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Veterans Preference (Federal)

Benefit Category: Federal

Veterans who are disabled, who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring for virtually all federal government jobs.

5-Point Preference (TP)

Five points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a veteran who served:

  • During a war; or
  • During the period April 28, 1952 through July 1, 1955; or
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976; or
  • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992; or
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or by law as the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom;or
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference.

A campaign medal holder or Gulf War veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligibles separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.

10-Point Compensable Disability Preference (CP)

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:

  • A veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent but less than 30 percent.

10-Point 30 Percent Compensable Disability Preference (CPS)

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more.

10-Point Disability Preference (XP)

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:

  • A veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs but does not qualify as a CP or CPS; or
  • A veteran who received a Purple Heart.

10-Point Derived Preference (XP)

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of spouses, widows, widowers, or mothers of veterans as described below. This type of preference is usually referred to as "derived preference" because it is based on service of a veteran who is not able to use the preference.

Both a mother and a spouse (including widow or widower) may be entitled to preference on the basis of the same veteran's service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.

Spouse

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the spouse of a disabled veteran who is disqualified 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 .

Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.

Widow/Widower

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the widow or widower of a veteran who was not divorced from the veteran, has not remarried, or the remarriage was annulled, and the veteran either:

  • 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.

Mother of a deceased veteran

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the mother of a veteran who died under honorable conditions while on active duty 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

  • she is or was married to the father of the veteran; and
  • she lives with her totally and permanently disabled husband (either the veteran's father or her husband through remarriage); or
  • she is widowed, divorced, or separated from the veteran's father and has not remarried; or
  • she remarried but is widowed, divorced, or legally separated from her husband when she claims preference.

Mother of a disabled veteran

Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a mother of a living disabled veteran if the veteran was separated with an honorable or general discharge from active duty, including training service in the Reserves or National Guard, performed at any time and is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected injury or illness; and the mother:

  • is or was married to the father of the veteran; and
  • lives with her totally and permanently disabled husband (either the veteran's father or her husband through remarriage); or
  • is widowed, divorced, or separated from the veteran's father and has not remarried; or
  • remarried but is widowed, divorced, or legally separated from her husband when she claims preference.

More information

See the Veterans' Preference Brochure (pdf) for more information. 

If you are not sure of your preference eligibility, visit the Department of Labor's Veterans' Preference Advisor.

Review the VetGuide at the US Office of Personnel Management for more information on other qualifying factors for Federal Veteran's preference.

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and /or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).