FAQ - Vets First Contracting Program
The Vets First Contracting Program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was created under Public Law, P.L. 109-461. This contracting program was created for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and expanded the Service-Disabled Veteran contracting program for VA procurements. The Public Law was implemented in two regulations published in the Federal Register:
The Veteran business owner and the Government mutually benefit from this program. Upon approval, the Program Participant has documented proof of eligibility. This gives confidence to VA that set-asides are being awarded to legitimate firms owned and controlled by Veterans or Service-Connected Disabled Veterans. This helps stimulate the small business community and create growth for the economy.
Approved firms are eligible to participate in Veteran-Owned Service-Disabled (VOSB) and SDVOSB set-asides issued by VA. They are eligible to subcontract with VA’s large prime contractors in acquisitions where additional evaluation credit. They are also eligible to participate in VA’s Veteran-Owned Small Business Mentor-Protégé Program. VA is one of the largest procurement organizations in the Federal Government. Annually, this Department spends over $3 Billion with eligible Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. That’s a lot of opportunity.
This program is not like the 8(a) program. The purpose is to ensure that legitimately owned and controlled Veteran and SDVOSB are able to compete for VA VOSB and SDVOSB set-asides; to be credited by VA’s large prime contractors for subcontract plan achievements and to participate in VA’s VOSB Mentor-Protégé Program.
No, the Verification Program applies ONLY to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Other Federal agencies accept self-representation. They rely upon information in the System for Award Management.
Check with the specific Government agency in question. VA has no formal agreements with any state or local Government agencies regarding use of the VetBiz.gov Vendor Information Pages database.
Verification is required only for VOSB or SDVOSB set-aside opportunities with VA. Verification has no bearing on contracting opportunities with other Federal agencies.
There is no financial incentive to being verified. The incentive is that you become eligible to participate in Vets First Contracting Program with VA.
Full and open solicitations issued by VA after December 9, 2009, contain a clause, VAAR 852.219-9, VA Small Business Subcontracting Plan Minimum Requirements (December 2009) which says: “To be credited toward goal achievements, businesses must be verified as eligible in the Vendor Information Pages database. The contractor shall annually submit a listing of Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses for which credit toward goal achievement is to be applied for the review of personnel in the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.” This plan is only required from large business concerns. For more information about VA’s subcontracting program, please contact VA’s Center for Small Business Utilization at (202) 461-4300.
This depends on how the solicitation is written and the specifications will have to be confirmed with the contracting officer.
CVE is not authorized to advise companies on how to structure their business. However, we have partnered with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) organizations to support and assist companies with preparing and submitting their application. Find your local PTAC representative at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.
We also encourage you to take advantage of our Verification Assistance Program. In order to minimize misunderstanding of the regulations, we established the Verification Assistance Program. Our goal is to increase understanding and awareness of the specific reasons for noncompliance, in an effort to increase the success rate of applicants.
The information below are suggested sources of information that aides in understanding the verification process.
If you take advantage of these tools, you will increase your level of success.