U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Scott Brown (R-MA) have introduced the Veterans' Small Business Opportunity Act of 2012, which updates the Veterans Benefits Code within the Department of Veteran Affairs to further assist spouses of deceased veterans who received benefits under the VA's service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) program. Current law allows for a transfer of the SDVOSB designation to a spouse only if the veteran's death was caused by a disability attributable to the veteran's active duty service. When a veteran small business owner dies from causes deemed unrelated to service, the spouse immediately loses those benefits. As a result, he or she is unable to pass off the business to another veteran or reestablish a business model. This legislation would provide a three year transfer period for surviving spouses not covered under current law.
"Our nation's disabled veterans and their families have sacrificed much for our country, and we will forever be in their debt," said Senator Burr, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "Military families are the backbone of our armed forces, and many of them have faced grave difficulties as their loved ones suffer from physical and emotional wounds of military service. Giving the surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran sufficient time to plan for the future of their family-owned business is one small way to express our gratitude."
"We honor our veterans by the way we take care of their families," said Senator Brown, member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs. "Our veterans' spouses have sacrificed so much, and a family business shouldn't be punished when a veteran unexpectedly passes away. Their spouse should have some time to get the business on solid ground. My bill provides a three year transition period where spouses and families will have the opportunity to keep a veteran-owned business stable as they prepare for the future."
"Disabled American Veterans commends Senators Scott Brown and Richard Burr for introducing the Veterans Small Business Opportunity Act, which would provide a three-year transition period for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses to retain their federal protected status following the death of a disabled veteran rated less than 100% disabled, or if the veteran did not die of a service-connected disability," said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski. "This legislation would allow time and opportunity for the disabled veteran's heirs to restructure the business as necessary."
Veterans' Small Business Opportunity Act of 2012:
The legislation would amend the Veterans' Benefits Code under the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow for a 3-year transfer period of contracting benefits to a surviving spouse if a veteran dies of causes not related to service. This enables the spouse to have transition time to determine the best option for the survival of the veteran's small business.
About the Veterans' Benefits Code:
The Veterans' Benefits Code provides an array of federal assistance programs to veterans, including service-disabled veterans. If a service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) qualifies as such with the Department of Veterans Affairs, government procurement offices use special consideration for that small business owner in awarding government contracts.