Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Services for Veterans

Veterans’ Preference

Several levels of government give veterans’ preference in employment.

Federal Government Employment

Veterans’ preference eligibility is based on dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a service-connected disability. The individual must be honorably discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces. Spouses, widows/widowers, or mothers of veterans may be eligible to claim veterans’ preference when the veteran is unable to use it. Preference points (either five or 10) are added to passing grades earned in examinations for entrance into federal employment.

Thus, eligible veterans and other eligible persons receive veterans’ preference, but are not guaranteed employment. For more information, please check out the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Vet Guide. If you have questions, complaints or concerns regarding preference in federal employment, please check the online Veteran's Preference Advisor or contact the South Dakota State Director of Veterans' Employment and Training (DVET) at 605.626.2325.

State and Local Government Employment

South Dakota defines an eligible veteran as:

Eligible veterans receive preference for appointment, employment and promotion at all levels of government, including state, county and city, as well as public school systems. Within the executive branch of state government, qualified applicants with Veterans' Preference receive an interview for positions that are Veterans' Preference eligible.

They may not be disqualified by their age, by loss of a limb or by any other physical impairment which is not incapacitating. However, they must have the qualifications to do the job in question. A veteran disabled due to a service-connected cause is given preference over a non-disabled veteran.

Unmarried Spouse of Deceased Veteran

The unmarried spouse of an eligible veteran who died while in service, or died later from a service-connected cause, is entitled to the same preference as an eligible veteran, provided the spouse has the qualifications to do the job in question.

Spouse of Disabled Veteran

If a disabled eligible veteran is unable to exercise his or her right to a veteran employment preference due to the disability, the veteran's spouse is entitled to the same preference, provided the spouse has the qualifications to do the job in question.