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Family Member Preference (Derived Preference)

On October 7, 2015, the President signed the “Gold Star Fathers Act of 2015,”into law. The Act became effective on January 7, 2016 and amends section 2108(3)(F) and (G) of Title 5, United States Code, by expanding preference eligibility from the “mother” of a deceased or disabled veteran who is unable to use his or her preference, to the “parent” of that service member. OPM is in the process of updating the SF-15, Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference; and relevant website pages. The requirements are described in an OPM memorandum to Chief Human Capital Officers concerning this new authority.

Derived Preference is a method 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 XP Preference (10 points) in appointment if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Both a parent and a spouse (including widow or widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same veteran's service if each meets the requirements applicable to a parent and a spouse, respectively.

Note: The derived preference for spouses is different than the preference the Department of Defense is required by law to extend to spouses of active duty members in filling its civilian positions. For more information on that program, contact your local Department of Defense personnel office.

Spouses

As a spouse of a veteran, you will be eligible for derived preference if the veteran has been unable to qualify for a Federal position along the general lines of his or her usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the veteran is unemployed and

  • is rated by appropriate military or Department of Veterans Affairs authorities to be 100 percent disabled and/or unemployable; OR
  • has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position on the basis of a disability that is service-connected in origin; OR
  • has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of his or her usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability.

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Widows/Widowers

As a widow or widower of a veteran, you will be eligible if you and the veteran did not divorce, you have not remarried, or any remarriage was annulled, and the veteran

  • served during a war or during the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized; OR
  • died while on active duty that included service described immediately above under conditions that would not have been the basis for other than an honorable or general discharge.

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Parent of a Deceased Veteran

As the parent of a veteran, you will be eligible if your son or daughter lost his or her life under honorable conditions while serving in the armed forces during a war, or during the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized; AND

  • Your own spouse is totally and permanently disabled; OR
  • At the time, when preference is claimed, you are unmarried or, if married, legally separated from your spouse.

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Parent of a Disabled Veteran

Alternatively, you will be eligible if your son or daughter was separated with an honorable or general discharge from active duty, including training service in the Reserves or National Guard, and is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected injury or illness; AND

  • Your own spouse is totally and permanently disabled; OR
  • At the time when preference is claimed, you are unmarried or, if married, legally separated from your spouse

Note: Derived preference is not given in connection with veterans who would have qualified for preference under 5 U.S.C. 2108 (1) (B), (C) or (2). Thus, spouses or parents of deceased disabled veterans who served after 1955, but did not serve in a war, campaign, or expedition, would not be entitled to claim preference.

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Military Spouses

Military Spouse Preference is a Department of Defense program applicable to positions being filled both in the continental United States and at overseas locations. For more information, contact your local Department of Defense personnel office.

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