Bill would extend decision time for vet's surviving spouse

A new bill would give the spouse of a service-disabled veteran business-owner who dies a three-year transfer period of contracting benefits.

If a veteran dies of causes unrelated to service, Veterans’ Small Business Opportunity Act (S. 3210) would allow a surviving spouse time to determine the best option for the future of the veteran’s small business.

Current law allows for a transfer of the service-disabled veteran’s business 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, the spouse is unable to pass off the business to another veteran or reestablish a business model.

“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,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a press release.

The legislation would update the Veterans Benefits Code within the Veterans Affairs Department. The code provides an array of federal assistance programs to veterans, including special contract set-asides for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

The bill was referred to the Veterans Affairs Committee for further consideration.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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