It’s a refrain that my colleagues and I have often heard: if you’re a franchisee, it can be really, really hard–perhaps almost impossible–to be verified as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
A recent case demonstrates the difficulties in obtaining SDVOSB status as a franchisee. In the case, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the Center for Verification and Eligibility had correctly denied a company’s SDVOSB application because, in the eyes of the CVE and SBA, the terms of the franchise agreement impeded the veteran’s control of the company.
OHA recently confirmed it lacked jurisdiction over a CVE appeal mistakenly filed with CVE, not OHA, by the deadline. You might be thinking: “Oh come on, the CVE appeal was filed with CVE on time!” But OHA’s strict timeliness rules make no exception for any such mistakes in the CVE appeal process. In fact, OHA disclaims the authority to even consider a late appeal, regardless of whether or not it was timely (but improperly) filed with CVE itself.
Control over a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business can be held by multiple service-disabled veterans. Having control reside in multiple individuals can make things a little more complicated, though. SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently examined a situation where multiple service-disabled veterans shared control of a company, but did not have a united front when responding to information requests concerning a company’s eligibility.
If the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation denies a company’s application for verification as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the applicant has the right to appeal–but the appeal must be filed with the SBA, not the VA.
In a recent case, an applicant tried to appeal its denial to the VA, apparently based on the erroneous advice of a VA employee. By the time the applicant realized that it had appealed to the wrong agency, it was too late.
Did you remember to staple the cover sheet to your TPS report? And, more importantly, if you recently filed a CVE Appeal with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, did you remember to attach a copy of your CVE denial or cancellation?
The VA and SBA have numerous regulations defining the eligibility requirements for participation in the veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs. To help laypersons better understand these regulatory hurdles the VA publishes Verification Assistance Briefs.
These “are resources to assist applicants in obtaining VA Verification for the Veterans First Contracting Program” and understand SBA’s ownership and control criteria. The VA recently updated all of its existing Briefs and added some new ones. Read on for an overview of the 26 Briefs and a more detailed look at some of the more notable ones.
Several years ago, we argued that VA’s rule, requiring a veteran to devote herself full time to an SDVOSB during normal working hours, unnecessarily handicapped SDVOSB start-ups seeking CVE verification. This same requirement–though now in a slightly different form–continues to impede new businesses from obtaining verification, a key credential for many SDVOSBs. Beyond that, CVE’s application of the managerial experience requirement also poses a potential hurdle for incipient SDVOSBs.