benefitsThe country, through the US Senate, has been slowly working towards improving the conditions of veterans and offering them opportunities to integrate back into society. The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 was a law passed by the US Senate to amend title 38 of the United States Code. The purpose of this amendment was to improve the benefits that were to be offered to veterans under the laws of the department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Veterans Benefits act was specifically aimed at advancing business opportunities, educational benefits, employment provisions, and housing- related matters.

Title III of the act is of the most importance to VOBs. It contains 9 sections (Sec. 301- 309) that address important areas concerning access to opportunities for VOBs and SDVOBs, as well as educational and training benefits for veterans.

Title III, Section 308: Procurement Programs for VOBs and SDVOBs

Section 308 of the act is the most important for veteran owned businesses because it specifies laws and procedures that increase the access to business opportunities for VOBs and SDVOBs.

The first provision of the act covers the awarding of sole source contracts. The act stipulates that small businesses controlled by veterans will have access to the awarding of direct contracts by corporations under certain conditions. The conditions state that as long as the contract is made at a fair and reasonable price to both parties (the contract value cannot exceed $5 million), and that 2 or more VOBs are not competing for that same contract, then it can be directly awarded to a particular VOB.

This sole sourcing law was designed to offer direct opportunities to VOBs that are attempting to access specific opportunities and to grow their businesses.

Under the same section, the act also allows for contractors to restrict the competition for a particular contract only to small business VOBs and SDVOBs as long as two or more such companies apply for that same contract.

The purpose of this contracting structure was to allow corporations to diversify their supplier networks and provide more opportunities for VOBs to grow and provide services to larger corporations within their field.

Title III, sections 301-307: Educational Benefits

The first 7 sections under title III of the act specifically address matters related to education. Under these sections, veterans are able to get access to educational benefits for self-employment training, which can facilitate their ability to start their own-businesses.