OPM has issued guidance to agencies on the expansion of a hiring preference for military spouses enacted late last year.

The preference applies to spouses of military personnel following a permanent change of station or the death or 100 percent disability of the uniformed person. The authority allows agencies to recruit and noncompetitively appoint spouses, although it does not establish selection priority. Eligible persons must apply to a federal vacancy announcement to be considered and those hired may be converted to competitive service status after completing a probationary period.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, there has been a two-year limit on eligibility after a change of station—although no time limit after a death or 100 percent disability—but the DoD measure has ended that limit, OPM said in a memo. “Under the amended statute, a relocating spouse of a member of the Armed Forces remains eligible for noncompetitive appointment under this section for the duration of the spouse’s relocation to the permanent duty station of the member,” it said.

That change was effective as of the law’s signing on December 23, 2016, OPM said, adding that it will update its pertinent regulations.