Program Appeals Guidelines
After an appeal is filed with USAC concerning a funding commitment decision, USAC will verify during the appeal review process that the underlying Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) or Post-Commitment review was performed in compliance with program requirements and that the correct decision was achieved. If USAC made an error during the original PIA or Post-Commitment review of the application, USAC will correct the error.
New Documentation Provided
In general, a PIA or Post-Commitment request reviewer will contact the applicant or service provider and ask for all information necessary to make decisions about an application or request. If that contact does not occur, or the applicant or service provider is unable to respond to the request, and a funding or modification request is denied, USAC may grant an appeal when the appellant provides the original documentation during the appeal process.
An applicant files an appeal of USAC’s decision to reduce the funding request amount for a connected device to $400.00 during PIA review to remove the amount that exceeds the cap amount allowed in the ECF program. During the appeal review process, USAC will determine if the proper procedures were followed and whether the applicant was given the opportunity to provide supporting documentation to justify the higher requested amount (i.e., to meet the needs of students, school staff, and library patrons with disabilities that would otherwise not be met with the purchase of a connected device at the $400 reasonable support). If the appeal review process determines that procedures were not followed and the applicant was not given an opportunity to provide that documentation, the applicant will be able to do so before the appeal review process has concluded. USAC will grant the appeal and approve an additional amount based on the supporting documentation provided during the appeal process.
However, USAC will not grant an appeal if the documentation provided during the appeal process contradicts information contained in the original file and the applicant is unable to resolve the discrepancy or the justification provided is not supported by ECF Program rules.
Accepting New Information
USAC will not accept new information on appeal if it is apparent that the documentation submitted is not the original documentation and was created in response to a USAC request during the appeal review process.
USAC also may not accept new information on appeal if it is clear that the applicant was not working with USAC in good faith.
Finally, it is important to understand that USAC can grant an appeal assuming no other issues are identified during the appeal review that would lead to a denial. If, on appeal, the basis for a funding denial is successfully refuted, USAC must examine all remaining aspects of the funding request to ensure that all program rules were met. If another reason for denial is not appealed or the appellant does not present a successful argument to USAC’s original decision, the appeal will be denied. All funding request denial reasons must be overcome on appeal for USAC to fund the Funding Request Number (FRN).
If USAC denies the appeal, the appellant will have 30 days from the date of USAC’s decision letter to file an appeal with the FCC.