Tips & News from USAC for 9/23/2011

TIP OF THE WEEK: Next Friday, September 30 is the deadline for submitting a service delivery extension request (see below). Automatic extensions occur if one of the following was or will be issued on or after or March 1, 2011: an FCDL, an approved SPIN change request, or an approved service substitution request.  All other extensions must be requested by the deadline.

Commitments for Funding Years 2011, 2010 and 2009

Funding Year 2011. USAC will release FY2011 Wave 15 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) September 27. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 1 (Telecommunications Services and Internet Access) requests at all discount levels. As of September 23, FY2011 commitments total just under $920 million.

Funding Year 2010. USAC will release FY2010 Wave 68 FCDLs September 28. This and future waves for FY2010 can include commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at all discount levels. As of September 23, FY2010 commitments total over $2.74 billion.

Funding Year 2009. USAC will release FY2009 Wave 94 FCDLs September 26. This wave includes commitments for approved Priority 2 (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance) requests at 77% and above and denials at 76% and below. As of September 23, FY2009 commitments total over $2.87 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.

Fall Training Update

Don’t forget to make a room reservation if you want to stay at the conference hotel for one of the fall training sessions. Rooms may not be available or may be more expensive after the deadlines listed below. 

Hotel Deadline for Hotel Reservations
 Renaissance Arlington Capital View  CLOSED
 Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott  September 29 (extended)
 Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America  September 23 (extended)
 Hilton Portland & Executive Tower  CLOSED*
 Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel  September 26 (no extension)
 Sheraton New Orleans Hotel  October 5
 Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel  October 11
 Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport  October 17

 

*Will process reservations based on availability

To get hotel information, go to the Training Sessions and Presentations page on the USAC website. If you have questions or wish to cancel your reservation, please email USACtraining.

SERVICE PROVIDERS: Get Ready for FY2012

Although we are a few months away from the FY2012 application filing window, applicants and service providers should be working on any remaining issues from earlier funding years. Below are some tips for service providers; in last week’s SL News Brief we provided tips for applicants.

File Forms 473 for FY2010 and FY2011 if you have not already done so.

Form 473, Service Provider Annual Certification (SPAC) Form, must be filed each funding year before invoices for that funding year can be paid.

If you have not yet filed this form for one or more funding years, you should do so as soon as possible. If you have more than one Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN), remember that you must file a separate SPAC Form for each SPIN. If you have filed the form but you are not sure if USAC has successfully processed it, search for your SPIN in the SPIN Contact Search tool and review the list of funding years in the “SPAC Filed” (far right-hand) column of the search results.

SPAC Forms must be filed on paper using the version dated April 2007.

Verify that USAC has your current information on Form 498.

Service providers file Form 498, Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) and Contact Information Form, to get a SPIN and to provide USAC with correct contact and remittance information. The original Form 498 must be filed on paper but you can update the form using the E-file System.

It is important to keep the information on this form current.

  • To review the contact information on your Form 498 that is available to applicants, go to the SPIN Contact Search tool.
  • To review other information on the Form 498, you will have to log in to the E-file System with your E-cert ID and password. If you need help, call the USAC Billing, Collections, and Disbursement Department at 1-888-641-8722 (choose the “Form 498” option) for assistance.

Note that in some cases you may have to file a revision to your Form 498 on paper before USAC can issue an E-cert ID and password. Once you are able to log in to the E-file System, your company officer of record can update your information online.

Finish filing Forms 474 (SPIs) for FY2010 recurring services.

The invoicing deadline for FY2010 recurring services is October 28, 2011 – five weeks from today. We generally receive a large number of invoices – both Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form, and Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form – close to the invoicing deadline, which results in longer processing times and may necessitate filing an invoice deadline extension request if an invoice is rejected.

All service providers can file SPI Forms online. Service providers that invoice USAC frequently and would like to file invoices electronically can follow the instructions for setting up e-invoicing. Service providers that file SPI Forms on paper must use the April 2007 version of the form.

Finish approving Forms 472 (BEARs) for FY2010 recurring services.

Whether applicants file BEAR Forms online or on paper, you must approve those forms before USAC can review them. Following are some tips to assist you in the approval process:

  • Tell your customers how long it will take you to review and approve BEAR Forms. Applicants that file BEAR Forms often wait until close to the USAC invoicing deadline to file online or to send paper BEAR Forms to service providers for approval. If you clearly communicate to your customers how much lead time you need to review and approve the forms before the deadline, both you and your customers will have a much better chance of meeting the invoicing deadline and avoid having to request an invoice deadline extension
  • Approve BEAR Forms online. Service providers with an E-cert ID and a password can approve BEAR Forms online. If you don’t know your E-cert ID and password, call the USAC Billing, Collections, and Disbursement Department (see above) for assistance.
  • If you are approving BEAR Forms online, log in to the E-file System once each week to see if any forms are awaiting your approval. USAC sends an email to both the applicant and the service provider when a BEAR Form is filed online, but service providers are not required to wait for an email to arrive before approving a BEAR Form. If you log in to the E-file System once a week, you will be able to review BEAR Forms in a timely manner.
  • If the applicant files on paper, check the footer date on your signature page. If the applicant does not submit all four pages using the April 2007 version of the form, USAC will request a new submission and the processing of the form can be delayed.
  • Use your current contact information and update where necessary. If USAC has questions about your invoice, we will use the contact information on the invoice to get in touch with you. If we can’t get answers to our questions, your invoice may be denied and you will have to resubmit.
  • Don’t file duplicate invoices or line items. First check your customer bills (the bills sent by the service provider to the customer) and any previous invoices so that you invoice USAC only for amounts that have not yet been invoiced.

Check the status of FY2010 non-recurring services.

September 30 following the funding year is generally the deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services. While September 30, 2011 is the deadline for most FY2010 non-recurring services, it can also be the extended deadline for services from other funding years.

Again, here are some tips:

  • Check the expiration date on your contract and, if necessary, (1) work with your customer to extend your contract and (2) ask your customer to notify USAC of the new contract expiration date using a Form 500. USAC will not pay for services delivered after the contract expiration date on file or after the original (or extended) service delivery deadline. Note, however, that if September 30 is your service delivery deadline and you or your customer do not request an extension of this deadline by that date, it will be too late to do so.
  • If September 30, 2011 was the last date to receive non-recurring services, then January 30, 2012 is the last day to invoice USAC for those services. Don’t wait until the last minute to gather customer bills and prepare SPI Forms or approve BEAR Forms.

Verify that your customers have submitted Forms 486 for FY2011.

If an applicant’s FY2011 FCDL is dated on or before July 1, 2011 and the service start date is July 1, the deadline to file Form 486 is October 31, 2011. Applicants that wait until the last minute to file Form 486 may cause delays in processing and review at USAC.

Applicants that wait until the last minute are also likely to get confused by USAC’s Form 486 Reminder Letter. USAC now sends out reminder letters to applicants that miss the Form 486 deadline because they either:

  • fail to file a Form 486 by the deadline, or
  • file a Form 486 online and then fail to certify it by the deadline.

USAC uses (1) the service start date reported in Item 19 of the Form 471 and (2) the FCDL date to determine when a reminder letter should be sent. USAC tries to identify late filers as soon as possible after the calculated Form 486 filing deadline date so that Forms 486 can be filed or certified promptly. This means that applicants that wait until the last minute to file or certify a form will probably receive one of these letters and become concerned that USAC has not received their form or their certification.

Because USAC will not pay invoices until a Form 486 is on file, it is important to check with your customers to make sure that they have filed the form. Once USAC has reviewed and approved the form, USAC will issue a Form 486 Notification Letter to the service provider and the applicant.

Once you have covered or resolved any remaining issues from the current or previous funding years, it will be time to start thinking about FY2012. Future News Briefs will cover the application process from start to finish.