What is SF-50 Form » Various Types of SF-50 Forms and Importance

 SF-50 form: The Notification of Personnel Action, commonly known as the SF-50 form, is an essential component of the USAJobs application procedure. It is an official record of different personnel actions taken during the course of a federal government employee’s employment. In-depth explanations of what SF-50 is, why it’s important, and how it affects your USAJobs application are provided in this detailed tutorial. You will have a thorough knowledge of SF-50 and its role in federal employment by the end of this essay.

What Is SF-50?

The SF-50, or Standard Form 50, is an official document used by federal agencies to record various personnel actions taken with regard to an employee. Its primary purpose is to document and communicate employment status changes, such as appointments, promotions, transfers, and separations, among others.

What is a Standard Form 50 (SF-50)?

Historical Background:

Beginning with the early years of government personnel administration, the SF-50 has a long history. It was implemented to increase accountability and openness in government recruiting and employment procedures. It has developed into an extensive record of a worker’s federal professional journey throughout the years.

Types of SF-50 Forms:

There are various types of SF-50 forms, each serving a specific purpose. The most common types include:

  • SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action): This is the common form used to record different personnel activities, including compensation adjustments, promotions, and appointments.
  • SF-50A (Notification of Personnel Action—Former Federal Employee): This form is used for former federal employees who are hired or appointed.
  • SF-50B (Notification of Personnel Action—Transfer): This form records the transfer of an employee from one federal agency to another.
  • SF-50C (Notification of Personnel Action—Reconstruction of Missing Data): If personnel records are incomplete or missing, this form is used to reconstruct the missing data.

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Key Components of SF-50

To understand the significance of the SF-50, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its key components:

Employee Information:

  • The SF-50 contains personal data about the employee, including name, social security number, and contact information.

Position Details:

  • The agency, department, job title, series, grade, and duty station are all listed in this section along with other pertinent information regarding the employee’s present employment.

Payroll Data:

  • It includes details on the employee’s income, including salary, pay schedule, and the kind of payment (annual, hourly, etc.).

Service Computation Date:

  • This date indicates when an employee’s federal service began and is important in determining eligibility for various benefits.

Legal Basis:

  • The SF-50 refers to the legal authority under which personnel actions are taken while ensuring compliance with federal employment laws and regulations.

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Why SF-50 Matters in USAJobs

The SF-50 is crucial to the USAJobs application process and serves as more than simply a record-keeping tool for the government. Here is why it’s important:

Role in Federal Job Applications:

  • When applying for federal jobs on USAJobs, you are often required to submit your SF-50 as part of your application. It serves as solid proof of your federal employment history and qualifications.

Proof of Eligibility and Qualifications:

  • The employment history documented on your SF-50 shows your eligibility for specific federal positions. This reflects your experience, grade level, and promotions, which may be important to meeting the job requirements.

Demonstrating Federal Experience:

  • Candidates must have prior federal experience to be considered for many positions. Your SF-50 demonstrates your familiarity with federal hiring procedures and guidelines, which makes you a good applicant.

How to Obtain Your SF-50

Federal job applicants are required to obtain their SF-50. Here’s how you can access it:

Requesting Your SF-50:

  • Your SF-50 can be obtained from the human resources division of your employing organization if you are a present or former federal employee. Have particular information on hand, such as your social security number and dates of federal employment, ready to submit.

Accessing eOPF (Electronic Official Personnel Folder):

  • Some agencies maintain electronic personnel records, known as Electronic Official Personnel Folders (EOPFs). If your agency uses EOPF, you can access your SF-50 electronically through a secure portal.

Contacting Your Human Resources Office:

  • If you are unsure about how to obtain your SF-50, contact your agency’s human resources office for guidance and assistance.

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Understanding the SF-50 Codes

The SF-50 contains various codes that provide specific information about personnel duties. Understanding these codes is necessary to interpret the document correctly.

Deciphering the SF-50 Codes:

  • Each section of the SF-50 may contain codes related to that specific personnel action. These codes may include information about the type of action, legal basis, and other details.

Significance of Specific Codes:

  • Certain codes, such as those that denote promotions, salary modifications, and changes in duty locations, have special importance. Being able to recognize and decipher these codes will enable you to emphasize essential information in your employment applications.

Common SF-50 Scenarios

The SF-50 documents various personnel actions during an employee’s career. Here are some common scenarios recorded on the SF-50 form:


  • When an employee receives a promotion, the SF-50 will reflect the new grade level, salary, and effective date of promotion.


  • Transfers between federal agencies are documented on the SF-50 form, indicating the new employing agency and location.

Salary Adjustments:

  • The SF-50 records any changes to an employee’s pay, such as a step-up or cost-of-living adjustment.


  • When an employee leaves the federal government, an SF-50 including their retirement and annuity details will be provided.

Resignation or Termination:

  • In case of voluntary resignation or termination, the SF50 will show the effective date and reason for separation.

Tips for Including SF-50 in Your USAJobs Application

When including your SF-50 in your USAJOBS application, consider these tips:

Properly Uploading and Attaching SF-50:

  • Make sure you upload the appropriate SF-50 file for the particular job application. Check to make sure everything is clear and thorough.

Highlighting Relevant Information:

  • Highlight the parts of the SF-50 that correspond to the work specifications. Explain why your experience working for the federal government makes you an excellent candidate.

Tailoring SF-50 to Job Requirements:

  • Make each SF-50 submission for a job application unique. Concentrate on the skills and background that are most pertinent to the job.

Conclusion: Finally, it is important for anyone seeking federal employment through USAJobs to understand the SF-50. This document serves as a record of your federal career milestones and qualifications. By following the guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you can navigate the SF-50 process with confidence, ensuring that you present yourself as a strong candidate for your desired federal position.


Frequently Asked Questions About SF-50

Here are responses to some frequently asked queries concerning SF-50:

Q 1. Can I Use an Unofficial SF-50?

Answer. Although unofficial copies of your SF-50 may be acceptable for some purposes, it is advisable to provide official copies for job applications to ensure accuracy.

Q2. How Far Back Should My SF-50s Go?

Answer. USAJobs typically requires you to provide your SF-50 for the last five years of your federal employment. However, always refer to the specific job announcement for guidance.

Q3. What If I Can’t Locate My SF-50?

Answer. If you cannot find your SF-50, contact your agency’s human resources office for assistance in obtaining a copy.

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