VA wants to change vet-owned business re-verification from 1 to 2 years

Thursday - 6/28/2012, 11:56am EDT

The Veterans Affairs Department proposes to change the frequency of reverifying veteran-owned firms that want to do business with VA — from once a year to every two years.

The VA is the only federal agency that verifies businesses are owned and operated by a veteran before they can bid on contracts set aside for veterans. Once service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) are verified, they enter the Vet-Biz database but must be reverified every year.

Other agencies rely on self-certification for SDBOC/VOSB status for set-aside contracts.

"The purpose of this change is to reduce the administrative burden on SDVOSB/VOSBs regarding participation in VA acquisitions set asides for these types of firms," according to the interim final rule published in Wednesday's Federal Register.

The rule also said the change is appropriate because the agency does a "robust examination" of the business owner's personal and company information to verify the company is in fact owned and controlled by a veteran.

One veteran-owned business advocate said the agency had a backlog of verifications due to the current requirement to re-check veteran business owners' status every year.

"The major problem is they waste, waste, waste time on reverification, reverification, reverification," Bob Hesser of VET-Force Task Force had told Federal News Radio in an interview earlier this year about VA's verification program.

In an email Thursday, Hesser said the the proposal was "highly endorsed."

"Many wanted three years but this is a good compromise," he said.

RELATED STORIES

Veteran-owned businesses question fairness of VA's contractor verification

Congress mulls expansion of VA's system to verify veteran-owned firms

VA, House lawmakers spar over veteran-owned contracting program