Civil Service Preference
Veterans are provided an absolute Veterans Preference when applying for a New Jersey civil service position.
This means that qualified New Jersey Veterans who receive a passing score are placed at the top of open competitive employment lists, ahead of Non-Veterans, regardless of their scores.
Disabled Veterans are given the highest preference, being placed above both Veterans and Non-Veterans on open competitive employment lists.
Veterans Preference can be established as late as 8 days prior to an open competitive employment list being issued.
For an example of how this works, please visit the Civil Service Commission’s Open Competitive Exams for Veterans page.
Qualifying for Veterans Preference
To qualify for Veterans Preference, the Veteran must have served on active duty during a qualifying war era.
The following documents will be needed to prove this service occurred:
The surviving spouse of a Veteran who died outside of service is entitled to the same preference as the Veteran, up until they remarry.
Qualifying for Disabled Veterans Preference
To qualify for Disabled Veterans Preference, all requirements for Veterans Preference must be met, and the Veteran must be receiving at least a 10% disability compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
The following document will be needed to prove this disability:
The spouse of a Disabled Veteran is entitled to the same preference as the Disabled Veteran, provided they are not employed in a civil service position. The Disabled Veteran must also waive all preference for the duration of their spouse’s civil service employment.
The surviving spouse of a Disabled Veteran is entitled to the same preference as the Disabled Veteran, up until they remarry.
The surviving spouse of any Veteran who died in service is entitled to the Disabled Veteran Preference, up until they remarry.
The parent of any Veteran who died in service is entitled to the Disabled Veteran Preference. If there is a surviving spouse as well, only one can claim preference.
Qualifying War Era Service Dates
The amount of active duty service required to qualify for Veterans Preference varies by war era.
Regardless of war era, active duty service accrued during the following Reserve or National Guard training obligations does NOT count towards the Veterans Preference active duty requirement:
To qualify for Veterans Preference, the following war eras require at least 90 days of active duty service, begun within the specified windows:
World War II
To qualify for Veterans Preference, the following war eras require:
Lebanon Peacekeeping Mission
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Operations Southern and Northern Watch
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Establishing Civil Service Veterans Preference
Download and fill out a Civil Service Veteran Preference Claim Form (21 KB PDF). Once completed, please follow the written instructions found on the form to mail in your claim.
If you established your Veterans Preference prior to April 1, 1980, you must reestablish your preference, as Veteran Preference numbers issued prior to this date are void.
For Additional Information and Questions
Please contact us by mail or phone:
NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
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