Contractor's Guide for Submitting an Unsolicited Proposal

Why should I read this Guide?

This guide will help you to decide if you should submit an unsolicited proposal to the Social Security Administration, and provides guidance on preparing the proposal.

What is an unsolicited proposal?

It is a written proposal that you submit to the Government at your initiative to obtain a contract. To be an unsolicited proposal, it must not respond to a formal or informal request (other than a publicized general statement of needs).

What are some examples of things that are not unsolicited proposals?

Advertising material is material that either:

--Familiarizes the Government with your products or potential capabilities, or

--You submit to stimulate the Government's interest in buying your products.

A commercial item offering is your offer of a commercial item that you want to see introduced in the Government's supply system as an alternate or replacement for an existing supply item.  This term does not include innovative or unique configurations or uses of commercial items that are being offered for further development and that may be submitted as an unsolicited proposal. This term does apply to rentals/leases of commercially available equipment and various types of services such as transcription services.

A contribution is a concept, suggestion, or idea you present to the Government for its use with no indication that you intend to give any more effort to it on the Government's behalf.

Technical correspondence is routine correspondence such as a written request for information regarding Government interest in a research area or submission of a research description.

What makes an unsolicited proposal valid?

A valid unsolicited proposal must:

  • Be innovative and unique;
  • Be independently originated and developed by the offeror;
  • Be prepared without Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct Government involvement;
  • Include sufficient detail to allow SSA to decide that support could be worthwhile, and the proposed work could benefit the agency's research and development or other mission responsibilities;
  • Not be an advance proposal for a known requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods; and
  • Not address a previously published agency requirement.

What must the proposal contain?

The proposal must contain the following information for SSA to consider it:

General Information

  • Your name and address, and if applicable, indicate the type of organization, (i.e., profit, nonprofit, educational, small/minority business); 
  • Names and telephone numbers of your technical and business personnel whom the Agency may contact for evaluation purposes; 
  • Names of any other Federal, state, local agencies, or parties receiving the proposal/funding the proposed effort or activity; and
  • Submission date and signature of a responsible official or authorized representative of your organization, or a person authorized to obligate the organization by contract.

Technical Information

  • A concise title and abstract (approximately 200 words) of the proposed effort; 
  • A reasonably complete discussion stating the objectives of the effort, the approach to be used, and the effort to be employed, the nature and extent of the anticipated results, and how the work will support SSA's mission;
  • The names and brief biographical information of your key people (including alternates, if desired) who would be involved.  Include also the type of support, if any, you request from SSA (i.e., facilities, equipment, materials, or personnel resources). 

Business Information

  • A proposed price or total estimated cost for the proposed effort sufficiently detailed by element of cost for meaningful evaluation;
  • The type of contract preferred;
  • A valid time period of proposal (suggested: 6-month minimum);
  • The proposed duration of effort;
  • A brief description of your organization, previous experience, relevant past performance, and facilities to be used;
  • The names and telephone numbers of any SSA employee you already contacted regarding the proposal; and
  • A statement, if applicable, regarding:
    --Organizational conflicts of interest (see section titled "What other things should I know before I submit a proposal?";
    --Suitability determinations (background checks), and 
    --Environmental impact(s).

How do I limit SSA's use or disclosure of proprietary information?

Mark the title page with the following legend:

"This proposal includes data that shall not be disclosed outside the Government and shall not be duplicated, used, or disclosed - in whole or in part - for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal.  If, however, a contract is awarded to this offeror as a result of - or in connection with - the submission of this data, the Government shall have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resulting contract. This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction. The data subject to this restriction are contained in sheets [insert numbers or other identification of sheets]."

Mark each sheet of data you want to restrict with the following legend:

"Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this proposal."

SSA may not be able to withhold a record (data, document, etc.) or deny access to a record requested by an individual (the public) when an obligation is imposed on the Government under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended. SSA's determination to withhold or disclose a record will be based upon the particular circumstances involving the record in question and whether the record may be exempted from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.  You must mark records which you consider to be trade secrets and commercial or financial information and privileged or confidential as indicated in the referenced legend.

What other things should I know before I submit a proposal?

Before SSA awards you a contract, we must determine:

There is no potential organizational conflict of interest; and

Your organization is "responsible."

How do I know if my organization has a "potential organizational conflict of interest?"

You have a potential conflict of interest if:

Any work you are currently doing might bias your judgment in performing work under the unsolicited proposal; and

The work you are proposing may give you an unfair competitive advantage.

What standards will SSA use to decide whether my organization is "responsible?"

A responsible contractor must:

  • Have adequate financial resources to perform the contract, or the ability to obtain them;
  • Be able to comply with the required or proposed delivery or performance schedule, taking into consideration all existing commercial and governmental business commitments;
  • Have a satisfactory performance record. You will not usually be determined responsible or non-responsible solely based on a lack of relevant performance history;
  • Have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics including satisfactory compliance with the law including tax laws, labor and employment laws, environmental laws, antitrust laws, and consumer protection laws.
  • Have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics;
  • Have the necessary organization, experience, accounting and operational controls, and technical skills, or the ability to obtain them (including, as appropriate, such elements as production control procedures, property control systems, quality assurance measures, and safety programs applicable to materials to be produced or services to be performed;
  • Have the necessary production, construction, and technical equipment and facilities, or the ability to obtain them; and
  • Are otherwise qualified and eligible to receive an award under applicable laws and regulations.

Where can I find the Federal regulations governing the submission and review of unsolicited proposals?

Please read Federal Acquisition Regulation 15.6, Unsolicited Proposals, for additional information. .

Where do I send the proposal?

The Division of Policy and Purchase Card Administration (DPPCA) in the Office of Acquisition and Grants is the point of contact for SSA. Send your unsolicited proposal to:

**Be sure to include the phrase “UNSOLICITED PROPOSAL” at the beginning of the subject line, to ensure it gets forwarded to the correct point of contact.**

Attachment: Unsolicited Proposal Certification


I certify, to the best of my knowledge and belief, that our organization:

Developed the methods and approaches stated in the proposal, and

Prepared this proposal without Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct Government involvement.





NOTE: Have a responsible official of your organization or a person authorized to contractually obligate your organization sign this certification.