SmallGovCon readers know that the federal government currently operates two SDVOSB socio-economic designations: a VA-specific program (that requires the business to be verified by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation), and a program through the SBA (that allows the business to self-certify).
These dual programs have been the source of confusion among SDVOSBs. Thankfully, relief might be on the way, as the House Small Business Committee has introduced legislation to consolidate SDVOSB verification under the SBA.
Dubbed the Verification Alignment and Service-disabled Business Adjustment (or VA-SBA) Act, this proposed legislation would end self-certification among SDVOSBs. Instead, the VA-SBA Act would impose a certification requirement for SDVOSBs government-wide. The Act would also give the SBA responsibility for overseeing the certification requirement.
What benefits would SDVOSBs see from the VA-SBA Act? Really, simplicity: instead of having two different programs (one requiring verification, the other allowing self-certification), SDVOSBs would have to be certified by the SBA. This certification, moreover, would operate government-wide—for work solicited by DoD, the VA, or any other agency.
Importantly, the VA-SBA Act would maintain the SDVOSB/VOSB contracting preference at the VA. More than a decade after its adoption, and only two years removed from Kingdomware, we continue to see pushback against this preference. It’s nice to see that Congress intends to affirm its commitment to this priority in the Act.
Because the VA-SBA Act was only recently proposed, it’s too early to know whether or when it might be signed into law. Until it is, the status quo remains the same: SDVOSBs must be attuned to both socio-economic programs, at the VA and through the SBA, to effectively work with the federal government.
We’ll keep you posted as the VA-SBA Act progresses through Congress. In the meantime, please call us with any questions about SDVOSB regulations or contracting.