A decision on a request for reconsideration of a denied SDVOSB verification application will take approximately 90 days instead of 60 days, according to the VA Center for Veterans Enterprise. In a letter emailed recently to one service-disabled veteran, who authorized me to publish an excerpt on SmallGovCon, the VA CVE stated:
The regulation, 38 CFR 74, states that CVE has 60 days, when practicable, to make a final decision associated with the request for reconsideration. Unfortunately we have received an exceptionally large number of requests for reconsideration, and currently almost 600 applications are in the reconsideration process. As a result, it is no longer practicable to process these within 60 days. Historically, 20% of companies receiving an initial denial are requesting reconsideration. We have shifted and added resources in an effort to speed up the process. In order to be fair to all applicants, we continue to process all requests for reconsideration on a first come, first served basis. We currently estimate that we will be able to provide a decision within 90 days of receiving the request for reconsideration, so you can expect a decision no later than [date redacted]. As soon as we can give you a better estimate of the timeframe for decision, we will do so.
It is little wonder that the VA CVE is experiencing reconsideration overload, because the VA CVE is denying 60% of initial SDVOSB verification applications. I am sympathetic to the VA CVE’s overworked employees, but I have much more sympathy for the eligible service-disabled veterans who will suffer from the reconsideration delays.
Make no mistake: every day that ticks by while a reconsideration application sits at VA CVE is one more day that the service-disabled veteran-owned small business in question must forego valuable contract opportunities. Unlike firms in the re-verification stage, firms applying for reconsideration are not eligible for “fast track” processing, and have no choice but to sit and wait until the VA CVE works through the backlog.
The VA’s regulations do not require the VA CVE to process reconsideration requests in 60 days, because the regulation uses the wishy-washy “when practical” qualifier. Nevertheless, I hope the VA CVE pulls out all the stops to return to a 60-day time frame as soon as possible. Perhaps a little political lobbying from the service-disabled veteran community will help speed things up.