About USAC

Appeals & Audits

Appeals

Any party (including, but not limited to entities filing an FCC Form 499, federal universal service program applicants, and service providers) that wishes to appeal a USAC decision must first file an appeal with USAC to seek review of the USAC decision before filing an appeal with the FCC. Once USAC has made a decision on an appeal, the party may appeal USAC's decision to the FCC.

Parties seeking a waiver of FCC rules (i.e. late payment fees, waiver of form deadlines, etc.) should file an appeal directly with the FCC because USAC cannot waive FCC rules.

Before You Appeal

Contact us. There may be an administrative remedy that does not require a formal appeal decision, such as disputes for invoice rejections.

Filing an Appeal

USAC must receive your appeal (see "What to Include in an Appeal" section below) within 60 days following the date when USAC issued the decision. For example, you must appeal an audit decision and/or recovery within 60 days of the date of the funding commitment decision, recovery decision, notification letter, etc. See 47 C.F.R. Section 54.719 for the FCC's rules on filing an appeal.

What to Include in an Appeal

You must include following information in your letter of appeal:

  • Applicant or service provider who is filing the appeal (i.e. entity number, service provider’s 498 ID (SPIN), etc.)
  • Contact information including name, address, telephone number, and email address of the person who can discuss the appeal with USAC in detail
  • Documentation of USAC's decision (i.e. copy of USAC's decision letter)
  • Supporting documentation such as forms and previous correspondence
  • A precise explanation of the relief sought through this appeal
  • The carrier name and Study Area Code (SAC) (High Cost and Lifeline Program carriers only)
  • The Filer ID that is the subject of the appeal (Contributors only)

If you fail to submit the missing information to USAC within the time prescribed, it may result in the denial of your appeal.

All appellants will receive acknowledgment of the appeal upon receipt. USAC will review all complete appeals and respond with its decision in writing. For further Schools and Libraries Program guidelines, see the SL Program appeals guidelines.

To File an Appeal with USAC

You must file your appeal (or, if submitting by mail, it must be postmarked) within 60 days of the date when USAC issued the decision you are appealing.

Note: If that day falls on a weekend or on a Federal Holiday, the appeal is also considered on time if you file it (or it is postmarked) by the first business day following that weekend or holiday.

Program

Electronically

By U.S. Mail

High Cost Program

File by email to
HCappeals@usac.org

Universal Service Administrative Co.
High Cost Division
Attn: Letter of Appeal
700 12th Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Lifeline Program

File by email to
LIappeals@usac.org

Universal Service Administrative Co.
Lifeline Division
Attn: Letter of Appeal
700 12th Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Rural Health Care Program

File by email to
RHC-appeals@usac.org

Universal Service Administrative Co.
Rural Health Care
Attn: Letter of Appeal
700 12th Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Schools and Libraries Program

File in EPC
See the EPC User Guide: Appeals

File by email to Appeals@sl.universalservice.org

N/A

Contributors

File by email to ContributorAppeals@usac.org

Universal Service Administrative Co.
Billing, Collections, and Disbursements
Attn: Letter of Appeal
700 12th Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

To File an Appeal with the FCC:

Parties that are seeking a waiver of FCC rules or that have filed an appeal with USAC and received a decision may, if they choose, appeal USAC's decision to the FCC. You must submit your appeal to the FCC within 60 days of the date when USAC issued the decision.

On all communications with the FCC, be sure to reference the appropriate Docket No:

  • High Cost Program: WC Docket No. 10-90
  • Lifeline Program: WC Docket No. 11-42
  • Rural Health Care Program: WC Docket No. 02-60
  • Schools and Libraries Program: CC Docket No. 02-6
  • Contributions: WC Docket 06-122
Electronic Delivery

The FCC recommends filing appeals with the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) to ensure timely filing. You can find instructions for using ECFS on the ECFS Online Manual page of the FCC's website. The FCC will consider electronic appeals as filed on a business day if they are received before midnight ET. If you have questions or comments about using the ECFS, please contact the FCC directly at (202) 418-0193 or via email.

For more information about submitting appeals to the FCC, including options to submit the appeal via U.S. mail or hand delivery, visit the FCC's website. See Sections 54.719-54.725 of the FCC's rules for further information regarding filing an appeal.

Paying Invoices During the Appeal Process

If you are a contributor and have a balance on your federal universal service account but are awaiting a decision from a pending USAC or FCC appeal, you are still responsible for keeping your account balance current. If you do not pay the amount billed for the current month in full, you will receive a late payment fee and the late payment fee will not be waived unless the disputed charges are later found to be the result of USAC error.

If your debt is under appeal with USAC or the FCC, and you have provided USAC with a copy of your FCC appeal (if applicable), your outstanding balance will not be transferred under the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-365) and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134), as amended (the DCIA) to the United States Department of Treasury for further collection while your appeal is pending. The disputed debt will not be subject to the Red Light Rule, which is included in the additional collections and disbursements rules associated with the Debt Collection Improvement Act, codified at 47 C.F.R. Parts 0 and 1. (See sections 1.1112, 1.1116, 1.1161, 1.1167, and 1.1910 of the FCC's rules).

However, please be advised that you will continue to receive USAC collection letters while your appeal is pending and, if your appeal is denied, you will be subject to Red Light status and to transfer under the DCIA.