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Veterans’ Preference

Veteran's Preference

What does veterans’ preference mean to you and how can you use it?

Veterans' preference is somewhat complex. In accordance with title 5, United States Code, Section 2108, Veterans' preference eligibility can be based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. Please know that not all active duty service qualifies for veterans' preference.

Documenting Veterans’ Preference

Veterans, who are eligible for veterans’ preference, should review their personnel record to determine if their veterans' preference has been properly documented. The Standard Form (SF) 50, Notification of Personnel Action is completed by the personnel or administrative office to which appointing authority has been delegated, and is used to record a personnel action in the employee's Official Personnel Folder.

As a Federal employee any changes or updates to your personnel record will be documented on the Standard Form SF 50 (Notification of Personnel Action), which is generally processed by the agency’s Personnel or Human Resources Office. You can review your SF-50, and other personnel documentation in your electronic personnel record or by visiting with your agency’s Human Resources Specialist. You can verify whether your veterans’ preference, which should be noted in Block 23 of the SF-50, has been recorded. If you experience a change in your veteran’s preference, e.g., if you are awarded a service-connected disability rating after you were hired, contact your Personnel or Human Resources Office to update your personnel record to reflect your change in veterans’ preference.

Note: Veterans’ preference is adjudicated at the time of appointment.

Veterans' Preference in Reduction in Force

Layoffs in the Federal Government are called reduction in force (RIF) actions. The RIF regulations determine whether an employee may keep his or her present position, and if not, whether the employee has a right to a different position. Certain veterans have advantages over non-veterans in a RIF. Generally, determination of veterans preference eligibility during a RIF are made following the rules governing preference in federal appointments except that military retirees must meet an additional condition to be considered a preference eligible for RIF purposes.

Once you have determined whether you qualify for veterans’ preference for RIF purposes, review your SF-50 to verify that the qualification is annotated in Block 26. Contact your agency’s Personnel or Human Resources office for additional information about your eligibility.

Note: Additional RIF information can be located within the Office of Personnel Management's Reduction in Force Resources Portal

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