The Small Business Administration (SBA) is consolidating and making significant changes to the Veteran-Owned Small Business and the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business programs, including the elimination of self-certification.
On November 29, 2022, the SBA issued its final rule to amend its regulations to eliminate SDVOSB self-certification and to transfer responsibility for VOSB and SDVOSB certifications from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to SBA. Until now, there has been no government-wide certification program for SDVOSBs, meaning that for contracts not awarded by the VA, SDVOSBs are only required to self-certify their status for set aside or sole source opportunities. This amendment to the SBA’s regulations implements Section 862 of FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The SBA has created the Veterans Certification Program at 13 CFR 128, which includes consolidating existing regulations at 13 CFR 125 with the VA’s CVE verification guidelines at 38 CFR 74. The SBA will take over responsibility for all VOSB and SDVOSB certifications on January 1, 2023. Once a SDVOSB is certified by the SBA, that certification has a term of three years. Companies certified by the VA prior to January 1, 2023, will be deemed eligible by SBA for the remainder of their 3-year term.
There will be a one-year grace period for SDVOSBs to file an application for certification with SBA and maintain eligibility. With the exception of the grace period for SDVOSBs, after January 1, 2023, VOSBs and SDVOSBs will need to obtain the SBA’s certification to be eligible to receive sole-source or set-aside contracts for VOSBs or SDVOSBs. The SBA’s rule does not prohibit SDVOSBCs from self-certifying for subcontracts. That issue will be addressed in subsequent SBA rulemaking.
These rules for veteran-owned companies include ownership and control rules for certification that are similar to the rules for companies in the 8(a) and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) programs. SBA is also granting reciprocity to 8(a) and WOSB companies that are owned and controlled by veterans or service-disabled veterans. The SBA is providing an expedited process for 8(a) and WOSB companies applying for SDVOSB or VOSB status.
This final rule is effective on January 1, 2023.