SDVOSB Bid Protest Lawyers and government contract attorneysMany small businesses face challenges to their Service Disabled Veteran Owned  SDVOSB status but are not sure how to defend against those challenges during SDVOSB bid protest litigation. Such failure can cost small businesses their contract awards. Ultimately, a loss of valuable resources and time bidding on government contracts or putting together a bid for an SDVOSB sole source.

Defending Your SDVOSB Status?

With over two decades in the federal procurement and small business marketplace, our SDVOSB bid protest lawyers help small businesses to aggressively defend their SDVOSB status when a protestor brings a bid protest before SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals ( SBA OHA).

With law offices in Denver, Colorado and Washington DC, the SDVOSB attorneys at Watson & Associates, LLC ( A veteran-owned law firm) represent awardees and interested parties filing a protest. We have over two decades of government contracting experience and small business program experience.

We frequently help companies who file or defend against allegations for violations of SDVOSB requirements or certification mandates. We cover a variety of legal issues that arise including:

  • SDVOSB size status
  • Affiliation violations
  • Teaming agreements and joint venture disputes
  • Limitations on subcontract disputes
  • Issues regarding similarly situated firms
  • Mentor protégé requirements
  • SDVOSB fraud cases
  • Ostensible subcontractor rule issues

In addition, we represent clients with litigation and appeals of veteran-owned business cases to the Court of Federal Claims (COFC) and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding high-level disputes about contracting officer decisions or decisions made at the Veteran Administration (VA).

What Can Be Protested in an SDVOSB Bid Protest?

Veteran ownership and control of the company

In cases where the protest is based on ownership and/or control, the OHA Judge will consider a, SDVOSB protest only if the protester presents credible evidence that the concern is not at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more veterans or service-disabled veterans.

Ostensible subcontractor Rule

The SdvoSB status protestor may challenge that the prime contractor appears unduly reliant on one or more, non-VOSB or non-SDVOSB subcontractors, or that a non-VOSB or non-SDVOSB subcontractor is performing the primary and vital requirements of the contract. 

Joint ventures

A VOSB or SDVOSB joint venture may be protested regarding the status of the managing VOSB or SDVOSB joint venture partner or for failure to meet the requirements of 13 CFR 128.402

If the joint venture is found to be ineligible solely based on failure to meet the requirements of that section, the joint venture will be ineligible for the contract at issue. The finding of ineligibility is limited to that contract and will not affect the underlying eligibility of the VOSB or SDVOSB joint venture partner.

SDVOSB Protest Filing Requirements & Time Limits

If you are an interested party, with legal standing to file an initial bid protest to challenge the awardee’s SDVOSB status, then you must file the protest by close of business on the fifth business day after notification by the contracting officer of the apparent successful offeror.

Rules for filing a bid protest appeal involving a challenge to SDVOSB status require companies to file the protest to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). You can email the protest appeal to  [email protected] or fax at (202) 205-7059. Companies and their lawyers can also file the case at the Hearing and Appeals Submission Upload (HASU) Application.

In addition to an SDVOSB appeal at OHA, you must send a copy of the appeal petition and  attachments to:

  • SBA’s Director, Office of Government Contracting,
  • The contracting officer responsible for the procurement,
  • The protested business or protestor, and
  • SBA’s Office of General Counsel, Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law, 13 CFR 134.505(b)

Time limits for filing an SDVOSB status appeal to SBA OHA

When you are appealing a formal SDVOSB status decision, a protestor or other interested parties with standing must file SDVO SBC appeals with SBA OHA within 10 business days of receiving the protest determination.  See 13 CFR 134.503. OHA must receive your appeal by 5 p.m. EST on the 10th business day.

The written appeal must identify the specific protest determination being appealed and must set forth a full and specific statement as to why the SDVOSB protest determination is alleged to be based on a clear error of fact or law, together with an argument supporting such allegation.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

  • An SDVOSB protest cannot merely assert that the targeting small business concern is not an eligible SDVO SBC. Avoid the costly mistake by setting forth specific facts or allegations and support for the allegations.
  • Another common mistake to avoid is filing challenging an SDVOSB set-aside contract when you are not an SDVOSB. This violates the standing rule and you may be determined not to be an interested party.
  • Make sure that you meet the licensing requirements for certain industries and be able to show that meet the requisite full-time requirements.
  • Avoid allowing other individuals or companies to control your business.
  • You must follow the protest filing deadline requirements. You cannot use what another government employee told you as a defense for being untimely.

FAQ about SDVOSB Status Protests

Can an SDVOSB be affiliated simply because another company is a client?

If your firm is owned and controlled by a disabled veteran, is not affiliated with another firm simply because that firm is one of your clients. If you are performing the primary and vital contract requirements and there is no undue reliance on that company as a subcontractor.  Be aware of small business fraud implications.

Who has the burden of proof during an SDVOSB bid protest?

 As the protested firm, your company (intervenor) has the burden of proving your eligibility as an SDVOSB by a preponderance of the evidence. See 13 C.F.R. § 134.1010.

What dates does OHA use to determine a CVE Protest?

In a CVE Protest pertaining to federal government procurement, SBA OHA will determine the eligibility of the protested concern as of two dates: (1) the date of the bid or initial offer including price, and (2) the date that the CVE bid Protest was filed. See 13 C.F.R. § 134.1003(d)(1).

Can your SDVOSB verification be impacted if you don’t work full time?

The general rule is that the SDVOSB member works full-time for the company during normal business hours and that he has no other employment. SBA regulations at 13 CFR 125.13(k) allow for a rebuttable presumption that a service-disabled veteran does not control a concern if “the service-disabled veteran is not able to work for the firm during the normal working hours that businesses in that industry normally work.” See Cf., CVE Protest of Covenant Constr. Servs., SBA No. CVE-152-P, at 3-4 (2020)

veteran owned small business lawyersNationwide Help – Contact Our SDVOSB Protest Lawyers

For immediate help with your small business size status or disputes regarding service-disabled veteran-owned SDVOSB status, contact Watson SDVOSB bid protest lawyers at 1-866.601.5518 or contact us online. Speak to Theodore Watson.