Veteran contracting assistance programs

Learn about federal programs that help veteran-owned small businesses access federal contract awards and surplus personal property.

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Contracting opportunities for veterans

Every year, the federal government awards a portion of contracting dollars specifically to businesses owned by veterans. Also, small businesses owned by veterans may be eligible to purchase surplus property from the federal government.

Veteran Small Business Certification (VetCert) program

Apply now: Visit the Veteran Small Business Certification portal.

Certification with SBA allows service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to compete for federal sole-source and set-aside contracts across the federal government. Certified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) have additional opportunities to pursue sole-source and set-aside contracts at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the VA’s Vets First program.

SBA’s Veteran Small Business Certification program implements changes from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA 2021) which transferred the certification function from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to SBA as of January 1, 2023. The transfer provides veterans with a central support point for their small business certification needs.

The final rule, which provides program and governance guidance, was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2022.

How to apply for certification

To establish an SBA account and apply for certification, visit the Veteran Small Business Certification portal.

Through the application portal, you can:

  • Access checklists and pre-application guides
  • Check your firm’s eligibility
  • Request information
  • Create an account, login and proceed with an application
  • Search for a certified VOSB or SDVOSB


Frequently Asked Questions and other assistance:

Benefits of SBA certification

  • Certification allows SDVOSB firms the opportunity to compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts across the federal government. Certified VOSBs may also compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts from the VA.
  • Self-certified firms seeking these restricted-competition opportunities must apply to SBA for certification by December 31, 2023.
  • Certified VOSBs and SDVOSBs should start the application process before their extended certification expiration date to ensure their certification does not lapse. Self-certified SDVOSBs are encouraged to submit an application in advance to ensure the certification process is complete by January 1, 2024.

Eligibility requirements

To apply for certification with SBA as a VOSB or SDVOSB, a firm must meet the following requirements:

  • Be considered a small business, as defined by the size standard corresponding to any NAICS code listed in the business’s SAM profile.
  • Have no less than 51% of the business owned and controlled by one or more veterans.
  • For certification as a SDVOSB, have no less than 51% of the business owned and controlled by one or more veterans rated as service-disabled by the VA. 
  • For those veterans who are permanently and totally disabled and unable to manage the daily business operations of their business, their business may still qualify if their spouse or appointed, permanent caregiver is assisting in that management.

For a full list of eligibility requirements, see the final rule published in the Federal Register.

Certification transfer from the VA and one-year extension

  • Firms previously verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1, 2023, were automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period, along with a one-time, one-year extension.
  • New applicants certified by SBA after January 1, 2023, will receive the standard three-year certification period.

Grace period for self-certified firms

  • The NDAA 2021 grants a one-year grace period for self-certified SDVOSBs until January 1, 2024.  During the grace period, self-certified businesses have one year to file an application for SDVOSB certification and may continue to rely on their self-certification to compete for non-VA SDVOSB set-aside contracts.
  • Self-certified SDVOSBs that apply before January 1, 2024, will maintain their eligibility through the expiration of the grace period until SBA issues a final eligibility decision.
  • VOSBs and SDVOSBs seeking sole-source and set-aside opportunities with the VA must be certified – there is no grace period.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program

Program benefits

The federal government aims to award at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs each year.

Competition is limited for certain federal contract opportunities to businesses that participate in the SDVOSB program.

Joining the SDVOSB program makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside and sole source contracts.

SDVOSBs may self-certify their status through 2023 to compete for set-aside contracts at most federal agencies. However, VA does not recognize SDVOSB self-certification. Self-certified SDVOSBs must apply for SBA certification by the January 1, 2024 to be able to compete for set-aside contracts with the federal government.

You can view the full eligibility requirements in the final rule published in the Federal Register

How to self-certify as SDVOSB

You can self-certify your business to the federal government as being owned by a service-disabled veteran. Simply update the socio-economic status section of your business profile at SAM.gov.

Surplus Personal Property for Veteran-Owned Small Business programs

Program benefits

Veteran-owned small businesses can access federally owned personal property no longer in use through the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program.

GSA oversees the reuse and donation of federal personal property. It also:

SASP manages surplus property disbursement, including:

  • Verification of eligibility
  • Program compliance
  • Fee collection
  • Recordkeeping
  • Dispute resolution (in accordance with respective states’ operating plans)

Eligibility requirements

VOSBs may get federal surplus property from the SASP in the state where the property will be primarily located and used. You must agree in writing that your VOSB:

  • Is located and operated within the state
  • Is unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more eligible veterans, service-disabled veterans, or surviving spouses
  • Has registered and is in “certified” status in SBA’s VetCert program database
  • Will use the property in the normal conduct of its business activities (personal or non-business use is prohibited)
  • Will not sell, transfer, loan, lease, encumber or otherwise dispose of the property during the period of restriction unless it has received express written authorization from SASP, GSA, and SBA
  • Will get permission from the donating SASP before permanently removing the property from the state
  • Will use the property as intended within one year of receipt
  • Will maintain its VOSB eligibility with SBA and SASP for the duration of the applicable federal period of restriction for donated property
  • Will give SBA, GSA, and/or SASP access to inspect the property and all pertinent records

Resources

Contact the SASP in the state where your VOSB is headquartered for more details on program requirements and eligibility.

Learn more about GSA’s Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program.

Get help with SBA programs

Review more SBA programs for veterans or contact us at:

Office of Veterans Business Development
409 3rd St. SW, Suite 5700
Washington, DC 20416
202-205-6773

Last updated January 4, 2024