After receiving “numerous” public comments, the VA has confirmed today that the extended three-year SDVOSB and VOSB verification term–originally adopted in February 2017–will remain in effect indefinitely. Before February, SDVOSBs and VOSBs were required to be reverified every two years.
When the VA originally adopted its SDVOSB and VOSB program regulations in 2010, the VA required participants to be reverified annually. Needless to say, many early participants in the program weren’t happy with the requirement for reverification every year. (VA might not have been too happy, either, since this undoubtedly created a lot of extra work for it, too).
In 2012, the VA extended the eligibility period to two years. Then, in February 2017, the VA issued an “interim final rule,” further extending the period to three years. At the time, the VA said that it would accept public comment on the interim final rule, then issue a final rule responding to those comments.
Now, the final rule is here, and the VA is sticking with the three-year eligibility period.
In the final rule, the VA reiterates that it is confident that “the integrity of the verification program will not be compromised by establishing a three year eligibility period.” The VA points out that in Fiscal Year 2016, “from a total of 1,109 reverification applications, only 11 were denied,” or less than one percent. And, the VA writes, there are other means of discovering ineligible participants, including “random, unannounced inspections” and “status protests” by VA contracting officers and other SDVOSBs and VOSBs. Therefore, the “risk of extending the period from two to three years is very low.”
The VA says that “[n]umerous commenters expressed support for the extension of the eligibility period, asserting that it allows veterans more time to focus on the success of their business, and reduces the administrative burden of gathering and submitting the required documentation.” Amen to that.
The VA has adopted its original interim rule without change, meaning that the three-year verification period is now in place indefinitely.