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Hiring Officials

Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans

Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans are just that…designed for veterans. Knowing about these authorities and how to employ them can enhance your ability to bring qualified veterans to the fore and speed the selection process.

  • Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)
  • 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans
  • Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA)
  • Schedule A (5 CFR 213.3102(u))

Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA)

What it Provides:

VRA allows agencies to make non-competitive appointment of eligible veterans up to the GS-11 or equivalent grade level. Veterans are hired under excepted appointments to positions that are otherwise in the competitive service. After the individual satisfactorily completes 2 years of service, the veteran must be converted noncompetitively to a career or career-conditional appointment.

When to Use it:

VRA can be a good tool for filling entry-level to mid-level positions. 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. Veterans employed in a temporary or term position under VRA will not be converted to the competitive service after 2 years. Note: There is no limit to the number of times a veteran can be appointed under VRA.

Who is Eligible:

VRA eligibility applies to the following categories:

  • Disabled veterans;
  • Veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during a war declared by Congress, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized;
  • Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a military operation for which the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) was awarded, to include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and
  • Veterans separated from active duty within the past 3 years.

How to Use it:

  • Step 1: For positions up to a GS-11 (the promotion potential of the position is not a factor), determine if the candidate is eligible under this authority. There is no minimum service requirement, but the individual must have served on active duty, not active duty for training. (NOTE: For Veterans who have less than 15 years of education, there is a training or education requirement.)
  • Step 2: Verify eligibility: The documentation should show that the veteran was discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge), service dates and any campaign or expeditionary medals.
  • Step 3: Subject to veterans' preference, appoint any VRA eligible who meets the qualifications requirements for the position. No announcement is required.
  • Step 4: Apply veterans' preferences: If an agency has two or more VRA candidates and one or more is a preference-eligible veteran, the agency must apply the veterans' preference procedures in 5 CFR part 302.

Benefits to the Agency: VRA allows a manager to fill positions quickly by appointing eligible Veterans to positions for which they are qualified, up to and including GS-11 or equivalent, without issuing a vacancy announcement.

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30 Percent or More Disabled Veteran

What it Provides:

This authority enables a hiring manager to appoint an eligible candidate to any position for which he or she is qualified, without competition. Unlike the VRA, there is no grade-level limitation. Initial appointments are time-limited, but must last more than 60 days; however, you can noncompetitively convert the individual to a permanent status at any time during the time-limited appointment.

When to Use it:

This authority is a good tool for filling positions at any grade level quickly. 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) appointments in the competitive service.

Who is Eligible:

Eligibility applies to the following categories:

  • Disabled veterans who were retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more; and
  • Disabled veterans rated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as having a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more.

How to Use it:

  • Step 1: Determine if the candidate is eligible under this authority. A VA letter or military discharge papers substantiating the service-connected disability is required, along with documentation of an honorable or general discharge. Discharge documentation should show that the veteran was discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge), service dates and any campaign or expeditionary medals.
  • Step 2: Appoint an eligible, disabled veteran who meets the qualifications for the position to a temporary appointment of more than 60 days or to a term appointment. Note: You may convert the appointment, without a break in service, to career or career-conditional at any time during the temporary or term appointment. Veterans' preference does not apply and no announcement is required.

Benefits to the Hiring Manager:

A 30 percent or more disabled veteran appointment is an effective way to quickly appoint eligible disabled veterans to any position for which they are qualified without issuing a vacancy announcement.

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Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA)

What it Provides:

This authority permits preference eligibles and certain eligible Veterans' the ability to compete for jobs that otherwise only would have been available to status employees. In VEOA appointments, preference eligibles and Veterans are not accorded preference as a factor, but they are allowed to compete for job opportunities that are not offered to other external candidates. A VEOA eligible who is selected will be given a career or career-conditional appointment.

When to Use it:

Agencies must consider VEOA eligibles who have competed under agency merit promotion announcements when they are recruiting from outside their workforce. The authority does not apply when an agency is filling excepted service positions.

Who is Eligible:

VEOA eligibility applies to the following categories of veterans:

  • Preference eligibles; and
  • Service personnel separated after 3 or more years of continuous active service performed under honorable conditions.

How to Use it:

  • Step 1: Consider the strategic benefit in soliciting applicants outside your own workforce, so that veterans and transitioning service members may apply for the position.
  • Step 2: Determine recruiting strategy. If you are going to consider external candidates, you must permit VEOA eligibles to apply. Consider posting announcement at Veterans Transition Centers or with Veterans Service Organizations.
  • Step 3: Announce the vacancy on USAJOBS.
  • Step 4: Consider VEOA applicants with other status candidates. Applicants must provide acceptable documentation of their preference or appointment eligibility.
  • Step 5: Determine the most qualified candidates. Determine which applicants are qualified, rate them based on their qualifications, and issue a selection certificate in accordance with the agency merit promotion plan.
  • Step 6: Select a candidate. If a VEOA eligible is selected, he/she is given a career-conditional or career (as appropriate) appointment.

Benefits to the Hiring Manager:

The VEOA allows managers to consider highly qualified, non-status preference eligibles and Veterans without using more burdensome competitive examination procedures.

Note: 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. "Preference eligible" under VEOA includes those family members entitled to derived preference.

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Disabled Veterans Enrolled in a VA Training Program

What it Provides:

This program provides eligible veterans with the opportunity to obtain training and practical job experience concurrently. Veterans who are entitled to training under the Chapter 31 VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program are eligible to participate in an OJT program when determined appropriate by a VA Case Manager.

When to Use it:

This program is ideal for eligible veterans who learn easily in a hands-on environment.

Who is Eligible:

Veterans eligible for Chapter 31 VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program as determined by the VA Case Manager/Employment Specialist.

How to Use it:

Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Office - VR&E Division.

Benefits to the Hiring Manager:

  • Hiring a potentially highly qualified candidate
  • Ability to hire a trainee at an apprenticeship wage
  • Trainee is provided with necessary tools, uniforms and other required supplies
  • Minimal paperwork is required of the employer
  • Employer has VA support during training and placement follow-up phase to assist with any work or training related problems

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.

38 U.S.C. chapter 31; 5 CFR 3.1 and 315.604

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Schedule A Appointing Authority for People with Certain Disabilities

Though not specifically for veterans, the Schedule A authority for people with certain disabilities, 5 CFR 213.3102(u), is an excepted authority that agencies can use to appoint eligible veterans who have a psychological, intellectual, or severe physical disability.

Agencies can use this authority, at their discretion, to appoint an eligible veteran at any grade level and for any job (time-limited or permanent) for which they qualify. After 2 years of satisfactory service, the agency may convert the veteran, without competition, to the competitive service.

Additional information on the use of the Schedule A appointing authority for persons with certain disabilities can be found on the OPM website.

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