Wednesday, May 02, 2007

When is a Veteran not a Veteran

Here is a quiz, dear reader – guess which individual(s) qualify for Veteran’s preference in hiring and retention for Federal jobs in accordance with OPM guidelines

Person 1 – Retired, from the Active Army after a 20 year career, as a Major

Person 2 – Discharged from Active Duty with an Honorable Discharge after 2 years enlisted service 1974-1976.

Person 3 – Army Reserve soldier enters Retired Reserve after 28 years Reserve service (never selected for deployment)

Who did you pick – all three? The answer is: only person 2 qualifies for veteran’s preference. Seems incredible that the two retirees are both excluded - one due to status as a retiree in the grade of Major from Active Duty the other due to the fact that the individual was never called to participate (although trained and maintained readiness) in a campaign awarding a medal or active duty during a covered period.

Military retirees at the rank of major, lieutenant commander, or higher are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. (This does not apply to Reservists who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.)

Active duty for training or inactive duty by National Guard or Reserve soldiers does not qualify as "active duty" for preference

The rules are maintained by the Office of Personnel Management which is the HR agency for the Federal Government – as you can guess, we have a hodgepodge of rules that includes some members of the military that served during covered periods of time and excludes others that devote entire careers to serving our country whether active or Reserve.

Today we make costly enticements to our youth to serve, while we snub those that have served with respect to offering them improved consideration for government positions – what kind of message does that send? I believe there is a need and value for continued service member representation throughout the Federal Government. We should at least offer a token to those that have done so much for this country by improving or equitably setting policies for hiring opportunities and retention rights within the Federal Government.

You can see other rules at the US Office of Personnel Management at their Vet Guide


Anonymous said...

Not quite right. If any of those veterans had deployed and received a campaign medal (e.g. Kosovo Campaign Medal or Iraq Campaign Medal), they too would get a vets preference.

Noonie Fortin said...

I too am a retired Army Reservist. All the times I re-enlisted I was reminded that if I stayed for at least 20 years I'd have all Veteran benefits. Well I now know that I don't have VA health care and the eligibility certificate for a VA Home loan will expire when I turn 60--a few months away. My GI Bill for education ran out during my last enlistment and yet I didn't have time to continue my education. Getting back to the VA health care--I was told since neither I nor any of the units I served with got deployed by order of the POTUS--I was not eligible for health care. AND it didn't matter that I got ill, injured or required surgery during my time in the USAR. Go figure.