SDVOSB Self-Certification Grace Period to Expire: Submit Applications by Dec 31 To Remain Eligible While Applications are Pending
The 2023 clock is winding down, which means that some folks are planning New Year's Eve parties and others are googling the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne. For service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses ("SDVOSB"), the end of the year also coincides with their ability to "self-certify," as the grace period under Small Business Administration's ("SBA") rules is set to expire. In other words, under SBA's regulations, SDVOSBs must submit their complete certification applications to the SBA on or before December 31 to remain eligible for SDVOSB set-aside contracts while their applications are pending.
As many contractors may recall, the 2021 NDAA included language that transferred the VA's certification of SDVOSB/VOSBs to the SBA, making the SBA in charge of certifying those entities moving forward. The ensuing SBA regulations, which took effect on January 1, 2023, included a grace period under which companies were permitted to continue to self-certify their SDVOSB status (for non-VA contracts) so long as they submit a complete certification application to SBA by December 31, 2023. The regulation provides as follows:
A concern must be certified as a VOSB or SDVOSB pursuant to § 128.300 in order to be awarded a VOSB or SDVOSB set-aside or sole source contract. Any small business concern that submits a complete certification application to SBA on or before December 31, 2023, shall be eligible to self-certify for SDVOSB sole source or set-aside contracts (other than VA contracts) until SBA declines or approves the concern's application. Any small business concern that does not submit a complete SDVOSB certification application to SBA on or before December 31, 2023, will no longer be eligible to self-certify for SDVOSB sole source or set-aside contracts effective January 1, 2024.
As the foregoing rule shows, beginning January 1, 2024, SDVOSBs that have not submitted a complete application to SBA must wait until they are certified by SBA to be eligible to bid on SDVOSB contracts.
SDVOSBs do not want to miss the opportunity to bid on SDVOSB contracts, particularly as Section 863 of the 2024 NDAA amended the Small Business Act to raise the SDVOSB contracting goals from 3 percent to 5 percent. As shown above, SDVOSBs that have not already been certified by the SBA and want to remain eligible for SDVOSB contracts while their applications for certification are pending must act now and submit their applications to the SBA (via VetCert) by December 31. Failure to do so will mean that the company will be ineligible to bid on SDVOSB set-aside contracts until the SBA approves its application.
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