What Military Spouses Need to Know About Recent Changes to Federal Hiring

What Military Spouses Need to Know About Recent Changes to Federal Hiring
Military spouses participate in a MOAA Military Spouse Program “Keeping a Career on the Move®” Military Spouse Symposium at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (MOAA Spouse Facebook)

As of April 1, 2019, DoD will no longer use the Priority Placement Program (PPP), also known as Program S, to register military spouses for federal hiring preference. This does not mean military spouse preference has ended, only that the mechanism to register for preference has changed.

Military spouse preference (MSP) is a special federal hiring authority that allows spouses to be noncompetitively considered for federal positions. Previously with PPP, military spouses had to go into an office on their new installation to register for MSP.

Upon registration, spouses were designated an occupational series that best matched their educational background and experience. When a spouse was matched with a job in that series, they had the choice to accept or deny. If a spouse denied this first offer, they were removed from the program.

Now, military spouses can identify themselves for MSP through the application process on USAjobs.gov rather than going in person to an office. This is especially useful for spouses who know where they are PCSing to, but are not physically in the area yet.

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Additionally, military spouses are no longer tied to one occupational series. Spouses now have the flexibility to select the job they would like to be considered noncompetitively for as long as the position offers MSP (a green icon with wedding rings indicates an eligible position).  

Spouses can apply for as many jobs as they want using MSP. However, keep in mind, if a spouse declines a job offer extended through MSP, they can no longer use MSP at that duty station.

For more information check out DoD’s fact sheet detailing eligibility and steps to use MSP. You can also refer to the department’s list of FAQs on military spouse preference.


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About the Author

Eryn Wagnon
Eryn Wagnon

Eryn Wagnon is MOAA's former Director of Government Relations for Military Family Policy and Spouse Programs