This is the second part of our three-part article on veterans’ preference. In this article, we will discuss the various appointment authorities that federal HR offices may use to hire transitioning military members.
These special authorities represent a few of many appointing authorities that agencies can use entirely at their discretion. Veterans are not entitled to appointment under any of these authorities.
Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
VRA is an excepted authority that allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition, if the applicant is:
- in receipt of a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition; OR
- a disabled veteran, OR
- in receipt of an Armed Forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR
- a recently separated veteran (within the last 3 years), AND
- separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), you are VRA eligible.
Veterans can be appointed under this authority at any grade level up to and including a GS-11 or equivalent. This is an excepted service appointment. After successfully completing 2 years, the veteran will be converted to the competitive service. Veterans’ preference applies when using the VRA authority.
Agencies can also use VRA to fill temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or term (more than 1 year but not to exceed 4 years) positions. If a veteran is employed in a temporary or term position under VRA, he/she will not be converted to the competitive service after 2 years.
There is no limit to the number of times an applicant can apply under VRA.
Applicants must provide acceptable documentation of their preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of the DD214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” is preferable. If claiming 10-point preference, the veteran will need to submit a Standard Form 15, “Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference.”
Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA)
VEOA is a competitive service appointing authority that can only be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions. It cannot be used to fill excepted service positions. It allows veterans to apply to announcements that are only open to so called “status” candidates, which means “current competitive service employees.”
To be eligible for a VEOA appointment, the applicant’s latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), AND the applicant 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.
When agencies recruit from outside their own workforce under merit promotion (internal) procedures, announcements must state VEOA is applicable. VEOA eligibles are not subject to geographic area of consideration limitations. When applying under VEOA, the applicant must rate and rank among the best qualified when compared to current employee applicants in order to be considered for appointment. Veterans’ preference does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.
Current or former Federal employees meeting VEOA eligibility can apply. However, current employees applying under VEOA are subject to time-in- grade restrictions like any other General Schedule employee.
“Active Service” under VEOA means active duty in a uniformed service and includes full-time training duty, annual training duty, full-time National Guard duty, and attendance, while in the active service, at a school designated as a service school by law or by the Secretary of Defense.
“Preference eligible” under VEOA includes those family members entitled to derived preference.
Applicants must provide acceptable documentation of their preference or appointment eligibility. The member 4 copy of the DD214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” is preferable. If claiming 10-point preference, applicants will need to submit a Standard Form 15, “Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference.”
30% or More Disabled Veteran
30% or More Disabled Veteran allows any veteran with a 30% or more service-connected disability to be non-competitively appointed.
Veterans are eligible if they are:
- retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; OR
- have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.
This authority can be used to make permanent, temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or term (more than 1 year, but not more than 4 years) appointments in the competitive service. There is no grade level restriction.
When using this authority to appoint on a permanent basis, the candidate is first placed on a time limited appointment of at least 60 days and then converted to a permanent appointment at management’s discretion. When the authority is used for temporary or term appointments, the applicant will not be converted to a permanent appointment.
A copy of the applicant’s DD-214 and SF-15 must be supplied.
Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a VA Training Program
Disabled veterans eligible for training under the 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 for most purposes but is a beneficiary of the VA.
Training is tailored to the individual’s needs and goals, so there is no set length. If 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 the position.
Upon successful completion, the host agency and VA give the veteran a Certificate of Training showing the occupational series and grade level of the position for which trained. The Certificate of Training allows any agency to appoint the veteran noncompetitively under a status quo appointment which may be converted to career or career-conditional at any time.