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.

Continue reading

VA Simplifies SDVOSB Reverification Process

A happy Veterans Day to all veterans and their families as we remember what you’ve done for our country. And there’s good reason for veteran business owners in particular to be happy. The Department of Veteran Affairs has recently made it easier to stay verified as a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-veteran owned small business.

Continue reading

VA CVE, Under New Rules, Closely Examining Franchise and Similar Agreements

Government contractors seeking to be certified through the Vets First Verification Program under the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation have to submit a number of documents. We’ve recently been hearing that CVE is taking a closer look at some of these documents, and this is in line with VA’s recent rule change expanding its list of required documents for verification.

Specifically, CVE will examine franchise agreements and similar documents like distributor agreements. Depending on the language in those agreements, this could lead to a denial of CVE verification. Because of that, we offer a reminder of CVE’s position on these types of agreements, which seems to still be quite strict in spite of regulatory changes implemented last fall.

Continue reading

OHA Confirms: SDVOSBs Owed Notice and Opportunity to Respond Before Verification Cancellation

For service-disabled veteran owned small businesses, or SDVOSBs, contracting with the VA, verification by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation, or CVE, is essential. CVE verification is mandatory to compete for VA SDVOSB set-asides and listing on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP).

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently confirmed that notice and opportunity to respond to allegations is required before a business’ verification is cancelled.

Continue reading

COFC: False Information in SDVOSB Application Proper Grounds for VA Removal

While most of the rules for SDVOSB eligibility now reside with the SBA, the VA is still responsible for verification of entities for inclusion into its database of verified SDVOSBs and VOSBs. A recent Court of Federal Claims case describes what sort of conduct might get a business removed from the VA’s database–even if that conduct doesn’t run afoul of the SBA’s SDVOSB rule.

While the conduct in this case is somewhat egregious, it is a good reminder that VA has the power to thoroughly investigate the eligibility of an SDVOSB and can revoke the verified status based on inaccurate statements in an application.

Continue reading

VA CVE SDVOSB Verification Contractor Eliminated For OCI

An incumbent contractor performing VA CVE SDVOSB verification functions was ineligible to be be re-awarded an order for those services because of an unmitigated organizational conflict of interest.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims upheld the VA’s decision to cancel the award to the incumbent contractor and exclude that contractor from the follow-on order.

Continue reading

GovConChat: The 2015 NDAA

Last week, I joined Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition for another segment of the popular “GovConChat” podcast series.

Guy and I discussed the impact of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act on small contractors, including provisions (or a lack thereof) involving SDVOSBs, WOSBs, and reverse auctions.  Guy and I also chatted about a recent allegation of HUBZone fraud stemming from a contractor’s alleged use of a “virtual office” as its supposed HUBZone location.

It’s always a pleasure speaking to Guy, who brings a great perspective to the issues (as well as a memorable voice tailor-made for podcasts).  Check out the full podcast by following this link, and be sure to check out the GovConChat archives for Guy’s conversations with other movers and shakers in federal procurement.