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American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans

Veterans Preference

The government fills its vacancies in two ways, competitively and noncompetitively. Through the competitive process, jobs are advertised to the general public on USAJOBS.gov.

Veterans Preference awards points to Veterans during the application process, providing an advantage in job placement. Veterans Preference only applies when Veterans are applying to competitive positions, meaning those positions are publicly announced to a pool of job seekers.

Veterans who are disabled, or who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain time periods or in military campaigns, are entitled to preference over non-Veterans for Federal positions. To be entitled to Veterans' Preference, a veteran must meet the legal eligibility requirements:

  • An honorable or general discharge is necessary.
  • Military retirees at the rank of major, lieutenant commander, or higher are not eligible unless they are disabled.
  • Guard and reserve personnel on active duty for training purposes do not qualify.
Type of Preference When You Apply for A Federal Job
0-Point Preference
If you are classified as having a 0-point preference, you are evaluated on the basis of your qualifications only. When applying for a job, you must submit Form DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to document your discharge under honorable or general conditions.
5-Point Preference
You are eligible for 5-point preference if you served during any of the following:
  • During a war
  • From April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955
  • For 180 or more consecutive days after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976
  • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through Jan 2, 1992
  • For 180 or more consecutive days between September 11, 2001, and the date prescribed by presidential proclamation or by law as the last date of Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, or between April 28, 1952, and July 1, 1955
  • To pursue a 5-point preference, you must submit Form DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to document your discharge under honorable or general conditions.
10-Point Preference
You are eligible for 10-point preference if you served at any time and you have a service-connected disability or received a Purple Heart. To pursue 10-point preference, you must submit:
  • Form DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to document your discharge under honorable or general conditions
  • Form SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference
  • Letter from the VA Regional Office stating your disability rating
  • Disabled Veterans receive 10-point preference regardless of their disability rating. As a disabled veteran, you can seek noncompetitive appointments for some positions within IA.

Feds for Vets helps Veterans and transitioning military service members find Federal or non-profit careers. The Feds for Vets Career Center tools provide opportunities to translate military skills, build Federal resumes and search and apply for open positions. Services include:

  • Military Skills Translator
  • Resume Builder
  • Career Assessments
  • Coaching
  • Job Search

Visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Veteran Services website or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for detailed information about Veterans' Preference, including frequently asked questions.

Indian Preference vs Veterans Preference

In an opinion by the Solicitor General to the Department of Interior dated June 4, 1954, it was determined that the appointments made under Indian Preference take precedence over the provision of Section 3 of the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944. It is the policy of Indian Affairs, with respect to appointments in the excepted service that once Indian Preference requirements are met, Veterans’ Preference will be applied as set forth in 5 CFR 302.


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