The Federal Military Spouse Hiring Preference Now Expanded


You may know about the military spouse hiring preference that gives military spouses who have moved to a new location under military orders a leg up in the Defense Department federal job market. 

In the past the program, known as the Priority Placement Program, or PPP-S, has had a pesky little qualifier on it: it could only be used up to two years after a PCS. That meant the clock started ticking for use on the report date of those PCS orders. If the spouse didn't choose to find a job within that window, the priority was gone.

But that two year cap is now no longer in play thanks to a measure included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and first reported by Susan Reynolds. Because of this change, military spouses now have an indefinite period of time to take advantage of the preference program. Two years, three years or five years -- it doesn't matter. 

That's great news. However, a few other caveats that are important to know still remain in place for the preference program.

First, you can only use the spouse hiring preference once per move. That means if you take a job after the PCS you can't use the preference again to get a better job. It may be better to wait for the right job to be available right out the gate. 

Next, to use the preference you have to have been married before your service member's reporting date. That means that if you got married and then moved to join your spouse, you don't qualify. Why not? I don't know -- it does seem sort of silly. 

Finally, the preference doesn't trump other "alternative recruitment sources." In other words, there could be some candidates who have higher preference than you do. That includes disabled veterans, handicapped individuals and more. 

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