If you are an 8(a) contractor, you may have received a notification from your Business Opportunity Specialist regarding a voluntary suspension due to the March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. Covered below are considerations for 8(a) government contractors before they decide to suspend or not to suspend their participation in the 8(a) program.
SBA regulations provide a process by which 8(a) contractors may voluntarily elect to suspend their participation in the 8(a) program for a period of up to one year from the date of the disaster declaration to allow 8(a) contractors to recover from the disaster and take full advantage of the program. Then, once the suspension is over, either due to the passing of one year or the election to lift the suspension, the length of the suspension is added to the participant’s program term.
There are pros and cons to consider in choosing whether to voluntarily suspend your 8(a) program participation. If you need time to focus on other efforts outside of the 8(a) program and do not anticipate receiving or pursuing 8(a) awards in the near future, a voluntary suspension could prove worthwhile. In contrast, if there are any 8(a) opportunities, either competitive or sole-source that you are pursuing, it may not make sense to voluntarily suspend. Critically, while you are suspended from the 8(a) program—including during a voluntary suspension—you are ineligible for 8(a) program assistance, including new 8(a) contract awards. While you must complete any previously awarded 8(a) contracts, you are not permitted to receive new awards throughout the suspension period.
Should you have any questions regarding voluntary suspension and the process to request such, please contact a member of PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group. We also invite you to visit the Firm’s “COVID-19 Client Resource Center” to access resources that will help small businesses, including 8(a) contractors, navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meghan Leemon, the author of this blog, is an Associate in the Firm’s Government Contracts Group.
 See 13 C.F.R. § 124.305(h)(1)(iii).