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News Release

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Contact: Brittney Manchester
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Proposes Change to Help Hire More Military Spouses

Washington, DC - The U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is proposing a change to current regulation to enable more military spouses to benefit from an existing special hiring authority. Currently, certain military spouses and widows/widowers may be non-competitively appointed to a Federal job within a limited two-year time frame after their spouse dies or becomes totally disabled. However, many spouses are not prepared to enter the workforce within this two-year time period because they are still grieving, or are enrolled in educational or training programs, or may be caring for children or their disabled spouse. The proposed change, published in the Federal Register today, would provide spouses of deceased and 100 percent disabled veterans as much time as they need to benefit from the military spouse hiring authority.

OPM continues to track the number of military spouses and widows/widowers hired by the Federal government.  The military spouses' noncompetitive hiring authority, which first became effective on September 11, 2009, allows certain spouses who are not already Federal employees to apply directly to agency job opportunity announcements, without having to compete with other applicants.  As of the end of fiscal year 2010, 884 military spouses were hired.  This is a significant increase over the 58 military spouses who were hired in the first quarter after this hiring authority was launched.

"All of these families have made sacrifices for our nation. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice. President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are dedicated to strengthening military families and honoring those who served," said OPM Director John Berry.  "Through programs like the President's Veterans Employment Initiative and the military spouse hiring authority, we are helping thousands of military families and veterans not only survive, but thrive in tough times. And in return, we're getting some of the best, brightest, hardest-working Americans into the Federal workforce to protect and serve their fellow citizens as civilians."

To view the Federal Register notice, please visit

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the strategic human capital partner to the federal government that is recruiting, retaining, and honoring the workforce that's landing rovers on Mars, fighting climate change and cancer, and building this country back better. OPM provides leadership and support to agencies through key issues and services-including human resource policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, and retirement services- that impact more than two million people in the federal workforce. As the nation's largest employer, the federal government is the model employer across sectors.

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