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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Become a PMF


Veterans' Preference 

To be entitled to preference, a veteran must meet the eligibility requirements in Section 2108 of Title 5, United States Code. For more information on veterans' preference and their application in Federal employment refer to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) Vet Guide at In addition, veterans may visit FedsHireVets, the one-stop resource for Federal veteran employment information. 

Applying Veterans' Preference During Application and Selection of Finalists Process

During the PMF application process, applicants will be asked if they can claim veterans' preference and complete an on-line assessment. If claiming veterans' preference during the application process, applicants should follow the instructions provided in the announcement for submitting supporting documentation.

Once the application closes, those applicants who meet our initial on-line assessment cut-off score will be adjudicated. The adjudication process includes: (1) checking for completed applications, (2) confirming eligibility, (3) review claims for veterans' preference and determine preference categories, (4) adjust scores if necessary, and (5) factor in agency projections and hiring trends to determine the final number of Finalists. For example, if the program determines that it will certify 400 Finalists, then the top 400 scoring eligible applicants will be accepted as Finalists. If there are veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more who meet the on-line assessment cut-off score and meet all other eligibility requirements, they are moved to the top of the list before Finalists are determined. Those Finalists favorably adjudicated for veterans' preference are identified by their preference category in the PMF TMS (Talent Management System) for registered agency users to view and apply when recruiting Finalists for PMF appointments (see the section below for further information).

The PMF Program does not accept late applications from veterans. Late applications for veterans only apply when filling positions in the competitive service. The PMF Program operates under the excepted service. Applicants can only submit one application.

Applicants will not be able to make edits (except to personal contact information) or submit any additional documents after submitting their application. However, a “veteran” applicant may send any new or revised supporting documentation to their claim for veterans’ preference via email to (to include their full name, contact information, and documentation) up to 2-weeks after the application closes to be considered. If beyond 2-weeks, the “veteran” applicant would need to wait until Finalists are announced. If the “veteran” applicant is selected as a Finalist, follow the instructions above to submit new or revised supporting documentation and the PMF Program Office would then re-adjudicate the claim for veterans’ preference and make any adjustments to the Finalist’s preference category.

There is no appeal process nor are any scores provided.

Veterans' Preference Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What types of supporting information can be submitted when claiming Veterans' Preference?
Applicants must submit information which documents the veteran's dates of military service, separation under honorable conditions and any service connected disability (if applicable). Applicants are not  required to ensure a Social Security Number appears on these documents and may redact such references. Acceptable forms of supporting documentation include:

Documentation of Service and Separation under Honorable Conditions -

  • DD-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty". Must cleary show the "Character of Service" (e.g., Honorable).
  • Honorable or general discharge certificate.
  • Documents showing transfer to any of the reserve corps of the Armed Services.
  • Retirement or separation orders.
  • Certificate of service or release from active duty, showing that honorable separation took place.
  • Official statement from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that honorable separation took place.
  • Certification:  Any written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date certification is signed. 
  • Official statement from the Military personnel records center that official records show that honorable separation took place

Documentation of Service Connected disability -

  • Standard Form (SF 15) application for 10-point Veterans' Preference.
  • An official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or branch of the Armed Forces, certifying to the present existence of the veteran's service connected disability.
  • An official citation, document, or discharge certificate, issued by a branch of the Armed Forces, showing the award to the veteran of the Purple Heart.
  • An official statement or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces, showing that the retired service member was retried because of permanent service connected disability or was transferred to the permanent disability retirement list.
  • An official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that the veteran is receiving a nonservice-connected disability pension.
  • For spouses and mothers of disabled veterans:  An official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or branch of the Armed Forces, certifying:  (1) the present existence of the veteran's service connected disability; (2) the percentage and nature of the service connected disability; and, (3) a notation as to whether or not the service connected disability is rated as permanent and total.

2. What is a DD-214?
A DD-214, "Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty", is issued to military members upon separation from active service. It contains information about the veteran's dates of military service and separation.

3. I lost my DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, how can I obtain a copy?
A copy of the DD-214 and other military service records can be obtained from the National Archives. Visit for additional information.

4. What is the Standard Form (SF 15) application for 10-point Veterans' Preference?
The SF 15 is used by Federal Agencies and OPM examining offices to adjudicate individuals' claims for veterans' preference in accordance with the Veterans' Preference Act of 1994. The form also includes instructions.

5. Where can I find more information about Veterans' Preference?
For more information on veterans' preference and their application in Federal employment refer to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) Vet Guide at The Vet Guide also includes information about Service Credit for Leave Rate Accrual and Retirement. In addition, veterans may visit FedsHireVets, the one-stop resource for Federal veteran employment information.

Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their advanced degree, due to military service obligation, have as much as six years after degree completion to apply under the Recent Graduates Program; this does not apply to the PMF Program.

Finalists with Adjudicated Veterans' Preference

NOTE:  The information below is provided as general information for veteran Finalists and Federal Agency personnel. Each agency is responsible for applying veterans' preference, documenting, and any pass overs. Reference to "OPM" is referring to an agency contacting the appropriate OPM office for pass over requests and is not referring to the PMF Program Office.

Only registered agency users of the PMF TMS (Talent Management System) can view the preference categories for Finalists.

If a Finalist is a veteran and he/she expresses an interest in working for an agency, that agency must apply the provisions of section 302 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR 302), when selecting and appointing candidates. For purposes of the PMF Program, "expresses an interest" means that the Finalist has applied to an agency's posted announcement for consideration for appointment to a specific position. This does not mean an agency must contact each veteran on the list of Finalists. 

Each applicant pool is unique. The applicant pool consists of those Finalists who applied for a posted position. 

If the agency selects a non-veteran Finalist over a preference eligible veteran Finalist, it must prepare a written justification as to why the veteran Finalist did not meet the criteria for the position. Decisions must be qualifications driven and based on the specific requirements detailed in the position. The written justification accomplishes two objectives:

  1. Veteran Finalists are entitled, upon request, to obtain a copy of the reasons they were passed over in favor of a non-veteran Finalist. The written justification is intended to satisfy that obligation and thus should be written with the expectation that the veteran Finalist who was passed over may request to review it.
  2. Additionally, if OPM officials audit the agency's PMF process, the written justification serves as documentation that veteran Finalists who were part of the agency applicant pool for said position received proper consideration.

A preference eligible veteran, who does not have a compensable disability of 30 percent or more, can be eliminated from consideration only if the agency sustains the selecting official's objection to the preference eligible for adequate reason. These reasons, which must be recorded, include reasons based upon the criteria for medical disqualification under 5 CFR Part 339, reasons based upon the criteria for making suitability determinations listed at 5 CFR 731.202, or other reasons considered by the agency.  OPM must approve the sufficiency of an agency reason to medically disqualify or pass over a preference eligible to select a non-preference eligible or to object to or pass over a candidate based upon medical reasons. The preference eligible (or his or her representative) is entitled to a copy of the agency's reason(s) for the pass over, upon request.

The following special provisions apply to passing over a disabled veteran with a compensable service-connected disability of 30 percent or more, for medical or non-medical reasons:

  • The agency must at the same time notify, in writing, both OPM and the disabled veteran of the reasons for its desire to pass over the disabled veteran and of the veteran's right to respond to OPM within 15 days of the date of the notification.
  • The agency must provide evidence to OPM that the notice was timely sent to the disabled veteran's last known address.
  • OPM will determine if the request was for a proper and adequate reason under its regulations, and the sufficiency of the evidence presented, taking into account any additional information provided by the veteran.
  • OPM may ask the agency to submit more detailed information in support of its request.
  • If OPM sustains the pass over request, the agency may select another qualified person from the certificate of eligibles (or equivalent).  If OPM does not sustain the request, the agency may not pass over the veteran on the basis of the reason presented.
  • This procedure does not stop the agency from filling a position if it has more than one position to fill from the same certificate of eligible (or equivalent), and holds open a position that could be filled by the individual against whom a request has been filed.
  • OPM will notify the agency and the preference eligible or disabled veteran of its decision, with which the agency must comply.
  • OPM is prohibited by law from delegating these functions to any agency.

Application of veterans' preference during the appointing agency's selection process is the responsibility of the appointing agency. All Federal Agencies are aware of veterans' preference and must have procedures in place to consider in their selection process. Veteran Finalists may review the Vets Guide for more information.

For additional information, visit OPM's Pathways FAQs webpage under the "Veterans' Preference and Pass overs" section.

If a Finalist has a change in their veterans' preference (for example, obtains supporting documentation changing their level of disability), he/she may send such documentation via email to (to include their full name, contact information, and documentation) and request to be re-adjudicated.

Fellows with Veterans' Preference

Once a veteran Finalist onboards as a PMF, he/she can receive retirement credit for military service once they make a deposit into a civilian annuity covering their military service; this is commonly referred to as "buying back your military time". The deposit will be processed through their agency’s Human Resources Office. The military buy-back rules vary based on the year the veteran became employed by the Federal Government. Contact the Human Resources Office for additional information and procedures.

UPDATED: 10-22-2020