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 Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019 (PIIA). 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 the 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. PQA participants should reach out to USAC’s PQA Team if they have any questions.
The PQA 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.
- High Cost Program PQA Document List
- Lifeline Program PQA Document List
- Rural Health Care (RHC) Program PQA Document List
- E-Rate Program PQA Document List
RHC Program or E-Rate Program Participants
PQA participants from the RHC and E-Rate programs will have to submit formal confirmation that they have received and utilized goods and/or services associated with the assessed payment as well as their eligibility under FCC rules for such receipt and use.
In some cases, USAC will use audit follow-up procedures defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to recover funds identified as improper payments. PQA compliance analysts are available by phone or email to assist participants seeking to understand and fulfill 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. PQA participants should reach out to USAC’s PQA Team if they have any questions.