Veteran-owned small businesses have long grappled with seemingly benign drafting inconsistencies between Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
regulations that can leave a business qualified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) by VA standards, but not at the SBA (or vice versa). One such puzzler is the
requirement for unconditional ownership by a service-disabled veteran, a requirement that is common to both SBA and the VA, but for which the VA provides a
substantially more detailed definition. Compare 13 C.F.R. § 125.12 (“A concern must be at least 51% unconditionally and directly owned by one or more service-disabled
veterans.”) with 38 C.F.R. § 74.3(b) (adding that “[o]wnership must not be subject to conditions precedent, conditions subsequent, executory agreements, voting trusts,
restrictions on assignments of voting rights, or other arrangements causing or potentially causing ownership benefits to go to another (other than after death or
incapacity)”). This additional detail has created some conflicting results, which is not helped by divergent interpretations of unconditional at SBA and the Court of Federal
Claims, all of which has left many a veteran business owner (and more than a few legal practitioners) scratching their heads.