SDVOSB Eligibility: Lack of VetBiz Verification Irrelevant for Non-VA SDVOSB Set-Asides

“So what?”

That, in essence, is what the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals had to say in a recent SDVOSB appeal decision, in which the protester contended that the service-disabled veteran-owned small business in question was not listed in the VA’s VetBiz database.  The SBA OHA decision serves as an important reminder: CVE verification only matters for VA SDVOSB set-asides.  When another agency sets-aside a procurement for SDVOSBs, there is no requirement that the awardee be listed in the VetBiz database.

SBA OHA’s decision in SDVOSB Appeal of H&H-DMS Joint Venture, SBA No. VET-229 (2012), involved an Army SDVOSB set-aside procurement for maintenance, repair, and construction work.  After the Army identified Kepa Services, Inc. as the apparent successful awardee, a competitor filed a SDVOSB protest.  The protester alleged simply that Kepa was not listed in the VetBiz database, and was “conspicuous by its absence.”

SBA OHA held that the SBA had properly dismissed the protest as insufficiently specific–in other words, that the protester had not presented any viable evidence that Kepa was not an eligible SDVOSB.  SBA OHA wrote: “This procurement is an Army procurement and is thus under SBA’s SDVO SBC regulations. Under SBA’s regulations there is no requirement that a firm be included in VA’s VetBiz database.  A concern need not be listed in VetBiz in order to bid on procurements for Federal agencies other than the VA. 13 C.F.R. §§ 125.9, 125.10. Accordingly, an allegation that a firm is not listed on the VetBiz database is not valid grounds for a protest under SBA’s regulations.”

VetBiz verification has drawn national headlines in recent years, but it is worth remembering that the verification system currently applies only to VA procurements (as well as procurements issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, which is currently requiring VetBiz verification for FAA SDVOSB set-asides).  For other federal agencies, the SBA’s self-certification system is still in effect, and no VetBiz listing is necessary to win a SDVOSB set-aside contract.

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