Goodwill Industries Says VA Contract Termination Hurts Disabled Vets

WASHINGTON (CN) – A nonprofit that employs disabled veterans to make interment flags claims in court the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly terminated its decades-old federal contract, causing the veterans to lose what in some cases is their primary means of support.

In a complaint filed Sept. 25 in the Court of Federal Claims, Goodwill Industries of South Florida Inc. says it has had a contract  to provide interment flags to the VA since 1994.

But on Sept. 12, the non-profit says, it was told the contract was being terminated based on what Goodwill says is a “baseless” complaint filed by the US Government Accountability Office.

According to the complaint, the VA went on to say that now that the contract is terminated it is looking at alternative sources for the flags.

“There is nothing correct about action which violates federal procurement law, strips a nonprofit agency of work it has held for years, and leaves numerous significantly disabled persons (including significantly disabled veterans) unemployed,” Goodwill Industries says.

The non-profit says the VA violated the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act, a federal policy which aims to increase employment for persons who have disabilities by buying goods and services from non-profits who employ them.

Goodwill says as a result of the VA’s actions, it will have to let go “numerous significantly disabled persons (including veterans) who rely on this contract as a means of employment.”

The nonprofit is asking the court to enjoin the VA from cancelling the contract and to declare the department’s decision unreasonable and a violation of federal law.

Goodwill Industries is represented by Marc Lamer of Kostos and Lamer in Philadelphia.

A representative of the VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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