SLD Tips & News from 11/4/11 – Missed Oct. Deadlines

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you missed one or both of the October program deadlines, review the guidance below. You will still be able to file and certify your forms without penalty if you successfully follow the guidance appropriate for your situation.

Commitments for Funding Years 2011 and 2010

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 21 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) November 8. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 90%. As of November 4, FY2011 commitments total over $1.21 billion.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 74 FCDLs November 9. This wave can include commitments for approved Priority 2 requests at all discount levels. As of November 4, FY2010 commitments total over $2.84 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.

What to Do If You Missed One or Both October Deadlines

In past issues of the SL News Brief, we have discussed two program deadlines that occur each year in late October:

  • Last Friday, October 28, 2011 was the deadline for applicants and service providers to invoice USAC for FY2010 recurring services. This deadline applies if the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter is on or before June 30, 2011.
  • Monday, October 31, 2011 is the deadline for applicants to file a Form 486 for a Funding Request Number (FRN) for FY2011. This deadline applies to you if your service start date is July 1, 2011 and the date of your FCDL is on or before July 1, 2011.

In general, if you missed one or both of these deadlines, you can still take actions to successfully file and certify your forms without penalty. Below we discuss several scenarios and the actions you should take for each.

INVOICE DEADLINE – October 28

1. If an applicant filed a Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form 472 online for FY2010 recurring services on or before October 28 and the service provider has not yet approved the form:

Unless you have received an invoice deadline extension, your BEAR Form will be rejected. To be considered as timely filed, a BEAR Form must:

  • Be filed by the applicant online AND approved by the service provider online by the deadline OR
  • Be filed on paper, contain all four pages (including the service provider signature on page 4), and be postmarked by the deadline.

If USAC has already approved an invoice deadline extension request, your service provider can still approve your invoice. You can verify your extended date by referring to the FRN Extension Table. Choose FY2010 (Year 13), click “Next>>,” and search for your FRN(s) on the results page.

  • If an FRN has been extended, you have until the extended deadline to file BEAR Forms. However, we suggest that you complete your invoicing as soon as possible.
  • If an FRN has not been extended, you must submit an invoice deadline extension request and wait for USAC to approve it before you can file a BEAR Form.

2. If an applicant filed a BEAR Form online for FY2010 recurring services on or before October 28 and the service provider approved the form after October 28:

The BEAR Form will be rejected. You must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another BEAR Form.

3. If an applicant or service provider filed an invoice that was rejected:

You must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another invoice because the invoice deadline has passed. This applies both to service providers that file Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Forms 474 and to applicants that file BEAR Forms.

4. If an applicant or service provider did not file an invoice before the invoice deadline:

If you did not complete your invoicing process by the October 28 deadline and your FRN has not been extended, you must request and receive approval for an invoice deadline extension before you can file another invoice. This applies both to service providers that file SPI Forms and to applicants that file BEAR Forms.

FORM 486 DEADLINE – October 31

For most applicants, the deadline for filing and certifying a Form 486 is October 29 of the funding year. (Since October 29, 2011 fell on a Saturday, the deadline for this funding year was Monday, October 31.) However, the Form 486 deadline depends on both the FCDL date and the actual service start date, so you should use the Deadlines Tool on the USAC website to calculate your specific Form 486 deadline. For example, you can use the tool to verify that your FY2011 Form 486 deadline is NOT October 31, 2011 if:

  • Your FCDL is dated after July 1, 2011 OR
  • USAC issued a commitment on a Revised FCDL dated after July 1, 2011 for an FRN that was originally denied in full OR
  • Your service start date is after July 1, 2011.

Each year, USAC issues Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters to applicants that appear to have missed the Form 486 deadline. The first batch of these letters will be issued in the next several weeks to all FY2011 applicants for FRNs that meet the criteria below:

  • USAC issued an FCDL dated on or before July 1, 2011 with a positive commitment AND
  • The service start date reported on Form 471 Item 19 was July 1, 2011 AND
  • A Form 486 has not been successfully submitted and certified for that FRN.

After this first batch of letters, USAC will issue a letter for each additional FY2011 FRN after its estimated Form 486 deadline passes without a Form 486 being filed and certified. To accomplish this, USAC runs a daily query of FRNs using the later of (1) 120 days after the FCDL date and (2) 120 days after the service start date reported on the Form 471 to determine when each letter should be issued.

Applicants will have 20 days from the date of the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter to file and certify a Form 486 online or on paper. For any FRN on a Form 486 received or postmarked after that date, USAC will reset the service start date to the date 120 days before the Form 486 was certified online or on paper. Note that USAC will not pay discounts on services received before that adjusted service start date.

1. If you didn’t file your Form 486 by the deadline:

File and certify your Form 486 as soon as possible. You must file and certify your form by the deadline in the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter to avoid an adjustment to your service start date.

2. If you filed your Form 486 online by the deadline but have not yet certified it:

Certify your Form 486 online or on paper as soon as possible. You must certify your Form 486 by the deadline in the Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter to avoid an adjustment to your service start date.

3. If you reported July 1, 2011 as the service start date on your Form 471 but that is no longer the correct service start date:

Use the Deadlines Tool to calculate your Form 486 deadline, and then file and certify your form before that deadline has passed. Note that USAC will issue only one Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter for an FRN if you have not certified a Form 486 by your estimated deadline.

4. Service providers: If you see from the Data Retrieval Tool that one of your customers has not yet filed a Form 486 (i.e., there is no entry in the Form 486 Service Start Date field):

You can contact the applicant and remind him or her of the Form 486 deadline. Remember that USAC will not pay invoices for an FRN unless a Form 486 has been successfully processed for that FRN.