OHA: Broken Hyperlink Doesn’t Excuse Not Responding to CVE

In my last blog post I wrote about a contractor’s unsuccessful attempt to convince the GAO that its solicitation was improperly dismissed as being untimely because the State Department didn’t recognize its automatic “out of office” email reply response. It appears that federal agencies in general are unforgiving when it comes to a contractor’s reliance on electronic communications without follow-up.

In a recent case, the SBA Office of Hearing Appeals (OHA) rejected a contractor’s petition for reconsideration upholding the OHA’s appeal of a cancellation of  the contractor’s verified status as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses because it could not access a cancelation letter through a link provided by the VA.

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Recent Task Force Meeting Underscores Challenges Facing SDVOSB Transfer from VA to SBA

Sometimes, task force meetings are held just for the sake of having meetings. However, on June 2nd and 3rd the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) met to discuss important issues facing small businesses. This shed much needed light on the issues fast approaching and what steps the SBA needs to take.

The main topic of discussion was the pending CVE transfer. The transfer, as I soon found out, is deceptively complex. In a separate point, SBA noted that the Biden Administration announced it will use the purchase power of the federal government to make more awards to disadvantaged businesses, raising the target from 5% to 10%.

The star of the show, however, was the CVE transfer. So, what does this mean for you?

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Congress Approves Government-wide SDVOSB Certification Requirement; Transfers CVE to SBA

The House and Senate have agreed to eliminate service-disabled veteran-owned small business self-certification and adopt a government-wide SDVOSB certification requirement, while transferring control of the certification process from the VA to the SBA.

The Conference Report on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would require government-wide SDVOSB certification (eventually) and transfer control of the the Center for Verification and Evaluation from the VA to the SBA. Assuming the President signs the bill into law (which, unlike the typical NDAA, remains to seen), SDVOSB self-certification–which is still the law for non-VA contracts–is on its way out.

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OHA: CVE Appeals Go Directly to Us, Not CVE

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.

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VA CVE Verification Appeals Must be Filed at SBA, Not VA

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.

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Don’t Forget the Attachments: A Quick Reminder from SBA’s OHA

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?

In OHA’s recent, and very short, decision, Joy Corporation, SBA No. CVE-155-A (Aug. 13, 2020), it reminded appellants that failure to do so will result in almost instant dismissal. To ensure you avoid this fate, read on.

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VA Updates, Expands, and Clarifies Its Verification Assistance Briefs

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.

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