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What to Know About Disabled Veteran Preference in State and Federal Hiring

As a veteran, you may qualify for hiring preference at the state and federal levels. If you are a VA-rated disabled veteran, you may qualify for additional preference, especially when it comes to competitive examinations for Civil Service jobs, state government employment, or municipal jobs.

What do you need to know about hiring preferences for veterans? We examine some important topics below.

State Hiring Preference for Veterans and Disabled Veterans

The first thing to know about state hiring preference for disabled veterans is that there is no national standard for state hiring practices.

The laws of your state will determine what applies to you as a veteran applicant, a disabled veteran applicant, or a military spouse. Hiring preference is not the same as a job guarantee; the applicant must meet the qualifications and requirements of the position to be competitive for it.

The State of Illinois guidelines for hiring veterans and disabled vets is codified below:

“Preference shall be given to persons who have been members of the armed forces of the United States or who, while citizens of the United States, were members of the armed forces of allies of the United States in time of hostilities with a foreign country, and have served under one or more of the following conditions:”

  • The veteran served 6 months or more OR;
  • The veteran served during wartime, OR;
  • The veteran was discharged due to hardship OR;
  • The veteran was discharged because of a service-connected disability.

Compare that to the State of Washington’s criteria for hiring preference, which favors wartime veterans with additional consideration. The state offers 10% to veterans “who served during a period of war or in an armed conflict as defined in RCW 41.04.005 and does not receive military retirement.”

Only 5% is offered to non-wartime applicants.

“Five percent to a veteran who did not serve during a period of war or in an armed conflict as defined in RCW 41.04.005 or is receiving military retirement.”

Related: Where to Find State Benefits for Disabled Veterans


>> Frustrated with your VA disability rating?  Register for a free consultation for help with increasing your rating to get the compensation you deserve.  Please go here.


Washington State Hiring Preference for Disabled Vets

What about Washington State’s hiring preference for disabled veterans? The state does not list a separate hiring preference for disabled veterans, stating, “Veterans’ preference is a percentage added to the passing examination score for honorably discharged veterans and disabled veterans.”

At the state level, much depends on the current laws of that state. Some states also reward private industry for hiring veterans, a practice with a federal equivalent in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. That program offers federal tax incentives for private companies to hire vets.

After hiring a disabled veteran or any other “targeted group,” the employer must apply for and receive a certification, “verifying the new hire is a member of a targeted group before they can claim the tax credit.

After the required certification is secured, taxable employers claim the WOTC as a general business credit against their income taxes, and tax-exempt employers claim the WOTC against their payroll taxes,” according to the Department of Labor official site.

This is just a comparison between the two states. Your experience may vary, and it pays to check the most current guidelines for veteran preference in your state, as these are always subject to change due to legislation, policy changes, etc.

Related: Virtual Job Fairs For Veterans

Federal Hiring Preference for Disabled Veterans

According to FedsHireVets.gov, “Veterans’ Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over many other applicants.” At the federal level this preference extends to “all new appointments in the competitive service and many in the excepted service.”

As with state-level hiring policies, veteran preference, and disabled veteran preference are not the same as a guaranteed job.

FedsHireVets.gov reminds, “Veterans’ preference does not guarantee veterans a job, and it does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.”

At the federal level, eligibility for preference is based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to:

  • Dates of active duty service
  • Receipt of a campaign badge
  • Receipt of a Purple Heart
  • Having a service-connected disability

Not all who serve qualify for veteran preference. You do not qualify for preference if you did not receive an Honorable or General discharge.

Furthermore, FedsHireVets advises those who retire from the military are not included in the list of “preference eligible” veterans UNLESS you are a disabled veteran or retired below the rank of Major.

Types of Federal Hiring Preference For Veterans

0 Point Preference

Were you released from active duty after August 29, 2008, “by reason of being the only surviving child in a family” in which “the father or mother or one or more siblings” meet the criteria below:

    1. Served in the armed forces
    2. Died as a result of wounds, accident, or disease OR;
    3. Is in a “captured or missing in action status” OR;
    4. Is permanently 100 percent disabled, OR:
    5. Hospitalized “on a continuing basis”

According to the federal government, 0-point preference does not give you a score advantage, “but you are entitled to be listed ahead of non-preference eligibles with the same score on an examination, or in the same quality category.”

5 Point Preference

You may qualify at this level if your active duty service history includes one or more of the following:

    1. For more than 180 consecutive days between September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, OR
    2. During the Gulf War, between August 2, 1990, and January 2, 1992, OR
    3. For more than 180 consecutive days after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, OR
    4. Between April 28, 1952, and July 1, 1955, OR
    5. In a war, campaign, or expedition, where a campaign medal or badge has been authorized.

10-Point Preference for Disabled Veterans

Vets are 10-point preference eligible if they have received the Purple Heart or have a service-connected disability.

Veteran Hiring Preference Categories

Five groups may qualify for preference:

  • 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)

Related: Virtual Job Fairs For Veterans

Veteran Hiring Preference is not Automatic

In typical cases, you must submit documentation proving your veteran or disabled veteran status. At the federal level, you may be required to furnish the following:

  • DD Form 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty or its equivalent
  • Documentation from your branch of service acknowledging you are to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed OR;
  • SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. If you are claiming 10 point preference, you must submit an SF-15.

Related: Who is Eligible for a Veterans Pension?


>> Frustrated with your VA disability rating?  Register for a free consultation for help with increasing your rating to get the compensation you deserve.  Please go here.



About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.