Legal Meets Practical: Accessible Solutions

They Shot the Unicorn! CVE Kills Simplified Renewal

If a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (“SDVOSB”) or veteran-owned small business (“VOSB”) wants to do business with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”), it must be listed in the Center for Verification and Evaluation’s (“CVE”) VetBiz registry. Many business owners who have been through this process – called verification – can attest to the experience as not fun. Painful, even. The verification process is relatively young and the CVE is still resolving issues.

In the past year, however, the CVE started touting its “simplified renewal.” In theory, this process was available for businesses that had been previously verified with a full document examination whose two-year eligibility period was expiring. In this program, if there had been no changes to the business since the last time the business documents were examined, the company could certify that no changes have taken place. Renewal for these companies was supposed to take 7 business days.

From my experience, simplified renewal was the CVE unicorn. I have heard of no business that has been able to use this process, including single-member limited liability companies that had reported no changes in their business since their initial verification.  One veteran – a solo proprietor with no changes – went through two rounds of document requests from the CVE and spent well over 12 hours compiling documents for his renewal.

Finally, however, the CVE has killed its unicorn. Or maybe it’s simply started owning up to the fact that “simplified renewal” doesn’t really exist. Now, on its website, it no longer uses the term “simplified renewal.” Rather, it uses “verification renewal,” and the fact sheet it includes on verification renewal describes the process it used in practice for simplified renewal.

In a nutshell, if you are a business owner and you’re coming up for renewal, you’re required to completely update every document in every section of your VetBiz portal. This includes not only newly-issued documents such as tax returns and licenses, but also explanations to documents which have not been changed. For instance, if you have By-laws and there have been no amendments since the last verification, you need a Letter of Explanation stating as such.

With reverification, keep in mind that it’s not really simple. However, by knowing what documents you need to update, and how to update them, you can make the process as simple as possible. Good luck with the process!

Access the VA’s new fact sheet on the reverification process here.

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5 Responses to “They Shot the Unicorn! CVE Kills Simplified Renewal”

  1. I am dealing with this exact issue now. I submitted all required documentation for my second renewal (third time overall), and thought the process would be “simplified.” I was then contacted by a CVE contractor asking if I had received my “Document Request” via email, which I did and confirmed. I then asked about the the “Simplified Renewal” and was told that it is really not simplified. Imagine that. I have been a proponent of the CVE Program and the weeding out of non-SDVOSBs that were posing as SDVOSBs, and it really made me feel like I shouldn’t be as loyal to the CVE and their processes as I should be. I was also told that the most of the document request information was automated, and that even though the system had requested this document or that document, I really only had to submit a portion of a document. After al of that, I was then told that the documents are actually being reviewed now with more scrutiny and detail. WTF? So the documents I submitted two and three years ago weren’t? Did I go through a labor intensive drill and document upload for nothing in the past? Being as a clear as mud, I said, “Thanks, but I will just resubmit everything I already had with better clarification. I appreciate the emphasis put on making each VOSB and SDVOSB legitimate, but c’mon. I have had two full document reviews and I am still being treated like a common pygmy (no disrespect to pygmies). A unicorn…I think so and recommend that everyone just resubmits entire documentation to ensure little-to-no document requests come back.

  2. I started the recert process and have gotten a call from some young lady that substantially clarified that the 8 to 10 documents (mostly tax returns) I have is expected to generally be sufficient. Im a sole practitioner with a s-Corp and no employees.
    The first time in 2012 was hard due to a lack of clarity about what they wanted. I now know that they are not interested in any other unrelated businesses.

  3. I think many Veterans believe the VA has a vested interest in Veteran’s First. Nothing can be further from the TRUTH. The VA is responding to the law and congressional mandates slowly and without the necessary effort to support Veterans. To be realistic, at a minimum, 70% of the VA’s work should be Veteran’s first but its not – ask yourself why.

    I know many Veterans in the VA that are looking out for Veterans; however, there are many Veterans and Non-Veterans who could care less. This is reality. Wake up and stop thinking that the VA will give you work, it is a government agency with flawed leaders who look out for themselves and those they know because “people do business with people they know”.

    I found out the hard way that many SES’s don’t want to fix problems. I’ve personally identified 2 or 3 major objectives that can be fixed immediately by my company that is SDVOSB and HUBZone certified and run into obstacles every-time by the organizations inside the VA that is suppose to help Veterans and Small Businesses work with the VA to solve problems. I found it comical when i was told by a senior individual in this agency that i could not proactively provide solutions two of the major objectives in the VA; however, i could respond when the VA put out sources sought on Fed BiZ OPs. WHAT A JOKE! I should wait for the VA to take my ideas and compete it or for them to finally realize what I’ve known for 2 years.

    The new Secretary should start holding town-hall meetings with CVE certified small businesses so we can start to help him identify and replace SES’ who are not effective.

    I’m not saying don’t work the VA but look elsewhere also.

  4. I recently went through the process of re-verification. It went fairly smoothly. I was a little confused about the claim of simplification, as it seems that most documents had to be updated, and re-uploaded anyway. I thought they did a good job, asked the questions I thought I would ask if I was doing the re-eval, and were timely in responses/requests. I was pleased to see that the re-verification was good for another two years, so all is well.

    • Glad to hear it went well – some have had good experiences and it’s important to acknowledge that the CVE’s verification process is new compared with the SBA’s programs. Thanks for commenting!

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