Federal Jobs for Survivors & Veteran Spouses

The Bush-era Executive Order which created a noncompetitive appointment for certain military spouses was expanded the last week of August. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published the final regulations which give military spouses of deceased and 100 percent disabled veterans as much time as they need to apply for a federal job under the military spouse hiring authority.

Previously, certain military spouses and widows/widowers could be noncompetitively appointed to a federal job within a limited two-year time frame after their spouse died or became totally disabled. However, many spouses were not prepared to enter the workforce within this two-year time period because they were still grieving, enrolled in educational and/or training programs, or were caring for children or their disabled spouse. The final regulations recognize that two years may not be enough time for these spouses to seek and obtain a federal job.

OPM continues to track the number of military spouses and survivors hired by the federal government. The military spouses' noncompetitive hiring authority, which first became effective on September 11, 2009, allows certain spouses who are not already federal employees to apply directly to agency job opportunity announcements, without having to compete with other applicants. Between October 2009 and October 2010, 887 military spouses were hired.

The recent change does not apply to military spouses whose eligibility is based on relocation orders. According to OPM, “All other noncompetitive hiring authorities have a time limitation for appointment eligibility. OPM also stated that, “Elimination of the two-year window for [permanent change of station] would create an inconsistency between this group and other individuals eligible for noncompetitive entry into federal service."

The National Military Family Association submitted comments to the initial rule in 2009 and for this change in May 2011. We have supported an elimination of the two-year window for surviving spouse and spouses of 100 percent disabled service members from the onset and we are pleased this change was adopted. We are disappointed OPM did not adopt additional recommendations to expand federal hiring opportunities for other military spouses. To read our comments, click here.

(Source: http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=48664&oref=todaysnews and http://www.opm.gov/news/help-for-federal-government-to-hire-more-military-spouses,1714.aspx)

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