Eligibility Requirements For Veterans Preference


"Veteran" means any person who has served full time for 30 days or more in the armed forces in time of war or in time of peace in a campaign or expedition for service in which a medal has been authorized by the Government of the United States, or during the period September 16, 1940 to January 31, 1955, or who has served at least 181 consecutive days since January 31, 1955, and who has been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, but does not include any person who served only in auxiliary or reserve components of the armed forces whose service therein did not exempt him or her from the operation of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.

Widows and widowers of a veteran who met these criteria are also eligible for Veterans’ Preference in open exams.

Disabled Veterans

A "disabled veteran" means any veteran who meets the applicable definition above, and who is currently declared by the United States’ Veterans Administration to be 10% or more disabled as a result of military service.

A "100% disabled veteran" means any veteran who meets the definition above, and who is currently declared by the United States' Veterans Administration to be 100% disabled as a result of military service. Spouses of 100% disabled veterans are also eligible for Veterans’ Preference as of January 1, 1983.

Proof of such disability shall be deemed conclusive if it is on record with the United States' Veterans Administration.

Competitors in State civil service open examinations who have never achieved permanent civil service status (passed probationary period), who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces as defined in Government Code Section 18540, and who qualify as veterans as defined above, are entitled to have Veterans’ Preference applied to their test scores as described below, provided that they achieve a passing score in the overall examination.

NOTE: Any member of the armed forced who takes an open examination while still on active duty and achieves a place on an eligible list may have preference applied for the examination if qualification for such preference is active within twelve (12) months after eligibility is established.

NOTE: Individuals who, at any time, achieved permanent civil service status and subsequently resigned or were dismissed from civil service are not eligible for Veterans’ Preference.

How Veterans' Preference is Applied to Your Final Examination Score:

Effective January 1, 2014, in accordance with Government Codes 18973.1 and 18973.5, Veterans’ Preference will be awarded as follows: 1) Any veteran, widow or widower of a veteran, or spouse of a 100 percent disabled veteran, who achieves a passing score in an entrance examination, shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. Any veteran who has been dishonorably discharged or released is not eligible for Veterans’ Preference. 2) An entrance examination is defined, under the law, as any open competitive examination. And 3) Veterans’ Preference is not granted once a person achieves permanent civil service status.

Veterans’ Preference will automatically be applied to your final score on the eligible list if your eligibility for Veterans’ Preference is approved BEFORE the eligible list is processed.

Instructions for Filing an Application for Veterans’ Preference:

Click here for additional Veterans' Preference information.

  1. A legible copy of your discharge document (DD214), or other official discharge documents, showing your enlistment and discharge dates, branch of service, Social Security Number, birthdate, net active service, and the Character of Service (i.e., type of discharge) must be submitted with this form.
  2. If you are the un-remarried widow or widower of a veteran, please submit copies of your marriage certificate, spouse’s discharge papers, and spouse’s death certificate or other documentation of death.
  3. If you are the spouse of a 100 percent-disabled veteran, please submit copies of your marriage certificate, spouse’s discharge papers, and a copy of the document provided by the United States’ Veterans Administration substantiating the 100 percent disablement.
  4. Mail this form, copy of discharge paper(s), and other documents to:
    California Department of Human Resources
    Veterans’ Preference Coordinator
    1515 "S" Street, North Bldg, Suite 400
    Sacramento, CA 95811.

For more information, call (866) 844-8671 and select option 3, or TTY (916) 323-6207.