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DOT Special Hiring Authorities


Hiring veterans is a win/win situation. Today's veteran brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the job. The US Military provides service men and women with top notch training and robust practical work experience in areas of critical importance to DOT such as information technology, engineering, communications, security, information gathering, administrative support, human resources and financial management. Many already hold security clearances required for some Federal positions. Veterans tend to be well-equipped with the training, discipline, leadership abilities, teamwork attitude, work experience and work ethic that military service instills.


DOT encourages encourages hiring managers to use any and all methods to recruit and hire veterans. While Veterans Preference gives veterans some advantages in the competitive hiring process, hiring managers may be more interested in ways to hire qualified candidates quickly through Special Appointing Authorities.

Each DOT Operating Administration (OA) has Veteran Coordinators who work directly with veterans.


The following four authorities are for veterans only:


The Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA) allows us to hire eligible veterans without competition to normally competitive positions at any grade level through General Schedule (GS) 11 or equivalent. No vacancy announcement is required, so you avoid the often lengthy competitive hiring process. You also have the option to advertise only for VRA applicants and then appoint any eligible candidate. After two years of successful service, the veteran can be converted non-competitively to a career or career-conditional appointment.

  • While a veteran does not have to be on your competitive certificate, he or she must meet the basic qualification requirements for the position, except for any positions GS-3 or below
  • VRA can also be used to fill temporary or term positions, but as with all temporary and term positions, these still would not convert into permanent positions and unlike permanent positions, we still need to advertise these opportunities on USAJOBS

How to Use VRA

Step 1: For positions up to a GS-11 (the promotion potential of the position is not a factor), work with your HR Specialist to determine if the candidate is eligible. VRA eligibility applies to the following categories of veterans:

  • Disabled veterans, OR
  • Veterans with a campaign badge for service during a war or in a campaign or expedition, OR
  • Veterans who have received an Armed Forces Service Medal for participation in a military operation, OR
  • Veterans separated from active duty within the last three years, AND
  • Separated under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge)

There is no minimum service requirement, but the individual must have served on active duty, not active duty for training. (Note: Veterans who have less than 15 years of education must meet a post-appointment training or education requirement.)

Step 2: Appoint (hire) any VRA eligible who meets the qualifications requirements for the position. No announcement is required.

Applying Veterans Preferences: If there are two or more VRA candidates, and one or more is a preference-eligible veteran, Veterans Preference procedures apply.


This authority is a good way to quickly fill a competitive position at any grade level. Initial appointments are time-limited, but last more than 60 days. When the employee is successfully performing the position responsibilities, the veteran may be converted to permanent status.

  • There are no grade restrictions on this option
  • Veterans Preference does not apply
  • Management has an opportunity to evaluate the veteran's performance

How to Use the 30 Percent or More Disabled Veteran Appointment Authority

Step 1: Determine if the candidate is eligible under this authority. A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) letter or military discharge papers substantiating the service-connected disability is required. Eligibility applies to the following categories:

  • Disabled veterans who were retired from active military service with a disability rating of 30 percent or more
  • Disabled veterans rated by the VA as having a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more

Step 2: Appoint an eligible, disabled veteran who meets the qualifications for the position to a time-limited appointment of more than 60 days. You may convert the veteran, without a break in service, to a career or career-conditional appointment at any time during the time-limited appointment.

Disabled veterans can also be considered for positions under the Schedule A Hiring Authority for People with Disabilities.


VEOA eligible veterans are allowed to apply and be considered just like current Federal employees. They aren't given Veterans Preference, but they are allowed to compete for job opportunities that are not offered to other external candidates. When you are recruiting for merit promotion (limiting your search to applicants from within the Federal government), and are open to applicants from other agencies, veterans may apply too under VEOA.

  • There is no grade limit on this option
  • Veterans are given a career or career-conditional appointment
  • Appointments are to permanent competitive service positions
  • Veterans Preference does not apply
  • VEOA can only be used for permanent appointments
  • VEOA applicants must meet all OPM qualifications including passing any required assessment


Work with your HR Specialist to hire using VEOA. VEOA eligibility applies to the following categories of veterans when DOT is recruiting from outside our own work force:

  • Preference eligibles, both veterans and relatives with derived preference
  • Service personnel separated after three or more years of continuous active service performed under honorable conditions

Step 1: Consider the strategic benefit in filling the position using veterans and transitioning service members

Step 2: Determine your recruiting strategy – consider posting the job opportunity announcement at a Veterans Transition Center or with veterans' organizations

Step 3: Announce the vacancy on USAJOBS

Step 4: Assess VEOA applicants along with other status candidates, determine the most qualified candidates and issue a selection certificate; (Executive Agent)

Step 5: Assess the candidates and their qualifications, and select a candidate (Hiring Manager)


Disabled veterans eligible for training under a VA Vocational Rehabilitation program may enroll for training or work experience at DOT under the terms of an agreement between DOT and the VA. While enrolled in the VA program, the veteran is not a Federal employee for most purposes, but is a beneficiary of the VA.

Training is tailored to the individual's needs and goals, so there is no set duration. If the training is intended to prepare the individual for eventual appointment to a position at DOT rather than just provide work experience, we must ensure that the training will enable the veteran to meet the qualification requirements for the position. Upon successful completion, DOT and the VA give the veteran a Certificate of Training showing the occupational series and grade level of the position for which he or she was trained. The Certificate of Training allows any agency to appoint the veteran noncompetitively under a what is called a "status quo appointment" which may be converted to career or career-conditional appointment at any time.

DOT encourages all managers to consider using this authority. It is low-risk for the manager, and potentially yields a high reward for the Department, manager and veteran. Please talk with your HR Specialist if you are considering this option. The HR Specialist can coordinate with the various DOT components and external partners to bring the veteran on-board.

For more information about hiring veterans, you can visit OPM's "Feds Hire Vets" website.

Last updated: Friday, May 15, 2020