What are the keys to a successful verification? ... Help us help you!
August 24, 2012
Dear Veteran Small Business Owner:
As the Executive Director of Small and Veteran Business Programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs, I want to alert you to changes in the process for Verification of eligibility for the Veterans First Program and inclusion in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP). Our current average processing time for those who have submitted a complete documentation package based on following the guidance in this letter is less than 90 days. If you want to avoid a lengthy and frustrating process that ends in failure, please read this letter before proceeding.
While we seek to expand the number of eligible businesses included in the Veterans First program, we also seek to ensure that only eligible firms receive this opportunity. The process for verifying firms has become more comprehensive since February 2011. In February 2011, the Public Law changed to be more comprehensive. The fact that you were verified to Public Law 109-461 previous to March 2011 is not a good indicator that you will be verified now to the new Public Law 111-275. In 2012, to date, aproximately 58% of applications have been denied. Our analysis of those denials indicates that a significant number were a result of misunderstanding of the 38 CFR Part 74. 38 CFR Part 74 has been in place for a long period of time, and the regulatory requirements have been tried, tested, and validated. While we have initiated a rule change process, the current regulation remains in place, and must be complied with in full in order to be verified.
If you want to avoid being denied eligibility, I urge you to take advantage of our Verification Assistance Program. In order to eliminate failure due to misunderstanding or knowledge of the regulations, we established a 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.
If you want to be verified on the first try and avoid a very long wait in the Request for Reconsideration process, I urge you to do the following:
If you take advantage of these tools, found at the VetBiz.gov web site, you will increase your level of success.
While we have established a “second chance” for those who are unsuccessful in the initial Verification process. That process is called a “Request for Reconsideration” and it currently takes in excess of 180 days to process these requests. Don’t put yourself in the long line. Succeed the first time.
The bottom line: Preparation Pays Off!
Thank you for your service and your desire to continue to serve Veterans.
Thomas J. Leney