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. 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. Once a decision has been made on a USAC appeal, a party may appeal USAC's decision to the FCC.

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 a complete appeal (see "What to Include in an Appeal") within 60 days following the issuance of the decision by USAC; e.g., an audit decision and/or recovery must be appealed within 60 days of the date of the funding commitment decision, recovery decision, notification letter, etc. To allow sufficient time for review, USAC encourages applicants to submit appeals as soon as possible following USAC's decision.

Failure to provide all required documentation within 60 days of USAC's decision will result in dismissal of the appeal. See 47 C.F.R. Section 54.719-54.725 for the FCC's rules on filing an appeal.

What to Include in an Appeal

The following information must be included in a letter of appeal. The more detail you provide in your letter of appeal, the easier it will be for USAC to respond. If USAC is unable to process the appeal because of missing documentation, the appeal may be denied.

  • Applicant or service provider who is filing the appeal (i.e. entity number, 498 ID, etc.);
  • Contact information including name, address, telephone number, and email address of the person who can discuss the appeal with USAC in detail;
  • Provide documentation of USAC's decision (i.e. copy of USAC's decision letter);
  • Include supporting documentation such as forms and previous correspondence;
  • Identify a problem and the reason for its appeal; and
  • Explain precisely the relief sought through this appeal.

High Cost and Lifeline Program carriers should also identify the carrier name, Study Area Code (SAC), and the decision being appealed. Contributors should also identify the Filer ID that is the subject of the 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

The appeal should be filed with the program that made the decision being appealed. Appeals submitted by email will be considered filed on a business day if they are received at any time before 12:00 AM ET.

Program

Via Email

Via U.S. Mail

High Cost Program

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

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

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

Appeals@sl.universalservice.org

Schools and Libraries Program Correspondence Unit
Attn: Letter of Appeal
30 Lanidex Plaza West, PO Box 685
Parsippany, NJ 07054-0685

Contributors

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 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. Appeals to the FCC must be made within 60 days of the issuance of USAC's 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. Instructions for using ECFS can be found on the ECFS Online Manual page of the FCC's website. Electronic appeals will be considered filed on a business day if they are received at any time before 12:00 AM 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 the amount billed for the current month is not paid 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 an error by USAC.

If your debt is under appeal, either at 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.