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Veterans’ Rights






Veterans are afforded additional consideration and protection under various laws.  These can be broken down into several categories:  Examination Credits, Preference in Retention, and Additional Rights.

Examination Credits
Preference in Retention
Protections in Disciplinary Proceedings
Additional Rights and Privileges

Examination Credits

The State Constitution requires that examinations for appointment or promotion in the Civil Service of New York State be competitive, so far as practicable.  At the same time, it contains a significant exception to the strict rule of competition by giving additional credits in competitive examinations to war veterans.  Disabled veterans receive 10 points additional credit on their examination scores in open-competitive examinations and 5 points in promotion examinations.  Non-disabled veterans are granted 5 points in open-competitive examinations and 2.5 points in promotion examinations.  In every case, however, the veteran must attain a passing mark on an examination before additional credits may be added to his/her score.  The additional credits may not be applied to raise a failing grade to a passing one.

Veterans eligible for the credits are those who:

  • Were members of the Armed Forces of the United States;

  • Served on active duty for other than training purposes in time of war; 

    • World War II from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
    • Korean Conflict from June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
    • Vietnam Conflict from December 22, 1961 to May 7, 1975
    • Lebanon* from June 1, 1983 to December 1, 1987
    • Grenada* from October 23, 1983 to November 21, 1983
    • Panama* from December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990
    • Persian Gulf Conflict from August 2, 1990 to "end of such hostilities"
    • US Public Health Service from June 29, 1945 to December 31, 1946, or from June 26, 1950 to July 3, 1952

      *NOTE:  Credit for Lebanon, Grenada or Panama will be limited to those who received an expeditionary medal.
  • Were discharged honorably, released under honorable circumstances, or will be honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances at the time of appointment, and;

  • Are residents of New York State at the time of application for appointment, promotion or retention, as the case may be.

A veteran  who is disabled is defined as someone who meets the above service criteria and is certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs [formerly known as the Veterans Administration] as having a disability rated at ten percent or more which was incurred while serving in the United States Armed Forces in time of war.  The disability must be in existence and the disabled veteran must be receiving payment from the Department of Veterans Affairs for such disability at the time of application for appointment or retention.

Other key points to remember regarding use of Veterans Credits:

  • Additional credits are applied to a qualifying candidate’s score only at the time an eligible list is established;

  • An individual must apply for, and prove eligibility for, such credit before the eligible list is established;

  • Veterans may receive additional credits in an examination in which he/she is a successful candidate up to the time that such credits are actually used to obtain an appointment or promotion.  A veteran is only entitled to obtain one appointment resulting from these additional credits.

Preference in Retention

Another important benefit granted to disabled and non-disabled veterans is the right of preference in retention in the event of a reduction in force in the competitive class. This preference is covered in detail in the section on layoffs. The qualifications for eligibility for additional examination credits also apply to eligibility for preference in retention.

The Civil Service Law also contains provisions favoring war veterans who are laid off upon the abolition of positions in the non-competitive or labor jurisdictional classes. The law provides that if the non-competitive or labor class position of a veteran is abolished, he/she shall be entitled to transfer to any similar position where a vacancy exists and receive the same compensation. 

Some important points to remember regarding veterans preference in retention:

  • He/she does not have a right to bump a non-veteran, nor does the law mean that a veteran must be given a vacant position even if there are no duties to perform in the position;

  • The law does not mandate the filling of a position that would otherwise stay vacant because of lack of work;

  • The law does give laid off war veterans the right of preference to employment in a similar position over others who might otherwise be appointed to such positions;

  • It is the responsibility of the veteran to seek and find such positions.

Protections in Disciplinary Proceedings

Disciplinary proceedings are set forth in Section 75 of Civil Service Law.  Employees who are subject to the provisions of Section 75 may not be removed or otherwise subjected to disciplinary penalty except for incompetency or misconduct established after a hearing on stated charges.

The provisions of Civil Service Law dealing with removal for incompetency or misconduct apply to permanent competitive class employees and, except as noted below, honorably discharged war veterans holding a position by permanent appointment in the classified service.

  • A war veteran serving in the exempt, non-competitive or labor class is not covered by Section 75 if he/she holds the position of private secretary, cashier or deputy of any official or department;

    In addition, if the Civil Service Commission designates a non-competitive class position as confidential or policy-influencing, the incumbent is not protected by the provisions of Section 75.

Additional Rights and Privileges

The rights and privileges of public employees who enter military service are provided for in Military Law and additional rights are guaranteed by federal law.  In addition, federal law provides that veterans shall be accorded the protections of federal or state law, whichever is more generous.

Military and/or federal law provides additional rights and privileges to veterans in such areas as:

  • Military Service and Leaves of Absence
  • Entitlement to Examinations
  • Appointment While on Military Duty
  • Credit Toward Probationary Requirements
  • Age Requirements
  • Leave for Education

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