On April 4, 2022, the federal government stopped using the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number to uniquely identify entities including cities, towns and villages. As a replacement for the DUNS number, the federal government created the Unique Entity ID (UEI) to be used with SAM.gov. The UEI is now the official identifier number that local governments will need to retrieve in order to receive and apply for funds from the federal government.
How Does My Municipality Get a UEI number?
If your city, town or village was registered with SAM.gov before April, an UEI number has already been assigned and is viewable at SAM.gov. If your municipality does not have a UEI number yet, U.S. agencies are encouraging entities to apply for an UEI number immediately in order to be able to apply for grants.
The National League of Cities (NLC) has been working side-by-side with state league partners to ensure that cities, towns and villages are able to navigate the new system and get their UEI’s in place before applying for or receiving federal financial assistance.
Additionally, NLC is working closely with the U.S. General Services Administration, the agency that oversees SAM.gov and the assignment of UEI numbers, to ensure questions and concerns about the system are answered. NLC will remain in contact with the U.S. General Services Administration on behalf of cities, towns and villages regarding this matter.
How Do I Validate My Municipality’s “Start Year”?
The most common question NLC has received deals with municipalities that need to provide further documentation to SAM.gov related to their date of incorporation. When registering for a UEI, SAM.gov might ask for the start year of a local government. If this happens, a municipality must provide documentation demonstrating when the entity was founded. We have heard from municipalities that they have been required to upload documents such as articles or certificates of incorporation into SAM.gov as part of the validation process.
As you can imagine, tracking down the original articles/certificate of incorporation for a municipality founded over 100 years ago or longer can be a challenge. After hearing these member concerns amplified from NLC, the U.S. General Services Administration responded by providing a “streamlined process” to help cities, towns and villages. According to the General Services Administration,
“If the entity name and physical address have not changed since the last renewal and the registration is still active, there is an available option to select, ‘I affirm this is my entity’s current, correct legal business name and address’ on the incident form. This allows the user to be able to proceed with renewing their registration. To be clear, the user will still need to attach documentation that proves the current, correct business information.”
In short, the original articles/certificate of incorporation can be supplemented by affirming the entity has a correct business name and address.
What if My Municipality Does Not Have a Physical Address?
Another challenge NLC has raised to the General Services Administration is that some smaller municipalities do not have town halls or physical addresses for their city offices. Instead, many smaller local governments use P.O. Boxes for transacting government business. NLC has advocated to the General Services Administration that they should make an exception for smaller towns that conduct their government business through a P.O. Box, but we have so far the GSA has been non-responsive in granting this request.
What if I Have Further Questions About the UEI System?
These are a few of the challenges that NLC has advocated on behalf of members to the General Services Administration. If your municipality is having trouble with the new UEI system or having difficulties registering for a UEI number, please send an email to email@example.com, and NLC will continue to uplift these matters to the General Services Administration to provide assistance.