The Veterans Readjustment Authority permits Federal agencies to hire qualified veterans into the competitive service without requiring that they compete with other candidates. In Federal Government terminology, a method of hiring that does not require competition is called either a “direct hire” authority (usually justified by an extreme shortage of candidates) or an authority for “noncompetitive appointment to the competitive service” (in cases where certain eligibility criteria must be met in addition to meeting minimum job qualifications).
Veterans are eligible for VRA appointment for 10 years after their separation from active duty or until specific dates, depending on whether they are Vietnam-era or post-Vietnam-era veterans, whichever provides the later date of eligibility. There is no time limit on eligibility for a veteran with a service-connected disability of 30 percent or more.
Agencies decide whether the applicant meets experience and education requirements for the job and may or may not require an examination. A permanent appointment is not guaranteed. Individuals originally are hired for a 2-year period. Following 2 years of observing the individual’s performance on the job, the agency decides whether to make the appointment permanent through noncompetitive conversion. The literature suggests a high level of validity for this type of selection criterion.