About USAC

Appeals & Audits

PQA Program

The Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) Program allows USAC to provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with information about improper payments to program beneficiaries, as required by the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA) and the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA). Under this program, USAC assesses specific payments made to select beneficiaries in all four programs to determine if these payments were made in accordance with FCC rules. Using results of these assessments, USAC calculates estimates of improper payment rates and provides this information to the FCC.

Pursuant to FCC rules, participation in the PQA Program is compulsory for any universal service beneficiaries selected for assessment.

The Process

When selected, PQA participants receive a letter by email from USAC. This letter will specify the payment under assessment, instructions about what information and documents to gather, and how to submit these materials.

Beneficiaries have 10 business days from the date of the first notification letter to gather and submit the materials requested for carrying out the payment assessment. The time required to produce documents will vary, depending on the volume, complexity, and accessibility of documents requested.

RHC Program or SL Program Participants

PQA participants from the Rural Health Care and Schools and Libraries programs will have to submit formal confirmation that they have received and utilized goods and/or services associated with the payment being assessed as well as their eligibility under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules for such receipt and use.

Follow Up

In some cases, USAC will use audit follow-up procedures defined by the Office of Management and Budget to recover funds that are identified as improper payments. PQA processors are available by phone to assist participants with understanding and fulfilling program requirements. A unique case number assigned by USAC is also included in the letter for you to associate all documents and communications related to the assessment.