Two Methods of Invoicing
There are two methods, or “modes” of invoicing under the E-Rate Program: Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) and Service Provider Invoicing (SPI). The applicant decides which type of invoicing to use on a particular Funding Request Number (FRN).
The applicant can change the invoicing mode for an FRN before the invoice is submitted for certification. Once an invoice has been submitted for certification, the invoicing mode is set. USAC’s processes block invoices that do not follow the invoicing mode already set for an FRN unless a formal “invoice mode change” is requested and granted.
Applicants are obligated to pay the non-discounted portion of the cost of the eligible equipment and services. USAC may require proof that the applicant has paid the non-discounted portion of the bill before paying an invoice.
Invoicing Method One: FCC Form 472 or Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR)
Applicants file the FCC Form 472 or Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR). Under the BEAR method:
- The applicant pays the service provider in full for eligible equipment and services approved on the FCC Form 471.
- The applicant invoices USAC for the discount portion of the bill.
- USAC reviews the invoice and if approved, pays the applicant directly.
- Billed entities receive payment directly to their bank account.
Applicants must have a 498 ID on file with USAC to receive direct BEAR payments. To obtain an applicant 498 ID, applicants must file the FCC Form 498 (Service Provider and Billed Entity Identification Number and General Contact Information Form) in the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC).
Invoicing Method Two: FCC Form 474 or Service Provider (SPI) Invoicing
Service providers file the FCC Form 474 or Service Provider Invoice (SPI) form after billing the applicant for the non-discounted amount (the non-discounted amount is the applicant’s financial responsibility). Service providers are reimbursed by USAC for the discounted amount. Under the SPI method:
- Applicants are billed by the service provider for the cost of the non-discounted portion of the eligible equipment and services listed on the SPI form. Applicants do not pay the service provider for the discounted portion invoiced to USAC.
- After the provider has billed the applicant, the provider submits an SPI form for the discounted amount.
- USAC reviews the invoice and pays the service provider if payment is approved.