Q & A Session – Error on SF-50 that Agency Refuses to Correct


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I am a 100% service-connected disabled veteran. For the past 11 years, I have worked as a civilian in the Air Force.

I found an opening in the Department of Transportation that I was interested in applying for. While reading over the announcement, I saw that it said, “please ensure you submit all documents including your most recent SF-50 as we use that for verification of federal employment and veterans status.” Consequently, I immediately checked my latest SF-50 and found that Block 23 noted I was a disabled veteran less than 30% disabled.

I began calling personnel at my base and finally got in touch with a personnel specialist with my command. She told me that the Air Force would not allow updates to Block 23 for appointment purposes. This is not the first mistake the Air Force has made in my record.

If I do not receive any consideration as a status candidate yet again when I submit my application to the DOT, do you think I will have grounds for filing a claim?

Do you think this refusal to correct the SF-50 is a legitimate policy? I have not found any authority supporting their claim that they will not make a correction.


I cannot comment on the merits of your specific claim. If you do file a claim for denial of a promotion, you should use the EEO system and you may be able to make out a case of perceived disability discrimination or discrimination based on your gender or some other protected category. If your records are inaccurate, you have a right under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. §552(a)) to have them corrected.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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1 Comment

  1. As far as the letter writer’s application goes, usually veteran’s preference for appointment would be verified by a Standard Form (SF) 15 claiming 10 pt preference, with DD-214 and letter from the VA with % of disability as proof. The SF-50 is normally used with an application to ensure the applicant is a current federal employee, in the competitive service, on a career or career-conditional (tenure code 1 or 2). If you are a competitive service employee and tenure 1 or 2, then you have “status” (regardless of your vet preference).

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