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Executive Order authorizes noncompetitive hiring of military spouses for federal jobs

By Colie Young | | October 29, 2009

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has issued final regulations implementing Executive Order 13473 establishing a noncompetitive hiring authority to appoint certain military spouses to temporary, term limited or permanent positions in the competitive service. 

The new hiring authority, named “Noncompetitive Appointment of Certain Military Spouses,” came into effect Sept. 11, 2009, and will help spouses attain federal jobs without having to go through the usual competitive process, provided they meet eligibility requirements. 

The intended effect of these regulations is to facilitate the entry of military spouses into the federal civil service, as part of an effort to recruit and retain skilled and experienced members of the armed forces and to recognize and honor the service of members injured, disabled or killed in connection with their service.

“This new hiring authority provides an additional hiring flexibility for managers to consider as part of their recruitment efforts and provides a mechanism to assist military spouses in maintaining job stability,” said Wanda Fitzgerald, supervisory human resources specialist, Civilian Human Resources Office-Southeast, Marine Corps Installations East.

Eligibility for this noncompetitive hiring authority falls into four major categories as follows: (1) a spouse of an U.S. armed forces service member serving on active duty (not for training) for more than 180 days, provided the spouse relocates to the member’s new permanent duty station; (2) a spouse of a military service member who is retired from active duty with a documented service-connected disability rating of 100 percent; (3) a spouse of a military service member who retired or was released or discharged from active duty and has a disability rating of 100 percent as documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs; or (4) a spouse of a military service member killed while on active duty.

In the latter case, the spouse must be the unremarried widow/widower of the deceased service member to meet eligibility.

If a spouse applies under the relocating spouse eligibility category, they must have been married before the orders were issued and they must relocate with their service member to the new duty station by way of permanent change of station orders. Eligibility is limited to the geographic area indicated on the service member’s orders. In order to prove eligibility for this authority, the spouse must provide a copy of the service member’s PCS orders showing authorization to accompany him or her and proof of marriage is required. Spousal eligibility for noncompetitive appointment must be used within two years of the date of the service member’s PCS orders.

“Even though some of the actual processes are still being worked out, the hiring authority is currently in effect here and at other federal installations,” Fitzgerald said.

If applying for eligibility based on the disability of the service member, the service member must have retired under Chapter 61 of Title 10 of the United States Code with a 100 percent disability rating at the time of retirement, or was released or discharged from active duty due to a service-connected disability and that the disability rating is 100 percent. Spouses of retired or released service members who have a 100 percent disability rating from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs or applicable branch of service also qualify.

There is no geographic restriction for eligible spouses using this eligibility. Eligibility is for a maximum of two years from the date of documentation verifying the member of the armed forces is 100 percent disabled. There are no geographic restrictions for eligible spouses.

If claiming eligibility based on the death of a service member, the authority requires the service member to have been killed while on active duty. The surviving spouse must remain unmarried in order to remain eligible. Proof of marriage at the time of death is required and eligibility must be exercised within two years of the date of documentation verifying the service member was killed. There are no geographic restrictions for eligible spouses.

Fitzgerald pointed out that managers can use this new appointing authority as part of their area of consideration for recruitment or for placement of eligible spouses into positions without competition if they meet all of the qualification requirements for the positions. 

“All appropriate priority placement programs must be cleared prior to making a job offer,” Fitzgerald stressed.

The Department of the Navy is in the process of updating the Civilian Hiring and Recruitment Tool system to accommodate this new hiring authority which will enable applicants to select it as their eligibility status.

According to Fitzgerald, spouses needing assistance in applying for vacancies can call the Marine and Family Service Center here at (229) 639-5426.

For questions or additional information, call Fitzgerald at (229) 639-5251