Congress and the Obama administration will likely make it more difficult for companies attempting to secure federal contracts through the Small Business Administrations’ (SBA) various socioeconomic contracting programs. New legislation (The Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act) will provide for more oversight and stricter scrutiny.
The legislation was introduced through bipartisan Senators and if passed will completely change the oversight into awarding federal contracts into “a wide-ranging, cradle-to-the-grave” structure. The cradle phase is where contractors are properly certified so they can accept the contract. The most important side of the new oversight structure is monitoring the contractors after they begin work toward fulfilling their contractual obligations. Despite their best efforts, contractors continually, fraudulently win federal small business contracts. This new legislation increases criminal penalties for such contractors and civil penalties under the False Claims Act.
The bill’s increased oversight applies to small businesses falling into specific categories. Every contractor hoping to be considered for contracts from businesses in those categories will be required to tender paperwork reflecting their standing in the Online Representations and Certifications Application database. Those categories include small businesses:
- Owned by service-disabled veterans;
- Owned by women;
- Located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone; or
- Operating in the 8(a) Business Development Program.
The proposed legislation would make other significant changes to the entire SBA contracting process. The changes are crucial to combat and prevent fraud and put every eligible company on the same playing field.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.