SDVOSB Government Contracts: What Service-Disabled Veterans Need to Know

A back view of a veteran saluting in front of a U.S. flag, SDVOSB Government Contracts

SDVOSB government contracts help veterans venturing into the government contracting arena. They are granted specifically for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) to establish a firm foothold in the federal marketplace.

With at least 3% of government procurement funds allotted to eligible SDVOSBs each year, veterans have an exclusive opportunity to secure federal contracts.

Learn more about SDVOSB government contracts and understand veteran contracting assistance programs, including their benefits, eligibility requirements, and certification process.


What are SDVOSB Government Contracts?

SDVOSB government contracts are federal acquisition contracts set aside for veterans who own small businesses through the SDVOSB program.

Disabled veterans’ business program contracts are categorized into two: 

  1. A competitive disabled veterans’ business program set-aside contract is awarded when at least two SDVOSBs are expected to submit an offer. The contractors awarded under this category must adhere to fair market pricing.
  2. A sole-source disabled veterans’ business program contract is given when the contracting officer determines that:
    • No multiple qualified SDVOSBs will submit offers
    • The qualified SDVOSB is responsible
    • The contract may be granted at a reasonable cost


Benefits of the SDVOSB Government Program

The SDVOSB government program offers the following advantages to service-disabled veterans:

  • Certified SDVOSBs get priority access to federal contracts.
  • Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for SDVOSB government contracts have specific requirements that limit the competition, making the procurement process more straightforward.
  • Participation in the program gives veterans a competitive advantage when bidding for government contracts.
  • Disabled veterans receive recognition for their service and sacrifices.
  • The program fuels the growth and development of veteran-owned businesses.
  • The program provides SDVOSBs with valuable resources, assistance, training, networking opportunities, counseling, and financial aid.


How to Qualify as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business

A group of veterans
Photo by y Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Spratt/ DVIDS

Companies must meet several conditions and requirements to qualify for the SDVOSB program.

  • The company must be categorized as a small business per the SBA’s size standards.
  • At least 51% of the business must be owned by service-disabled veterans (SDV).
  • The SDV must hold the top management position and oversee day-to-day operations within the company.
  • The firm must be appropriately classified under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

In addition to these prerequisites, business owners must also:

  • Have good character
  • Have served in the military with honor
  • Have suffered from a service-connected disability during their military service, verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Veterans who are permanently disabled may still be eligible for SDVOSB certification, provided they have a designated permanent caregiver assisting them with management tasks. Furthermore, spouses who take over the ownership of a participating SDVOSB company following the death of a veteran remain eligible for the program.


How to Secure SDVOSB Government Contracts

Increase your chances of winning SDVOSB government contracts with these tips

  • Do thorough market research to find the contracts that best suit your company’s strengths.
  • Ensure your business meets the criteria and obtains the necessary certification.
  • Go into subcontracting.
  • Gain insights from more experienced contractors through the SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
  • Attend government events, trade shows, and conferences to connect with government officials, contractors, and fellow small businesses.
  • Learn how to write an impactful GovCon proposal.
  • Partner with other businesses, including non-SDVOSBs.
  • Stay informed about federal news, such as policy updates and government contract opportunities.


How to Apply for SDVOSB Certification

A veteran signing a contract
Photo by fizkes/ Shutterstock

Below is the step-by-step guide to obtaining an SDVOSB certification.

  1. Before applying, ensure that your business meets the eligibility requirements and criteria.
  2. Register your business at Complete your business profile, including the DUNS number and NAICS codes. If you already have an account, check to see if all the relevant information has been updated.
  3. Gather the necessary documents listed by the SBA, including:
    • Contract between contractor/consultant and business owner (if the contractor/consultant is completing the application)
    • Proof of marriage (if the application is prepared by a surviving spouse who has not remarried)
    • Formal appointment of caregiver (if the application is prepared by a caregiver for a veteran with a permanent service-connected disability)
    • Written explanation of compensation.
    • Franchise Agreement (if applicable)
  4. Visit the Veteran Small Business Certification (VetCert) website to begin the certification process.
  5. Complete the registration process on the VetCert and complete the provided questionnaire.

As of January 2024, the SBA took over the certification process; the VA no longer accepts self-certification. To maintain the SDVOSB status, companies must be certified by the SBA.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the sole source limit for SDVOSB?

The expected contract value, including options, must not exceed:

  • $7 million for manufacturing-related requirements under NAICS codes
  • $4 million for requirements falling under other NAICS codes.


Where can you find SDVOSB government contracts?

You can find SDVOSB government contracts through federal procurement websites, subcontracting opportunities, and networking with government agencies.


How long does it take to get SDVOSB certification?

The processing time for SDVOSB certification is usually around 90 days, though it can vary due to regulatory changes. Certification is valid for up to three years, while SAM registration must be renewed annually after its initial one-year validity.


What if your company qualifies as an SDVOSB and meets other socioeconomic group requirements?

Should a company qualify as an SDVOSB and meet the program requirements for other socioeconomic groups, it may have an edge in securing a government contract, particularly if the federal agency is working toward fulfilling its socioeconomic contracting goals.

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Written by Annie Tyler

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