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What Does it Mean if a Business or Individual is Excluded or Debarred in SAM?


If a business or individual is listed as excluded or debarred in SAM (System for Award Management), it means that they have been formally prohibited from participating in federal government contracts, grants, or other assistance programs. Being excluded or debarred is a serious consequence resulting from certain violations or legal issues, and it signifies that the individual or entity is temporarily or permanently ineligible to conduct business with the U.S. federal government. Here’s what it means in more detail:

  1. Exclusion or Debarment Basis: Exclusion or debarment can occur for various reasons, including but not limited to:
    • Fraud or misrepresentation in federal contracting or grant activities.
    • Conviction of certain criminal offenses related to government contracts or grants.
    • Violation of federal procurement regulations or ethics standards.
    • Nonpayment of federal taxes or other debts.
    • Violation of export control laws.
    • Other serious legal or ethical violations.
  2. Ineligibility: When an individual or business is excluded or debarred in SAM, it means they are ineligible to participate in any federal contracts, grants, or assistance programs for the duration of the exclusion or debarment period. This can range from a temporary suspension to a permanent ban, depending on the severity of the violation.
  3. Consequences: Exclusion or debarment has significant consequences for the affected entity or individual. They cannot bid on federal contracts, apply for grants, or receive federal assistance during the exclusion period.
  4. Government-Wide Effect: SAM’s exclusion and debarment list is accessible to all federal agencies. Therefore, if an entity is excluded or debarred in SAM, it applies government-wide. It ensures that an individual or business cannot simply seek opportunities with another federal agency to circumvent the sanction.
  5. Reinstatement Process: In some cases, after a specified exclusion or debarment period, an individual or business may be eligible to apply for reinstatement, seeking permission to again participate in federal procurement and grant activities. The reinstatement process typically involves demonstrating rehabilitation or remediation of the issues that led to the exclusion.

It’s important to note that exclusion or debarment is a formal legal process with specific procedures and due process rights for the affected parties. The goal of this process is to protect the integrity of federal contracting and grant programs by ensuring that only responsible and ethical entities participate.

Organizations and individuals engaged in government contracting and grant activities should maintain a high level of compliance with federal regulations and ethical standards to avoid exclusion or debarment and the associated legal and reputational consequences. Additionally, they should regularly check SAM’s exclusion and debarment list to ensure they are not engaging in business with prohibited entities.


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Contact the FPR Help Desk through the following methods:

  • Phone: 1-866-717-5267 (toll-free)
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