and receive either a 5 or 10-point preference over non-veteran job candidates when competing for the same position, depending on the severity of their disability.

Federal Hiring Fair for Veterans: A real-world example of federal hiring preference for veterans is a federal hiring fair specifically organized to recruit veterans into various federal agencies. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) often holds these job fairs, providing eligible veterans with an opportunity to learn about and apply to various positions within the federal government that align with their skills and experience. Since veterans receive a preference in federal hiring, they have a higher chance of securing a job during these fairs compared to non-veterans.

The Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) Program: Another example of federal hiring preference for veterans is the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) program, which is a special hiring authority applicable to eligible veterans. Under the VRA program, veterans who meet specific criteria, such as having a service-connected disability or having served on active duty during specific periods, can be directly appointed to federal positions without having to go through the traditional competitive hiring process. This gives veterans an increased likelihood of getting hired into federal jobs compared to non-veteran job seekers.

Federal Hiring Preference FAQ

What is Federal Hiring Preference?

Federal Hiring Preference is a program that provides eligible veterans with preference over other applicants when applying for a federal job. This preference is given to qualified veterans in recognition of their service, sacrifice, and commitment to the nation.

Who is eligible for Federal Hiring Preference?

Eligible veterans include those who were discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (honorable, general, or under honorable conditions). Disabilities should be service-connected and many preference levels may also require a specific level of disability rating or a combat-related designation.

How does Federal Hiring Preference work?

Qualified veterans receive additional points on their applications when applying for federal jobs. These points can range from 5 to 10 points, depending on the preference category the veteran falls under. Veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more usually receive a 10-point preference. These additional points may increase the chances of being hired as they are added to the final examination score, resulting in veterans having preference over non-veterans.

How do I apply for Federal Hiring Preference?

To apply for Federal Hiring Preference, veterans are required to submit documentation that certifies their eligibility. This documentation includes a copy of the veteran’s DD-214, a certificate issued by the VA, or a statement from the Department of Defense. When applying for a federal job, ensure that you provide all required documents to receive any applicable preferences during the hiring process.

Can spouses of veterans also benefit from Federal Hiring Preference?

Yes, in some cases, spouses, widows/widowers, and mothers of veterans may also be eligible for federal hiring preferences. This is dependent on the specific employment situation, and eligibility requirements should be reviewed to ensure documentation is submitted accordingly.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Veterans’ Preference
  • Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Non-Competitive Appointment
  • Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA)

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