Latest SLD News – 9/28/12 Focus: Invoicing

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you will not be able to complete invoicing for FY2011 recurring services by the invoice deadline, you should request an invoice deadline extension (see below). Plan to get your request submitted as soon as possible.

Commitments for Funding Years 2012 and 2011

Funding Year 2012. USAC will release FY2012 Wave 13 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) October 2. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90% and denials at 89% and below. As of September 28, FY2012 commitments total over $1.19 billion.

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 63 FCDLs October 3. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at 88% and above and denials at 87% and below. As of September 28, FY2011 commitments total over $2.36 billion.

On the day the FCDLs are mailed, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC’s Automated Search of Commitments tool.

FCC Releases Eligible Services List Report and Order

On September 27, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order (DA 12-1553) releasing the Eligible Services List for Funding Year 2013. The PDF version of the Eligible Services List with active hyperlinks will be available shortly.

Fall Training Update

If you do not yet have a hotel reservation and the hotel is full, go to the Trainings & Outreach page on the USAC website and click on the “Fall Training Registration” for your chosen city. If we have information on alternate arrangements, we have posted that information there.

Also, please cancel any registration you will not be using to open a space for someone from the waiting list for that session. You can email USAC to cancel your registration or ask a question. 

FY2012 Out-of-Window Letters

Next week, USAC will issue about 420 letters notifying applicants that their FCC Forms 471 are considered out of window. Out-of-window letters are issued to three groups of applications:

  • FCC Forms 471 filed on paper and postmarked after March 20, 2012, the close of the application filing window.
  • FCC Forms 471 filed online by March 20 at 11:59 pm EDT and certified online or on paper after May 9, the extended certification deadline.
  • FCC Forms 471 filed online after March 20 at 11:59 pm EDT and later certified online or on paper.

Out-of-window letters are not issued for forms started online that are in an “Incomplete” or “Complete” status. You can View a 471 or the View 471 Status from the Search Tools page on the USAC website to check the status of a form.

  • To View a 471, enter the FCC Form 471 application number and security code, choose Original (to see your application as it was submitted) or Current (to see your application after an FCDL has been issued), and click Display. The status of the form will appear in the upper left-hand corner of the resulting page, below the tab marked “Block 1.”
  • To View 471 Status, enter your Billed Entity Number, choose the funding year, and click Search, then click Continue on the following page. At the top of your search results, you will find a list of all FCC Forms 471 filed for the funding year you chose together with the status of each form. A table explaining the statuses appears below your search results.

FY2011 Invoice Deadline – October 29, 2012

Recurring services are services delivered continuously or at regular intervals during the funding year. Examples of recurring services include basic telephone service, monthly Internet access, and basic maintenance of internal connections. Recurring services must be delivered during the funding year – that is, between July 1 and the following June 30.

The deadline for invoicing USAC for recurring services is calculated as follows:

  • 120 days after the last date to receive services (which is generally June 30 of the funding year) or
  • 120 days after the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter

whichever is later.

October 29, 2012 is the deadline for applicants and service providers to invoice USAC for FY2011 recurring services. This deadline applies to you if the date on your FY2011 Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2012.

If your FRN is for non-recurring services or the date on your Form 486 Notification Letter is after June 30, your invoicing deadline is later than October 29. (For example, the deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services is generally September 30 following the close of the funding year rather than June 30.)

This October 29 deadline applies to both invoice forms:

  • The FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, which is filed by the applicant and approved by the service provider after the applicant has paid for the services in full.
  • The FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form, which is filed by the service provider after the service provider has billed the applicant for the applicant’s non-discount share of the cost of the services.

If the date on your Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2012, your invoice must be received or postmarked on or before October 29. If you miss this deadline, you must apply for and receive an invoice deadline extension before you can submit your invoice. This applies to both applicants filing BEAR Forms and service providers filing SPI Forms.

– Tips for applicants filing BEAR Forms

  • Gather your customer bills and do a reconciliation before filing a BEAR Form. Before you file your last BEAR Form for FY2011 recurring services, make sure that you are not invoicing USAC twice for the same service period or skipping a service period. Remember that you are invoicing USAC for discounts on the cost of services that were approved by USAC on an FCDL and actually received.
  • Make sure your service providers have filed a FCC Form 473, Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form, for FY2011. USAC will not pay invoices for a funding year unless a SPAC Form is on file for that year. You can Search for SPIN Information on the USAC website to determine if your service provider has filed this form for FY2011.
  • Allow sufficient time for your service provider(s) to review and approve your forms. This is especially important if you are requesting reimbursement for an entire year of service on a single BEAR Form. If you’re not sure how long your service provider’s review and approval process will take, ask your service provider.
  • Check with your service providers to see if they know how to use their online access to USAC’s E-file System. Service providers use the E-file System for a number of actions, including reviewing and approving BEAR Forms. If your service providers do not use the E-file System, suggest that they call USAC at 1-888-641-8722 (choose the “Form 498” option) for assistance.
  • File your BEAR Form online. The online system allows you to file your information quickly and easily, populates some information automatically based on your entries, and warns you in many cases if you enter incorrect or inconsistent information. Before you file online, make sure that your service providers are able to review and approve BEAR Forms online.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to file your FY2011 BEAR Forms. Applicants should be filing their final BEAR Forms for FY2011 recurring services now.

– Tips for service providers approving BEAR Forms

  • Tell your customers what your requirements are for reviewing and approving BEAR Forms. If you communicate up front with applicants about the amount of time and any documentation you need to review and approve BEAR Forms, you will save time and reduce frustration for them and for you.
  • Get online access to review and approve BEAR Forms. Service providers should already have online access to USAC’s E-File System. If you don’t have online access or you don’t know how to use your login information, call USAC at 1-888-641-8722 (choose the “Form 498” option) and ask for assistance.
  • Check online once each week for pending BEAR Forms. Although USAC will send you an email message when an applicant files a BEAR Form online, you do not need to wait to receive the email before you review a form. If you log in to the E-file System and check for pending BEAR Forms once each week, you will ensure that you won’t miss any forms needing approval.

– Tips for service providers filing SPI Forms

  • Gather your customer bills and do a reconciliation before filing a SPI Form. Make sure before you file your last SPI Form for FY2011 recurring services that you are not invoicing USAC twice for the same service period or skipping a service period. Remember that you are invoicing USAC for discounts on the cost of services that were approved by USAC on an FCDL and then actually delivered.
  • Make sure you have filed an FCC Form 473 (SPAC Form) for FY2011. USAC will not pay invoices for a funding year unless a SPAC Form is on file for that funding year. You can Search for SPIN Information on the USAC website to determine if you filed this form with USAC for a funding year.
  • File your SPI Form online or electronically. The online system allows you to file your information quickly and easily. You do not need access to the E-file System to file SPI Forms online, and you do not have to make any certifications on the SPI Form because you have already made your certifications on your SPAC Form. If you want to file SPI Forms electronically by emailing USAC a comma-delimited file with your invoice information, review the electronic invoicing guidance on the USAC website for assistance.

Remember that you can calculate deadlines for program forms, requests, and other activities by using the Deadlines tool on the USAC website.