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Veteran-Owned Small Business Certifications Are Changing from the VA to the SBA Blog Feature
Stephanie Hagan

By: Stephanie Hagan on July 18th, 2022

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Veteran-Owned Small Business Certifications Are Changing from the VA to the SBA

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As a small business government contractor, you have the opportunity to certify under certain socioeconomic groups such as Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs). These certifications allow you access to specialized contractor assistance programs and unique contracting opportunities set-aside specifically for small businesses. However, unlike the other small business contracting programs such as Women-Owned Small Business or 8(a) that are verified and certified through the Small Business Administration (SBA), the VOSB and SDVOSB certification went through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Starting January 2023, VOSB and SDVOSB certifications will be moved to the SBA. If you’re a Veteran-owned contractor or plan to become one soon, this is an important blog for you.

The VOSB and SDVOSB Certifications

If you want to certify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) or a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), the current process is getting verified by VA's Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE). However, there is currently no governmentwide certification program for SDVOSBs, so any Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses wanting to go after sole-source or set-aside contracts only need to self-certify.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2021 amended this process, so responsibility of VOSB and SDVOSB verification would be transferred over to the SBA by January 2023 and will create a certification requirement for SDVOSBs.

How Do You Qualify as a VOSB or SDVOSB?

If you haven’t certified as a VOSB or SDVOSB, there are certain requirements you need to meet before you can go through the process.

To qualify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business, you must:

  • Be a small business according to SBA’s size standards
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more veterans
  • One or more veterans has full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policy of the business

To qualify for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program, your business must:

  • Be a small business according to SBA’s size standards
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans
  • Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
  • Eligible veterans must have a service-connected disability

You can view the full eligibility requirements in Title 13 Part 125 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations. As of now, you can self-certify your business, but the rules will change in January 2023 and all certified SDVOSBs will have to take action within a certain time period (which we’ll discuss below).

What Does this Change Mean for Current VOSB and SDVOSB Contractors?

If you are already certified as a VOSB and a SDVOSB, you might be wondering how the change in certification from the VA to the SBA affects you. As of now, there is no immediate action required. VOSBs and SDVOSBs verified by the VA will not lose their status at the time of transfer. The SBA plans to come out with guidance for self-certified SDVOSBs, but the NDAA 2021 permits them to remain self-certified for one year after the transfer. So, SDVOSBs will have until January 2024. Both the VA and the SBA will keep all contractors updated on the transfer process. For more information, you can check out the Veteran’s Assistance Programs page on SBA’s site.

Benefits of the VOSB and SDVOSB Contracting Assistance Programs

As a Veteran-Owned Small Business, you can compete for set-aside contracts at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA awards a large amount of contract dollars to veterans every year, and also sets aside opportunities for service-disabled veterans.

On a larger scale, the federal government aims to award at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses every year. This means you will be competing from a smaller pool of contractors, and you will have more contracting opportunities available to you. Of course, you can still go after contracts that include large businesses or contracts for all small businesses instead of a special subset, but the unique set-asides will give you more opportunities for winning government business. And as mentioned above, the federal government aims to award at least 3% to SDVSOBs which mean agencies will be incentivized to meet small business goals and release contracts meant for Veteran-Owned businesses.

Taking Advantage of Small Business Contracting Opportunities

Small businesses have access to a number of contracting assistance programs, tools, mentorships, and set-aside opportunities. It’s one thing to take the step of certifying your organization as a small business, but it’s another to be aware of all the resources you have and how to use them. Some businesses may not know they qualify as small—if you are a mid-sized business or were a small business that recently grew to mid-sized, the SBA has increased over 200 size standards that may have affected you.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of small business contractors and what resources you have available to you, check out our blogs:

If you have any questions about certifying as a VOSB or SDVOSB or if you need help with your GSA Schedule, we would be happy to help you.

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About Stephanie Hagan

Stephanie Hagan is the Training and Communications Manager for Winvale. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.