At the request of both applicants and service providers, the SLD will accept Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Forms for reimbursement on bills that you’ve paid in full through the end of the first program year (June 30, 1999). Previously, the BEAR Form (FCC Form 472) was intended to provide coverage only through Dec. 31, 1998.

For telecommunications services and internet access, the extended BEAR process is available at the option of your service provider. Your vendors can choose whether they want to incorporate discounts into your bills before the end of the first program year, or bill you in full and provide reimbursements using the BEAR process. Consult with your vendors to find out how you should proceed from now until June 30.

For internal connections, the extended BEAR process is available at the applicant’s option. You can choose to pay in full for approved services and then use the BEAR process to seek reimbursement, or you can ask your internal connections providers to incorporate discounts into your bills.

For services delivered, billed, and paid for through Dec. 31, 1998, you should submit your BEAR Form as soon as possible once you’ve gotten your funding commitment letter and you’ve submitted your Form 486 (with Column I of Block 2 marked “yes”) for that service. You can file your BEAR Form and Form 486 at the same time, but don’t file a BEAR Form before you’ve sent in your Form 486.

For services delivered and paid for from Jan. 1, 1999 to June 30, 1999, you have two options: You can choose to submit two quarterly BEAR Forms or one BEAR Form covering the entire six-month period.

Under the quarterly option, you’d submit one BEAR Form by May 15 for services provided, billed, and paid for between Jan. 1 and March 31, and a second BEAR Form by Aug. 15 for services provided, billed, and paid for between April 1 and June 30.

Under the six-month option, you’d submit one BEAR Form by Aug. 15 for all services provided, billed, and paid for between Jan. 1 and June 30.

In either case, all BEAR Forms are due no later than Aug. 15, 1999 for the first program year.

BEAR Form tips

1. The BEAR Form can only be used to request discounts on bills you have actually paid through June 30, 1999, and only up to the dollar amount of your total funding commitment for that particular service.

2. You must complete a separate BEAR Form for each service provider listed on your funding commitment letter.

3. Within each BEAR Form, you should complete only one line of Block 2 for each Funding Request Number (FRN) that you’re seeking reimbursement on. If you’ve received and paid for several months of service for that FRN, you should add those monthly amounts together on one line of Block 2, Column 14, subtract any ineligible costs, then apply your approved discount to arrive at your total in Column 15. Use additional lines of Block 2 only if you have other FRNs associated with the same service provider.

4. Your service provider must sign Block 4 of your BEAR Form, but this signature does not have to be an original. You should complete everything on your BEAR Form except Block 4, make a copy of the whole form, and send a copy to your service provider. Your service provider will sign Block 4 and return it to you to attach to your completed BEAR, which you’ll then submit to the SLD. Don’t submit your BEAR Form without a service provider signature; it will simply be returned to you.

5. Each service provider has designated a BEAR Form contact to handle your paperwork. This is the person you should send your BEAR Form to in order to get your service provider’s signature. For help in finding the right contact, call the SLD’s help line at (888) 203-8100 or use the SPIN/BEAR Contact database on the SLD’s web site:<

6. When the SLD has approved your BEAR Form, it will send you and your service provider a BEAR Notification Letter. The agency will then issue a check to the service provider within 20 days. Within 10 days of receiving the check (but before cashing it), your service provider must provide your reimbursement. If your reimbursement is in the form of a check, it will be sent to the address and contact you listed on your most recently filed Form 486.

7. Your service provider may need additional information from you about your account and the services for which you’ve requested discounts in order to process your reimbursement. Service providers can require you to provide such information; but if they feel you have to complete additional paperwork—as opposed to providing the information verbally—it’s reasonable to expect them to assist you.

You should read carefully the BEAR Form Instructions before completing the form. If you need any additional assistance, call the SLD’s help line at (888) 203-8100.