Reprinted from Chief Human Capital Officers Council Transmittal “VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011”, 6/15/2012
Q. What is the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011?
A. The VOW (Veterans Opportunity to Work) To Hire Heroes Act of 2011 requires Federal agencies to treat active duty service members as veterans, disabled veterans and preference eligibles for purposes of an appointment in the competitive service.
Q. Why was VOW enacted?
A. Many service members begin their civilian job search prior to being discharged or released from active duty service and thus do not have a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, when applying for Federal jobs. The VOW Act was enacted to ensure these individuals do not lose the opportunity to be considered for Federal service (and awarded their veterans’ preference entitlements if applicable) despite not having a DD Form 214 to submit along with their résumés.
Q. What type of documentation is an active duty service member required to furnish with a job application?
A. The VOW requires the active duty service member to furnish a “certification.”
Q. What is a “certification?”
A. A “certification” is 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 the certification is signed.
Q. What affect does this new provision have on how agencies process applications of eligible veterans?
A. Agencies are required to accept, process, and grant tentative veterans’ preference to those active duty service members who submit a certification along with their job application materials.
Q. Should agencies automatically award veterans’ preference to individuals eligible under the VOW Act upon receiving the veteran’s job application?
A. No, agencies must grant service members’ tentative veterans’ preference but verify the individual meets the definition of ‘preference eligible’ prior to appointment.
Q. What should an agency do if the certification has expired, i.e., more than 120 days have lapsed since the date the certification was signed?
A. If the certification has expired; an agency must request other documentation (e.g., a copy of the DD Form 214) that demonstrates the service member is a preference eligible, before veterans’ preference can be awarded.
Q. Does VOW to Hire Heros Act apply to the Excepted Service?
A. No. The Act applies only to applications for appointments in the competitive service.
For more information go to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/VOW