By Carol L. O’Riordan
Businesses often complain about the minutiae involved with the federal requirements for qualifying as veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs). Now, the federal government is making the whole process a bit simpler and more straightforward.
As a recent article by Jill Aitoro in the Washington Business Journal points out, contractors applying to the program that wish to be certified as VOSBs can now correct minor issues in their applications without having their applications denied.
Under the current system, the program merely responds to the information that it has received, without giving the applicant any chance to make a quick correction. This has been criticized as cumbersome and essentially unfair to these applicants, who often view the process of reapplying or of seeking reconsideration as difficult and complicated.
In a recent letter, Tom Leney, executive director of the VA’s small business program, wrote that the idea is to eliminate “the large percentage of verification denials that are due to single points of failure that can be easily and quickly corrected. It is not intended to address more complicated issues that will require a complete re-examination when corrected.”
Often, applications for VOSB status are denied because of questions about whether a veteran is truly the person in control of the contracting company. Sometimes, applicants inadvertently misstate the nature of the control of their company, and these errors, when they are straightforward, can now be corrected before the application is denied.
We support this new initiative, which is an administrative change that doesn’t require congressional approval. The process is already sufficiently complicated, and any modification that makes it easier for veteran/owners to apply is an improvement. Perhaps this small modification will do something to change the widespread belief that qualification for the program means dealing with an immensely complicated bureaucratic mess.