Changes to Veterans’ Preference

A “sole survivorship discharge” will now enable a person to qualify for veterans’ preference.

The Office of Personnel Management has issued new guidance to agencies on applying Veterans’ Preference.

On August 29, 2008, the Hubbard Act was enacted as Public Law 110-317.  The Hubbard Act, which was passed in August 2008, amended the eligibility categories for veterans’ preference purposes.  It establishes a new veterans’ preference eligibility category for veterans released or discharged from active duty from the armed forces, after August 29, 2008, with a “sole survivorship discharge.”

A “sole survivorship discharge” is defined as the separation of a member from the armed forces, at the request of the member, pursuant to Department of Defense policy permitting the early separation of a member who is the only surviving child in a family in which the father or mother or one or more siblings served in the armed forces and was killed or died as a result of wounds, accident, or disease, is in a captured or missing in action status, or is permanently 100 percent disabled or hospitalized on a continuing basis (and is not employed gainfully because of the disability or hospitalization).

Also, the death, status, or disability cannot be the result of intentional misconduct or willful neglect of the parent or sibling and was not incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.

Under the new sole survivorship preference, the individual

(1) does not receive veterans’ preference points as other preference eligibles do when the “rule of 3” is applied;

(2) is entitled to be listed ahead of non-preference eligibles with the same score on an examination, or listed  ahead of non-preference eligibles in the same quality category when agencies are using category rating;

(3) is entitled to receive the same pass over rights as other preference eligibles; and

(4) is entitled to credit experience in the armed forces to meet the qualification requirements for Federal jobs.

The Office of Personnel Management will be implementing changes to its guides listing the various ways in which veterans’ preference is implied. The revised guides will  indicate that the sole survivorship designation should be “Sole Survivorship Preference” or “SSP.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47