Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

July 16, 2012

COLUMN: Veteran's Corner

— Recently the VA announced it is doubling the amount of time before owners of service disabled veteran small businesses and veteran-owned businesses must re-verify with the VA that they are owned and operated by qualified veterans and other legal requirements. By increasing the verification period in two years, these veteran owned small businesses will be able to plan and operate their companies more efficiently and effectively. Under this interim rule, businesses at the end of their verification period would be required to re-verify through the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise.

In 2011, the VA awarded $3.2 billion in contracts to veterans’ small businesses. To initiate eligibility for a small business, a veteran must complete an application process with CVE through the web-based Vendor Information Page database. Information about the process for verification can be found on the VA’s website at www.vetbiz.gov/. Businesses removed from the database that were verified from June 2010 to December 2010 will have their remaining months added to coincide with their one year extension via the interim change. These designated businesses are required to re-verify within the 120 days of their expiration date.

The attorneys general offices of several states have given the VA the right to use the gibill.com website, Quinstreet Inc. agreed to give up the site to settle a lawsuit. The attorneys had sued Quinstreet Inc., the owner of the gibill.com domain, charging it with deceptive practices by directing veterans and servicemembers on its website exclusively to for-profit schools that were clients of QuinStreet.

The announcement comes as the VA is seeking legal authority to trademark the term GI Bill. An executive order by President Obama directed the Department of Defense to undertake a number of measures to stop deceptive and misleading promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of veterans, servicemembers and eligible family members.  

Veterans should not be recruited aggressively by institutions principally because of financial motives and the VA and other federal agencies are going to provide strong oversight monitoring. The VA is engaging with the Department of Defense, Education and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide this strong oversight. For more information on GI Bill programs, visit gibill.va.gov or call 1-888-442-4551 to speak with a representative or contact a local veterans service officer.

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