Frequently asked questions about veteran issues

What is veterans preference?

Qualified veterans may be given preferential treatment when being hired. This applies only to initial hiring into the FAA; it subsequently has no effect or application. Veterans' preference is outlined in Section 2108 Title 5 of the US code. The Department of Labor has a Veterans' Preference Advisor which will ask you a series of questions to determine your eligibility.

You can visit the OPM vet guide for more information.

What does it mean to buy back my military time?

You may elect to pay a calculated sum back to the government based on your military service length. Time spent in the military and subsequently bought back, will be added to your service computation date (the "effective" date you started working for the FAA used in retirement calculations). It starts at 3% of your total military pay.

There is a two year grace period to pay the balance before interest begins to accrue. Interest is added yearly; meaning the first time interest would be added to the balance is at the end of your third anniversary of civil service.

How do I buy back military time?

Please download the file from the resources page, as it contains all the instructions and documents you need.

DFAS military service deposit page has all the information and forms needed for the process.

What will my pay be after being hired?

For non-prior experience hires, there is no extra pay. The standard salary at the academy is $24,086 (2018).

For prior experienced hires (non-civil) required to attend the academy, you will be paid at the AG level with Washington, DC locality ($50,153 for 2018). At the facility, pay will be set to the bottom of the lowest developmental level (D1, D2, D3).

Federal employee's will save pay up to a maximum of the top of the D3 band.

Do I earn extra leave?

All federal service counts when calculating how much leave you accrue, including military service. Leave accrues as follows:

  • 1-3 yrs service: 4hrs per pay period
  • 3-15 yrs service: 6hrs per pay period
  • 15+ yrs service: 8hrs per pay period

6hrs/pp come out to 19.5 days of leave a year. Those in this category are given an extra 4hrs at the end of the year to round it to 20 days.

GI Bill

On the job training in the FAA qualifies for the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills.

Notable points:

Please see the GI Bill SOP resource for more detailed information.

To apply, visit

For help submitting OJT hours through the VA website, see this post.

You may use the GI Bill benefits for as many facilities as you want, as long as you have remaining benefits.

Military Leave (Guard/Reserve Duty)

120 hrs are accrued a year (15 days), and a max of 120 hrs can be carried over into the next year. Leave is only charged for the normal scheduled working hours.

Military leave and military leave without pay (LWOP) are considered creditable service. There is no penalty on federal benefits (length of service, retirement pay, etc.). See the OPM site for more details.

Consult the OPM military leave fact sheet and this thread for more information.

Disabled Veteran Leave

Veterans with a disability rated at least 30% are eligible for 104 hours of disability leave, if meeting all of the following requirements:

  • Was hired on or after November 5, 2016, to a position in the Federal Service;
  • Is a veteran who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable (38 USC §101 (2);
  • Has a qualifying service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more certified by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), to include a temporary disability rating by the VBA, under 38 USC §1156 as long as the rating is in effect; and
  • Has not exhausted his or her entitlement to disabled veteran leave under LWS-8.19, 5 USC §6329, the United States Postal Service or Postal Regulatory Commission, or other agency entitlement to an equivalent disabled leave benefit.

This leave must be used within the first year, and does not carry over or get paid out. The first year is defined as from the date starting employment, the effective date of a qualifying disability, or the first day of re-employment after a 90 day break in service. Visit the OPM Fact Sheet for Disable Veteran Leave for more information. FAA specific information can be found in the HRPM and policy reminder.

Updated 21-Oct-2020

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