Employment Law

Know Your Rights: Hiring Preferences for Veterans and Families of Servicemembers



  (480) 727-2382


Prepared by Certified Limited Practice Students, Fall 2010; updated winter 2013.

This document provides general information only. Please consult with an attorney if you need specific legal advice.




This document provides an overview of hiring preferences that benefit veterans and some military family members. It discusses employment with the federal government, Arizona State and local governments, and with federal contractors and subcontractors.

I. Preferences for Veterans Applying for Government Jobs

When a person applies for a government job, the hiring department or agency assigns the applicant a numerical score based on his or her qualifications. Both the federal and state government add additional points to this base score as a form of hiring preference to veterans applying for certain jobs. Hiring decisions are then based on this new score.

The federal government awards eligible veterans five or ten extra points. A veteran may receive ten points if he or she has a service-connected disability or received a Purple Heart. A veteran may receive five points if his or her active duty service meets one of the following requirements:

• 180 or more consecutive days of service

o Between September 11, 2001 and August 31, 2010 OR

o Between August 2, 1990 and January 2, 1992;

• 180 or more consecutive days, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955 and before October 15, 1976;

• In a war, campaign, or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized or between April 28, 1952 and July 1, 1955.

The State of Arizona has a similar hiring preference system. Veterans with a service- connected disability receive ten points. Veterans who complete at least six months of active duty service receive an additional five points.

II. Preferences for Veterans Applying for Jobs with Federal Contractors

The federal government requires its contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative steps to hire and promote qualified veterans. This requirement specifically targets the following groups:

• Disabled veterans;

• Recipients of the Armed Forces Service Medal; and

• Veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition with a campaign badge.

The law also prevents certain contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against an applicant or employee because he or she qualifies as a protected veteran.

A covered veteran may file a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance if he or she believes a federal contractor has violated a hiring preference requirement.

III. Preferences for Spouses and Select Family Members

Military spouses and other family members may also receive hiring preferences.

In the federal government, the Military Spouse Preference Program creates hiring preferences for spouses who relocate with an active duty servicemember. This program applies to civil positions in the Department of Defense. In addition, the Family Member Preference Program adds ten points to the numerical score of spouses, widows, widowers, or mothers of select veterans. This is called a derived preference.

Arizona state and local governments also grant certain spouses a five point preference when applying for civil positions.

Where can I find out more?

For additional information about federal hiring:

• Federal Hiring Process: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/filled/index.aspx .

• Veterans’ Preference: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx.

• Family Preference: http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/familypref/index.aspx.

• Veterans Services at the Office of Personal Management: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-services/vet-guide/.

• Veterans Employment and Training Service at the Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/vets/index.htm.

For additional information about Arizona hiring:

• Opportunities with the State of Arizona: http://www.hr.az.gov/index.asp.

• Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Veterans Guide Pamphlet: https://dvs.az.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/Veterans%20Guide.pdf.

For general employment resources:

• Joining Forces: http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/resources.

• Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Page at Military OneSource: http://www.militaryonesource.mil/seco.

• Spouse Employment Page of the National Military Family Association: http://www.militaryfamily.org/get-info/support-family/spouse-employment/.


Did you learn something? - 0 votes


This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use