The VA CVE reconsideration process is an important component of the VA’s SDVOSB verification program–especially in light of news earlier this year that the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise is rejecting 60% of new SDVOSB verification applications.
For many companies, SDVOSB verification hinges on a successful VA CVE reconsideration request, but VA CVE reconsideration is often misunderstood. After working with many SDVOSBs to successfully obtain verification through the VA CVE reconsideration process, I have compiled this list of common “Q&As” regarding SDVOSB reconsideration.
Q: What is VA CVE reconsideration?
A: A VA CVE reconsideration is a written request asking the VA CVE to reconsider its decision to deny a SDVOSB application. When timely submitted to the VA CVE, the reconsideration request gives a denied SDVOSB applicant a second opportunity to convince the VA CVE to verify it as a SDVOSB.
Q: Where can I find the regulations governing VA CVE reconsideration?
A: The primary regulation governing VA CVE reconsideration is located at 38 C.F.R. § 74.13. SDVOSBs should be aware that the regulation does not cover all of the important aspects of reconsideration (such as filing new or amended documents and the emailing of reconsideration requests) and contains an ambiguity regarding the time frame for the VA CVE to issue its decision. These matters are covered in this post.
Q: Can I file new or amended documents with my VA CVE reconsideration request?
A: Yes! SDVOSBs sometimes believe that their only option in a VA CVE reconsideration is to convince the VA CVE that it made a mistake in its original decision. Not so.
In fact, in most cases, filing new or amended documents is the best (and perhaps the only) way to successfully obtain SDVOSB verification by way of a VA CVE request for reconsideration. For example, if the VA CVE identified a defect in a SDVOSB’s bylaws, the SDVOSB may be able to successfully obtain verification by adopting amended bylaws correcting the defect and submitting those amended bylaws with its reconsideration request.
Q: When must I file a VA CVE reconsideration request?
A: According to 38 C.F.R. § 74.13, a VA CVE reconsideration request must be received by the CVE no later than 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 30 days after the SDVOSB receives the VA CVE’s denial decision. Note that the “received” is italicized (by me, not the VA), because it is the VA CVE’s receipt of the request within the 30-day time frame, not the SDVOSB’s sending of the request within that time frame, that counts.
Q: How should I file a VA CVE reconsideration request?
A: 38 C.F.R. § 74.13(a) states that a request for reconsideration may be filed by hand delivery, mail, commercial carrier, or facsimile. However, even though the regulation says nothing about email, recent VA CVE denial letters have asked applicants to email VA CVE reconsideration requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. The bottom line: check the denial letter for filing instructions.
Q: When will I receive my VA CVE reconsideration decision?
A: 13 C.F.R. § 74.13(b) states that a decision will be issued within 60 days after filing “when practicable.” In other words, the VA CVE will attempt to issue a decision within 60 days, but will not necessarily do so. In fact, in recent months, the VA CVE has been informing applicants that it may take up to 90 days to receive a reconsideration decision.
Some savvy SDVOSBs have pointed out a conflict in the regulation: 13 C.F.R. §74.13(a) does not use the “when practicable” language of 13 C.F.R. § 74.13(b), but instead flatly states, “a formal decision will be issued within 60 days after receipt.” Notwithstanding this regulatory conflict, the VA CVE plainly believes that it has more than 60 days to issue reconsideration decisions, and has been doing so as of late.
Q: What if the VA CVE denies my reconsideration request?
A: If the VA CVE denies an applicant’s request for reconsideration, the applicant typically must wait six months to file a new application. There is one exception, however: if the VA CVE denies the reconsideration request based solely on issues not raised in the initial denial, the applicant may file a new VA CVE reconsideration request addressing those issues.