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The New Jersey Civil Service Veteran’s Preference

Qualified candidates for permanent, career, classified New Jersey Civil Service veterans-300x200employment who meet the Civil Service definition are eligible to receive a veterans and disabled veterans preference, which increases their ranks on eligible lists.  The courts have explained that the purpose of the preference is to “reward those whose military commitments, commissioned or enlisted, were of such a nature and duration as to interfere substantially with an individual’s civilian status.”


Veterans Eligible for Preference

Not all “veterans”, as the term is generally used, are eligible for a New Jersey Civil Service preference.  Only “veterans” and “disabled veterans” of certain military operations as defined by the New Jersey Civil Service Act are eligible.   Thus, veterans of some military operations, such as, for example, Operations Earnest Will, Nimble Archer and Praying Mantis, in the Persian Gulf Region in 1987 and 1988, are excluded.

United States veterans eligible for the New Jersey veteran’s preference are defined to include:

  • Veterans who served at least 90 days in:
    • World War II
    • The Korean War
    • The Vietnam War
  • Veterans who served at least 14 days in theatre, ashore or afloat, in:
    • The 1958 Lebanon crisis
    • The Lebanon peacekeeping mission in 1982 through 1987
    • The Grenada peacekeeping mission in 1983
    • The Panama peacekeeping mission beginning in 1989
    • Operation “Desert Shield/Desert Storm” in the Arabian peninsula and the Persian Gulf beginning in 1990
    • Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch, beginning on August 27, 1992
    • Operation “Restore Hope” in Somalia, from December 5, 1992 through March 31, 1994
    • Operations “Joint Endeavor” and “Joint Guard” in Bosnia and Herzegovina beginning on November 20, 1995
    • Operation “Uphold Democracy” in Haiti in 1994 – 1995, if the veteran received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
    • Operation “Enduring Freedom” beginning September 11, 2001
    • Operation “Iraqi Freedom”

“Veterans” include “allied veterans,” who are United States Citizens who served in allied armies or navies during World War I and World War II, and who did not thereafter renounce or lose their United States citizenship.


“Disabled Veteran” Defined

“Disabled veterans” are defined as:

any veteran who is eligible to be compensated for a service-connected disability from war service by the United States Veterans Administration or who receives or is entitled to receive equivalent compensation for a service-connected disability which arises out of [the above specified] military or naval service [] and who has submitted sufficient evidence of the record of disability incurred in the line of duty to the Adjutant General of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs and received a determination of status no later than eight days prior to the issuance of an employment list, for which that individual received


Spouses, Parents

A veteran’s spouse is also eligible for the veteran’s or disabled veteran’s preference if the spouse is not in New Jersey state or local government service.  The spouse of a deceased disabled veteran is eligible to receive the veteran’s preference if she has not remarried. The spouse or parent of a veteran who died in service is eligible for the veteran’s preference.  Where a parent and spouse both survive, only one may exercise the preference at a time.


Determinations, Effective Date of Preference

Whether a person meets the criteria of “veteran” or “disabled veteran” is determined by the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs.  This decision applies prospectively and is binding. The veteran’s or disabled veteran’s preference applies prospectively from the date of determination from an appeal.  In order to receive a preference on a particular list, the preference must be effective at least eight days prior to the issuance of the list. In other words, the veteran must apply well before the test.


Use of the Preference

On open competitive lists, disabled veterans and then veterans receive preference for permanent appointment over other eligibles,  When the eligible is the highest rank on a promotional list is recipient of the preference, that veteran must be selected regardless of the Rule of Three. However, it does not require displacement of non-veterans already hired.  The preference does not give veterans permanent status in temporary appointments.

Disabled veterans who pass open competitive examinations are placed at the top of an open competitive employment list ahead of both non-disabled veterans and nonveterans in order of their respective final scores, regardless of the Rule of Three.  In the non-competitive division, disabled veterans receive preference over all others. Veterans who pass open competitive examinations are placed on an employment list in order of their final scores regardless of the Rule of Three, behind only disabled veterans.  The preference does not apply to promotions, except that a veteran ranked first on a promotional list cannot be passed for a non-veteran.


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