SDVOSB: What is the Vets First Verification Program?

Know the Requirements of Establishing a SDVOSB

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vets First Verification Program was created under Public Law, P.L. 109-461, entitled Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006. It is a contracting program specifically created for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). It gives the Department of Veteran Affairs authority for SDVOSB and VOSB set-asides (a government contract awarded without competition to minority-owned businesses) and sole source contracts.

What are the requirements of the Vets First Verification Program for SDVOSB?

The company to be verified under the program must have the following core characteristics:

  1. Veteran owner(s) have direct and unconditional ownership of at least 51% of the company.
  2. The Veteran owner(s) manages the company, both on a day-to-day basis and on strategic policy.
  3. A Veteran must hold the highest position in the company.
  4. The Veteran must be the highest paid employee.
  5. The Veteran must be capable to manage the company.
  6. The Veteran will bear the burden of truth to establish claimed Veteran status.

What are its benefits for SDVOSB?

Both the Veteran business owner and the government benefit from the Vets First Verification Program. Once a business is approved and tagged as eligible, the Veteran Affairs will be assured that the companies are owned and controlled lawfully by veterans. The program also helps and encourages the growth of small-scale businesses, thus giving a boost to the country’s economy.

P.L. 109-461 also provides a new procurement hierarchy with the Veterans Affairs for its open market procurement and bidding. It gives the highest priority to SDVOB’s, then to VOSB’s. This initiative is in line with the agency’s mission to continuously care for the nation’s veterans.

What makes up the Verification Process?

The verification process is made up of the following stages:

  • Pre-Application – This is the stage where the applicants pre-assess their eligibility, and learn about the requirements for verification. It can help reduce processing time and can help increase chances of approval.
  • Initiation – This stage confirms the status of the Veteran owners and ensures completeness of documents submitted.
  • Examination – This is where actual processing starts. All submitted documents are reviewed in this stage.
  • Evaluation – This stage pertains to the evaluation of the recommendation given in the previous stage. If the Evaluation Team is satisfied with the applicant’s eligibility for the program, a final recommendation is given and submitted to the Determination stage.
  • Determination – This is the final stage of the process. A Federal employee will determine if the application is approved or denied and submits determination letter to the Director.

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