On November 7, 2002, Congress passed the Jobs for Veterans Act (Public Law 107-288). The act makes significant changes to the Veterans Readjustment Act, to include changing the title of the Act to -Veterans' Recruitment Appointment- (VRA). The changes were effective immediately upon enactment of the law.
Under the new law, the following veterans are eligible for a non-competitive VRA appointment:
- Disabled veterans;
- Veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized;
- Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) was awarded; and
- Recently separated veterans. Recently separated veterans are defined as those who have separated from active service within the last three years.
These provisions are a substantial change from the previous language.
- They provide additional flexibility by eliminating all time restrictions on appointments for those in the first three categories, i.e., disabled veterans and those with a campaign badge or AFSM. This means that individuals in the first three categories may be appointed or converted to a VRA appointment without regard to any time limit.
- Length of service requirements have been eliminated for all categories of veterans.
- On the other hand, veterans who are not disabled and who do not have a campaign badge or AFSM may only be appointed within the first three years after their most recent separation. This provision not only affects individuals to whom you wish to make an initial appointment, but also affects current VRA appointees whom you may wish to convert to a new appointment. For example- you appoint someone who is eligible only as a -recently separated veteran- 2 ½ years after separation. This individual may not be converted to a new VRA appointment once an additional six months have passed. Because of this, many individuals currently on the roles under VRA appointments may well not be eligible under the new criteria. Such individuals are, however, continued in their current VRA appointments and are converted to career/career-conditional appointment at the appropriate time.
Unlike the previous VRA provisions, the new provisions do not specifically require that the veteran have been -released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable.- We have asked for additional guidance on this issue, but you should be aware that at the present time it appears that you cannot automatically disqualify someone with a dishonorable discharge. We recommend that you carefully review any issue that may affect the individual's suitability for employment with DOD before extending an offer of employment.
Other aspects of the VRA remain unchanged. As in the past, the following provisions apply.
- The maximum grade level at which appointments may be made is GS-11;
- Veterans must be "qualified", i.e., able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation for a disability;
- Veterans with less than 15 years of education must still receive training or education; and
- After two years of successful employment, appointments must be converted to career conditional.
The "VRA Frequently Asked Questions" information previously under the Staffing Advisory Section on the CPMS website has been deleted for revision, and will re-appear when all appropriate changes have been made.