March 01, 2013

Manchin, Heller Announce Veterans Small Business Protection Act

Washington, D.C.Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Dean Heller (R-NV) issued the following statements following introduction of the Veterans Small Business Protection Act:

“Veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and should be confident that their families will be taken care of in a time of need.  I am proud to co-sponsor this bill with Senator Heller of Nevada that helps the spouses and dependents of veteran-owned small businesses after the service members pass away from a disability or in the line of duty. I know West Virginians share my commitment to doing anything that we can to help make the grieving process that much easier for our veterans’ families,” Senator Manchin said.

“Families dealing with the loss of their loved one shouldn’t also face losing their veteran-owned small business status at the same time. With this bill, Congress has an opportunity to help these family businesses cope after they have already made significant sacrifices on our behalf. I am proud to join Senator Manchin to introduce this legislation, which ensures that surviving spouses and dependents are eligible for small business benefits,” said Senator Dean Heller.


Current law allows a spouse to continue receiving the veteran small business designation for ten years only if the veteran's death was caused by a disability rated as a 100 percent disabling as a result of active duty service. When a veteran small business owner with a service-connected disability of less than 100 percent dies from causes unrelated to service, the spouse immediately loses those benefits. No legislation was included to address service members who owned businesses that are killed in action.

The Veterans Small Business Protection Act:

  • Affords surviving spouses or dependents of service members three years of eligibility as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, which provides more time for the family to transition.
  • Authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat any business left to a spouse or dependent by a member of the Armed Services killed in the line of duty as a veteran-owned business or a disabled-veteran-owned business for purposes of benefit eligibility.
  • Ensures that surviving spouses or dependents of service members that owned a small business and were killed in action are considered for government contracts.  

A PDF Copy of the Veterans Small Business Protection Act is attached with this release.