For Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

If your company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), it may be eligible for set-asides in federal contracts. This certification substantially increases the number of opportunities available to your firm. How do you, as a SDVOSB, take advantage of them?

  • Get wise about set-asides; learn how they work
  • Find out what it means to be an SDVO small business. This site, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) website, can help you get up to speed.
  • Self-certify your eligibility as an SDVOSB
  • Certify your military service
  • Validate your Service-Connected Disability

You must take these steps to qualify yourself eligible to compete:

Set-Aside Opportunities

Each federal agency sets participation goals for small businesses in procurement contracts. Regulations require Federal purchases over $3,000, but less than $150,000 to automatically reserve, or set-aside, a portion of the contract monies for small businesses. There are exceptions; full details are available on the SBA website.

What Is a SDVOSB?

To participate in this type of set-aside, a business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a service disabled veteran and the daily management operations of the concern must be controlled by a service-disabled veteran or caregiver. And, they must be a small business. Go to the SBA website to determine if your business qualifies as a small business.

You and your business must meet the following criteria:

  • The Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense
  • The SDVOSB must be small under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement
  • The SDV must unconditionally own 51% of the SDVOSB
  • The SDVO must control the management and daily operations of the SDVOSB
  • The SDV must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSB

Certify Your Military Service
To be considered a veteran you must have your DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) in order to prove your service in the armed forces. Go to the National Archives site to request your service record.

Validate Your Service-Connected Disability
To be considered a Service Disabled Veteran you must have a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or your discharge paper from the branch of service you were in, stating that you have a service-connected disability rating ranging from 0% to 100% disability.

Why You Should Self-Certify
According to Veterans Affairs, Public Law 106-50, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, there is no required minimum disability rating. This means a veteran with a zero-percent disability rating letter is eligible to self-represent as a Service Disabled Veteran for federal contracting purposes. The important factor is making sure that you have established a disability rating from your branch of the service—not the degree of the disability.

Considerations for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

By law, a percentage of the dollar value of most federal contracts is set-aside for a handful of socioeconomic groups; SDVO small businesses are one of them. Outreach to SDVOSBs has been difficult - in part because few businesses go to market specifically as service-disabled, veteran owned.

For over a decade, GSA's Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU) has been increasing its outreach efforts through a "21-Gun Salute" strategy. It is an action plan to help the agency meet and exceed procurement goals for SDVOSBs. Advocacy for this community is a key component of the 21-Gun initiative. The agency established a group of representatives from across GSA to promote the involvement of the SDVOSB community in procurement opportunities within GSA.

Opportunities for All Veterans

Any and all veteran-owned small businesses are encouraged to become a federal contractor.

The procedures and processes for becoming a federal contractor is the same for veterans as it is for non-veterans. Only SDVOSB are eligible for special set-aside opportunities – with one notable exception:

VETS (Veterans Technology Services) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).

The VETS GWAC solicitation notice closed on July 15, 2005. Although the contract’s prime contractors are assigned, vendors currently on those contracts may be looking for subcontractors.

You can learn more about the VETS GWAC and the prime contractors in the GWACs microsite on GSA.

Last Reviewed 2015-09-30