Veterans’ Preference Hiring: Military Dependents

Updated: July 30, 2021
In this Article

    The federal government wants to hire spouses and, in some cases, parents of veterans and military personnel. To encourage you to apply, they have set up several special programs (called authorities) to bring you into the federal workforce.

    Veterans' Preference Hiring: Military Dependents The federal government has great jobs with fantastic benefits like good salaries, health benefits, life insurance, and flexible work schedules (work from home). Some agencies will even help pay for student loans. These preferences may also apply to jobs in state and local government. So, if you are going to compete with many others for a federal job, you need to know what preference you can use to land your dream job.

    Who Is Eligible for Veterans’ Preference Hiring?

    For federal jobs, widows/widowers, spouses, and parents of disabled veterans can claim veteran preference hiring points. This is called “derived preference” and is where you, as the spouse, widow/widower, or parent of a veteran, may be eligible to claim veterans’ preference when the veteran is unable to use it. You will be given a 10 point preference in hiring if you meet the eligibility criteria.

    Is There Any Consideration For State & Local Government Jobs When It Comes To Veterans’ Preference Points?

    For certain types of employment, the answer depends on the state. Illinois Civil Service jobs pre-test screenings include a request form veterans can use to apply for their preference points. That form includes a section for the “Parent of an unmarried veteran who suffered a service-connected death or service-connected disability that disqualifies the veteran from civil service employment.”

    There’s also a section on this form for “Surviving un-remarried spouse of a veteran who suffered a service-connected death or service-connected disability that disqualifies the veteran from civil service employment.”

    You may find the application process varies depending on the state you’re in, but in general, if you meet one of the above circumstances, you may find a distinct advantage in taking the time to apply for this type of veterans’ preference.

    What Are Preference Points?

    Preference points apply in hiring from civil service examinations for most excepted (other than competitive and Senior Executive Service (SES)) jobs. The preference points are added if you pass the civil service exam.

    There are three types of preference eligibility: sole survivorship (0-point preference eligible), non-disabled (5-point preference eligible), and disabled (10-point preference eligible).


    How Do I Apply for a Federal Job?

    USAJobs is a job board open to the public advertising jobs with the federal government. Veterans who apply to these jobs may be able to use veteran hiring preference points. Military spouses are also eligible to apply for jobs but must meet specific requirements, including a minimum time of availability prior to a new PCS move or reassignment.

    Some government jobs advertised on USAJobs are open to the public, while others are restricted to veterans, those with a disability, military spouses, or current federal employees.

    What Forms Will I Need to Apply?

    • DD214 – Be sure you have a legible copy of the military member’s DD214. You will need to submit a copy of this form with your job application.
    • Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference (SF 15) – You may need to complete this form and provide the supporting documents as indicated on the form.
    • A letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reflecting the member’s level of disability for preference eligibility. You can get the letter by visiting a VA Regional Office, contacting a VA call center or online.
    • Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders – Some authorities can be used only in combination with the active duty member’s reassignment.

    For Federal hiring, you’ll be instructed where to send documentation and related paperwork if it’s not included in the original submission of the job application.

    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News

    Written by Team