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3.6. Disability Law - Veterans' Preference and Other Affirmative Action Regulations
A few additional employment-related regulations exist to give disabled veterans and people with disabilities a preference in the employment process. These laws do not equal entitlement to a job, but entitlement to a preference in hiring. They are applicable to employment in the federal government, some state governments, and many government contracts. When considering federal employment, it is wise to consider all potential avenues including those specifically targeting people with disabilities. More about this subject can be found in Section 4 of this Knowledge Book.
a. Veterans' Preference Act
Under the Veterans' Preference Act, veterans with and without disabilities are entitled to preference over others in federal hiring from competitive lists of eligible applicants and may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments for which they are eligible. While veterans' preference may offer a hiring preference over non-veterans, it does not eliminate competition, as veterans will be competing with other veterans. Additionally, agencies are not required to use veterans' preference or any other appointment process.
- Some states and local governments may also grant veterans' preference for employment consideration. To find out if your state has a veterans' preference program, contact your state Labor Department. Check out your local/county government's careers website to see if veterans' preference applies.
b. Vietnam Era Veteran's Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA)
The Vietnam Era Veteran's Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires that businesses with a federal contract or subcontract in the amount of $100,000 or more entered into on or after December 1, 2003, take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified disabled veterans. This requirement also applies to contracts entered into before December 1, 2003, in the amount of $25,000 or more. VEVRAA also requires these businesses to list their employment openings with the appropriate employment service and to give covered veterans priority in referral to such openings.
c. Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act says that any contract in excess of $10,000 entered into by any federal department or agency for the procurement of personal property and non-personal services (including construction) for the United States shall contain a provision requiring that the party contracting with the United States shall take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. This includes disabled veterans who identify as a person with a disability.
- The provisions of VEVRAA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act are enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs within the U.S. Department of Labor. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/vevraa
d. Schedule A Hiring Authority
Federal agencies also may use specific rules and regulations, called "special hiring authorities," to hire individuals with disabilities outside the normal competitive hiring process, and sometimes may even be required to give preferential treatment to disabled veterans, when making hiring decisions.
- For more information about Schedule A, please refer to The ABC's of Schedule A, at https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/jobs-and-training-fda/special-hiring-authorities
- Detailed information about special hiring authorities, including Veterans' Preference in the federal government can be found at Feds Hire Vets.
- Additional information about employment with the federal government can be found in Section Two of this Knowledge Book.
Job-seeking veterans with disabilities are encouraged to ask for consideration under as many hiring authorities as they are eligible, in addition to claiming their preference under the competitive examining process (if applicable).