Earlier this week, Steve updated SmallGovCon readers on a very important SDVOSB eligibility change: beginning October 1, the VA will begin using the SBA’s eligibility rules to verify SDVOSBs and VOSBs.
The SBA has now followed suit—in a final rule published today, the SBA has amended its eligibility rules for SDVOSBs. These rules provide important clarity into SDVOSB eligibility going forward.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important changes.
The VA will begin using the SBA’s eligibility rules to verify SDVOSBs and VOSBs beginning October 1, 2018.
In a final rule published today in the Federal Register, the VA confirms that the SBA’s eligibility requirements will apply beginning next week–but in my eyes, one very important question remains unanswered.
On May 21, 2018, the VA will suspend SDVOSB and VOSB applications for “approximately thirty (30)” days while the VA transitions to a new VIP interface.
According to a notice posted on the VA OSDBU website, the suspension will affect “both new applications and applications for re-verification.” However, the VA CVE “will continue processing previously submitted applications during the suspension.” The VA doesn’t beat around the bush: “any applicants (Veterans) that desire to have their cases begin the verification process before the suspension start date, should strongly consider case submission completion to VIP prior to May 21, 2018.”
The definition of a “service-disabled veteran-owned small business” would be standardized under a new bill introduced by Senators Angus King and Richard Burr.
The King-Burr bill, S.2334, could resolve a serious problem: under current law, the requirements to qualify as a SDVOSB vary (in some cases, significantly) depending on whether an acquisition falls under the VA’s SDVOSB rules or the SBA’s SDVOSB rules.
The King-Burr bill also directs the GAO to study whether it is practical to implement a Government-wide SDVOSB verification system.
On February 27, the VA CVE sent an email to companies listed in the VetBiz database, suggesting that all documentation submitted to the CVE may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Many SDVOSBs and VOSBs were outraged–was the VA really stating that tax returns, payroll, bank signature cards, and other closely-guarded information would be made available to the public?
Now, after push back from SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the CVE has issued a press release clarifying that some documentation submitted to the CVE may be withheld under FOIA on a “case by case basis” and that the CVE will seek to limit the exposure of proprietary and personally identifiable information.
The press release is a good start, but in the wake of its misguided email, the CVE needs to do more to assure SDVOSBs and VOSBs that their proprietary information is safe in the government’s hands.
The government’s use of two separate SDVOSB programs–with differing rules and requirements–has caused widespread confusion among the very veterans the programs were designed to assist.
Yesterday, I joined Francis Rose of Federal News Radio for a conversation about the government’s two SDVOSB programs. You can download my audio segment on the Federal News Radio website, and catch Francis every weekday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Federal News Radio.
The shutdown dominated government contracts headlines this week, and rightfully so.
This week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review features plenty of shutdown coverage, including several pieces focusing on small businesses. But the week’s government contracts news and commentary also included a welcome drop in wait times for VA SDVOSB applications, Guy Timberlake’s insights on government spending through procurement vehicles versus standalone contracts, and more.