July 1 - February(estimated): File Form 470s
Form 470 is a public request for bids or quotations that are posted on the USAC site. You can file a Form 470 for the upcoming funding year as early as July 1 of the prior funding year.
January - March (estimated): File Form 471s
Form 471 is a request for funding for specific equipment and services at a specific price, based on the outcome of the Form 470 bid process. It cannot be filed until 28 days after the establishing Form 470 has been filed.
April until any time prior to funding notification: Submit RAL (if necessary)
A RAL (Receipt Acknowledgement Letter) lets you modify or cancel a funding request that you made in Form 471. This process is done through EPC. Once you have received an FCDL it is too late to modify the Form 471 request. (Thanks to Julie Tritt Schell of Pennsylvania for providing the information linked above.)
PIA (“Program Integrity Assurance”) reviews are requests for clarification or additional information about Form 471s. In most cases, once you have answered PIA’s questions you will be funded. In some cases, however, your funding request will be denied.
The FCDL (Funding Commitment Decision Letter) is USAC’s official notification that it has, or has not, approved the funding request that you made in your Form 471. If your request is denied, you have the option of filing an appeal within 60 days of receiving the FCDL. If you plan to appeal a decision, we recommend that you contact DPI for guidance before you begin.
July 1 Start of Funding Year
File Form 486 to inform USAC that funded services have begun or funded equipment has been received.
During the Funding Year
File Form 472s (“BEAR forms”), including provider or vendor invoices, to request direct reimbursement from USAC. This can be done at intervals of your choice throughout the funding year, or at the end of the funding year after all services have been received. OR
Ask your vendor or provider to file a Form 474 (“SPI”). They will then send you a discounted bill. Form 474 is the vendor’s request for reimbursement from USAC, to cover the discounted amount of your bill