RHC Program filing window periods are fixed periods during which all requests received are treated as having been filed simultaneously for purposes of making funding commitment determinations. All qualifying requests (i.e., FCC Forms 462 and 466) submitted by the close of the filing window period are guaranteed to receive at least a percentage of the funding requested. Until now, there has been one filing window period per funding year, March 1 – June 1, and, thereafter, funding requests have been treated on a first-come, first-served basis. Program demand reached an historic high of $377.64M in FY2015, and demand may exceed the $400M funding cap in FY2016 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017). To fairly distribute future RHC Program funding, the FCC and USAC are introducing a filing window period schedule for FY2016 and FY2017.
While these filing window periods will not affect the $400 million cap, they do provide a greater opportunity for HCPs filing within a filing window period to get some support, rather than none at all, even at the point where demand exceeds the cap. Absent such filing window periods, all RHC funding requests would be subject to the "first-come, first-served" approach that is currently in place and, should the $400 million cap be met, subsequently filed HCP requests would be cut off from RHC Program funding. Such a flash cut may be particularly difficult for those RHC participants who have relied on RHC Program funds for many years. With the filing window period approach in place, all qualifying funding requests received within a filing window period are guaranteed some funding even if the $400 million cap is exceeded during the filing window period. In this way, the use of filing window periods facilitates the distribution of future funding in an equitable manner.
The FCC has announced two new filing window periods for FY2016 funding applications (i.e., FCC Forms 462 and 466). The second filing window period for FY2016 will open September 1 and close November 30, 2016. Assuming demand does not exceed the cap during the second filing window period, a third filing window period will be from February 1 through April 30, 2017. We will not accept any funding applications (i.e., FCC Forms 462 and 466) between the second and third filing window periods (December 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017). We will, however, continue to accept all other FCC RHC Program Forms (i.e., FCC Forms 460, 461, 465, 467, 463, and Telecom invoices) and will be processing these forms and funding requests received either during the filing window period or before. All funding requests received during a filing window period are treated as being received at the same time to allow for equitable distribution.
There are two funding scenarios possible for the second filing window period:
The progress toward the annual $400M cap is available on the Funding Information page.
For each discrete filing window period, if the total demand exceeds the total remaining funding available for the funding year, USAC will:
For example, if at the close of a filing window period, $125 million has been requested and there is $100 million remaining in RHC Program support, USAC will calculate the pro-rata factor by dividing $100 million by $125 million to produce a factor of four-fifths (.8). USAC will then multiply the total dollar amount requested by each applicant that filed during the specific filing window period by .8 and commit such reduced dollar amount to each applicant.
Guidelines for submitting Funding Request forms (i.e. FCC Forms 466 and 462):
Eligibility, Request for Services, and Invoicing Forms (i.e., FCC Forms 460, 461, 465, 467, 463, and Telecom invoices):
Funding requests have never exceeded the funding cap, which has allowed us to continue to accept requests through the end of each funding year. Last year, however, we came close to reaching the cap. The addition of Skilled Nursing Facilities as a new eligible entity this year may increase demand even further so we may exceed the $400 million funding cap for FY2016. The best guarantee of receiving funding is to submit your requests during the September 1 – November 30 filing window period.
For more information about filing window periods, please watch the Funding Request Filing Window webinar, embedded below.
In FY2017, there will be an initial filing window period from February 1 – April 30, 2017, prior to the beginning of the funding year. Timing and duration of additional filing window periods will be announced based on an assessment of the total funding requested in the initial filing window period.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact the RHC Help Desk at RHC-Assist@usac.org or (800) 453-1546.