The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 changed the contracting landscape for Serviced Disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs). As DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs puts it: “our Government has deemed it our moral obligation to provide the disabled veteran a range of benefits designed to ease the economic and other losses and disadvantages incurred as a consequence of serving his or her country.” Congress mandated that the government attempt to procure at least 3% of its contracts from SDVOSBs, an ambition invigorated by Executive Order 13360.
In general, the business must be a small concern, at least 51% owned by a service-disabled Veteran. The law requires no minimum disability rating, only that VA has granted service connection. Additionally, the SDVOSB does not need certification from the Small Business Administration (SBA), but it does have to appear in the government’s Central Contractor Registration. Note, however, that the contracting officer, SBA, or an interested party can challenge qualification as a SDVOSB. A DD-214 and VA adjudication letter are the preferred forms of proof.
The overarching goal is to ease Service Disabled Veterans’ entry into the government contract marketplace. Various agencies, including but not limited to DoD, VA, and the SBA offer a buffet of information to help prospective owners and contractors identify, access, and utilize various resources to achieve that goal. One good place to start—and there are others—would be with DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs: http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/programs/veterans/index.htm.