FCC Form 498 and the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Method, Part 2

FCC Form 498 and BEAR invoicing Part 2If you’ve chosen the BEAR method of invoicing and your FCC Form 498 is approved, you can submit an FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form) to request reimbursement.

Filing tip: One BEAR form per service provider
Only one service provider can be listed on a BEAR Form, so you must file at least one BEAR Form for each service provider you have.  

You can submit BEAR forms however often you want, according to what is most convenient  for you. Some entities choose to invoice monthly, but you can also submit forms quarterly, or once at the end of the funding year. Just make sure to submit the form for reimbursement no later than 120 days after either (1) your services end, or (2) the date on your FCC Form 486 Approval Letter, whichever date is later.

Your E-rate PIN

The BEAR form is not in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) yet, so you will access it using the legacy “Apply Online” system. To use this system, you need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to log in securely.

If you already have a PIN issued by USAC in the past, you can still use it to file BEAR Forms. If you do not have a PIN, call us at (888) 641-8722 and request one.

Each PIN corresponds to a specific to a user and a billed entity number (BEN), so if you file BEAR Forms for more than one billed entity, you must have a PIN for each. 

Start Your BEAR Invoicing Form

You will need these items to log in to the online BEAR:

  • Your billed entity number (BEN)
  • Your E-rate PIN
  • Your email address (associated with your PIN)
  • Your last name

And to submit your form, you will need:

  • Your approved FCC Form 498 ID*
  • Your service provider’s ID number (SPIN)
  • Your contact information
  • Your FCC Form 471 application number and Funding Request Numbers (FRNs)**
  • Your bills (to reference the amount you’ve paid)

*If you have more than one 498 ID, you will need to know which one to use. Your 498 ID is how you select the banking account where USAC will send your reimbursement.
**You can find your FRNs on the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter.

When you have the above items, and completed all the tasks needed before BEAR invoicing begins, you can submit your FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form).

Invoice deadline

The BEAR Form must be submitted no later than 120 days after the last day to receive service, or 120 days after the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter date, whichever date is later.

Form approval and processing

After USAC receives and processes your BEAR Form, they will send you a confirmation letter via U.S. postal mail stating approval of your form and/or any problems. If there are not any issues with your request, USAC will issue your reimbursement to your entity’s bank account.

If there’s an issue, you’ll see an invoice error code to explain what needs to be addressed.  A guide to understand the invoice error codes is on USAC’s website. Once it’s resolved, you can submit the corrected information to USAC. USAC will issue your reimbursement when your form is fully correct and approved.

Next up, we’ll cover the SPI (service provider invoicing) method, in which applicants get discounted bills from their service provider.

Additional Resources

FCC Form 472 Filing

FCC Form 472 Video Tutorial

PIN Guidance

Schools and Libraries News Brief: September 23, 2016 and October 14, 2016

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