Q. I joined the Army in November 1982 and retired in December 2007 (25-plus years). I served during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and other conflicts. I served two tours in Iraq and received several campaign badges. I receive normal retirement pay for years of service. I also receive disability pay from the VA with a disability rating of 90 percent. I am 10 point preference eligible. I was hired for federal position and I am “permanent tenure.” I was hired using my veteran preference. I retired as a master sergeant/E-8.
Am I RIF preference eligible? My SF-50 says I am RIF veteran preference eligible and shows that I was hired using 10 point (more than 30 percent disability) preference. But the VET Guide seems kind of vague, and I don’t see where I would be eligible. My retirement was not based on disability; it is based on 20 or more years of full-time, active-service, and I have not been employed continuously based on 5 U.S.C. chapter 35. And if I really am RIF preference eligible, does my entire 25-plus years count toward length of service in federal service for RIF purposes or just the years I spent in a war zone?
A. According to OPM, “By law (i.e., the Dual Compensation Act of 1964, as presently codified in section 3501(a) of title 5, United States Code), a retired member of the Armed Forces is a veteran under the RIF regulations only if the employee meets one of the following three conditions:
“1. The Armed Forces retirement (without regard to benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs) is directly based upon a combat‑incurred disability or injury; or
“2. The Armed Forces retirement is based upon less than 20 years of active duty; or
“3. The employee has been working for the Government since November 30, 1964, without a break in service of more than 30 days.”