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Financial Shared Services

U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Introduction

These FAQs cover all manner of topics related to preparing your organization and staff for using ezFedGrants, including organization registration; individual accounts, profiles, and roles; submitting and reviewing access requests; and managing user roles and access for members of your organization.

Access Overview

Where is the ezFedGrants External Portal?

The External Portal is available through the Launch ezFedGrants button on the USDA Financial Shared Services ezFedGrants web site.

How do I access the ezFedGrants External Portal?

Refer to the following documents for requirements and instructions on obtaining access to the ezFedGrants External Portal:

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eAuthentication

Why do I need an eAuthentication Account with Verified Identity?

An eAuthentication Account, with Verified Identity, serves as a cybersecurity measure due to ezFedGrants System interaction with USDA financial systems. You will use your eAuthentication Account, (with Verified Identity), username and password to sign into the ezFedGrants External Portal.

How do I get an eAuthentication Account?

Please refer the eAuthentication Account Creation Job Aid for guidance on creating your account and gaining access.

I don't live in the United States, can I still get an eAuthentication Account?

If you have a US Social Security Number (SSN) and sufficient background/identity information, you can complete the Online Identity Verification (OIV). If you are not eligible for the OIV, you must verify your identity by visiting a Local Registration Authority (LRA).

What if I already have an eAuthentication Account?

A standard eAuthentication Account does not gain immediate access to the ezFedGrants External Portal. If you attempt to sign into ezFedGrants and are redirected to the eAuthentication login page, you will need to proceed with the Online Identity Verification quiz or verify your identity at a Local Registration Authority (LRA). Verifying your identity will allow you to gain access to the ezFedGrants External Portal.

How can I check if I already have a Verified Identity account?

You can check if your eAuthentication account is already verified by attempting to log into the ezFedGrants External Portal. If you have a verified account, the ezFedGrants External Portal Home screen page will be displayed. If you do not have a verified account, you will be redirected to the "Verify Identity" screen.

Why do I need to verify my identity?

You must verify your identity in order to fully activate your eAuthentication Account. Identity verification serves to reduce the chance of fraud within USDA financial systems (including ezFedGrants).

What is Online Identity Verification?

The Online Identity Verification (OIV) allows you to certify your identity online by answering a series of questions about yourself (your identity and background).

Does the Online Identity Verification run a credit check?

No. The Online Identity Verification service is provided by Experian, a company that is known as a provider of credit scores and credit reports. Information stored in Experian databases (typically credit-related information) is temporarily used to generate the Online Identity Verification questionnaire. It does not run a credit check, appear on your credit report, or affect your credit score.

Why am I not eligible for the Online Identity Verification?

Online Identity Verification is based on US-based background and identity information stored in Experian databases and requires a US Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not have a US SSN or sufficient US-based background or identity information, you will not be able to verify your identity online. You will need to verify your identity in person by visiting a Local Registration Authority (LRA).

What if I fail the questionnaire?

If you are unable to answer enough questions correctly, you do not meet the Online Identity Verification requirements (described at the beginning of this document), or you do not feel comfortable using the Online Identity Verification tool, you must use the In-Person Identity Verification option. You will be required to verify your identity in person by visiting a Local Registration Authority (LRA).

There is no Local Registration Authority (LRA) near me.

Please attempt the Online Identity Verification (OIV) if there is no Local Registration Authority (LRA) within a reasonable distance of your location. If you are not able to complete the OIV, please contact a USDA representative.

How often do I have to change my password?

Your password does not expire. You may change your password at any time using the self-service Change Password feature.

I have an eAuthentication Verified Account, but I am not able to log-in to the ezFedGrants External Portal.

If you encounter an error message on the eAuthentication page when attempting to log-in to the ezFedGrants External Portal, please contact the eAuthentication Help Desk by selecting the "Contact Us" link at the top of the eAuthentication log-in page.

What if I forgot my password to log into ezFedGrants?

If you forgot your password, you may be prompted to answer several security questions. If you fail to correctly answer the security questions, you will need to create a new eAuthentication account. Refer to the job aid found at the beginning of this page, USDA eAuthentication Account Creation Job Aid for guidance on creating a new account. You will be required to use a unique (new) email address during account creation. Because your ezFedGrants access is tied to the account you are unable to access, your pending work items must be reassigned by a user with the GAO role.

What if I forgot my password to log into ezFedGrants and I am not prompted for answers to security questions?

If you are not prompted to answer a series of security questions, you can reset your password by visiting https://www.eauth.usda.gov/home. Select Manage Account at the top of the page and choose Forgot Password. Please have your registered email account on hand to proceed. If you require additional guidance, please contact the eAuthentication Help Desk at eAuthHelpDesk@ftc.usda.gov or via phone at 1-800-457-3462(option 1). The ezFedGrants Help Desk is unable to reset your eAuthentication password.

Is my eAuthentication Account deactivated if my ezFedGrants access is deactivated?

No. When your ezFedGrants External Portal access is deactivated, your eAuthentication account remains valid. Logging in to ezFedGrants External Portal after your access has been deactivated will only allow you to submit an access request. All other functionalities will be removed.

Do I need to update my eAuthentication profile when I change organizations?

Some information from your eAuthentication profile is tied to the ezFedGrants External Portal. Please ensure your eAuthentication information is up to date.

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Roles

What roles are available in the ezFedGrants External Portal?

The three primary roles are: Grants Administrative Officer (GAO), Grants Processor (GP), and Signatory Official (SO). Users with a primary role can temporarily be assigned to the secondary role of Certifying Official. Definitions and information about the ezFedGrants External Portal user roles may be found in the ezFedGrants External Portal User Roles Quick Reference.

Which primary user role is right for me?

To determine which ezFedGrants user role best aligns with your grants-related occupational responsibilities, review the ezFedGrants External Portal User Roles Quick Reference document and communicate with other members of your organization and USDA agency points of contact.

Can I have more than one role?

Each user can only have one primary role in the ezFedGrants External Portal, but each organization can have multiple users with the same primary role. The primary roles are Grants Administrative Officer (GAO), Grants Processor (GP), and Signatory Official (SO). However, there are two types of secondary (add-on) roles in the ezFedGrants External Portal:

Please refer to the ezFedGrants External Portal User Roles Quick Reference for more information on the various ezFedGrants roles.

Can my organization have multiple GAOs, GPs, or SOs?

Yes. Each individual user can only have one primary role (GAO, GP, or SO), but each organization can have multiple users with the same role (ex. Three GAOs, three GPs, and two SOs).

Please refer to the ezFedGrants External Portal User Roles Quick Reference document for more information on the various ezFedGrants roles.

Can I be the Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) for more than one organization ID (DUNS/CAGE combination) in the ezFedGrants System?

Yes, please refer to the Working with Multiple Organizations in ezFedGrants Quick Reference for instructions.

How do I change roles?

A GAO can change your user role at any time through the Manage Permissions screen. However, all work items and role-related connections to specific applications, agreements, claims, reports, etc. will be severed when your role is changed. For example, if you are a Grants Processor (GP) and create an application, but later your role changes to Signatory Official (SO), you will no longer have the ability to modify the application you created as a GP, because the SO role does not have permission to create or edit applications.

If you are a GAO, another GAO must change your role, because GAOs cannot change their own role.

Are roles assigned by user or by agreement?

ezFedGrants External Portal roles are assigned at the user level. You cannot be a Grants Processor (GP) for one agreement and a Signatory Official (SO) for another. You are either a GP or an SO or a GAO for all applications, agreements, claims, repayments, and reports for your organization(s).

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Organizations

What is the minimum number of users/roles required for an organization to use the ezFedGrants External Portal?

Every organization needs at least two users to fully use the ezFedGrants External Portal. To complete all agreement management tasks in the ezFedGrants External Portal, an organization must have at least one user with the Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) role and at least one user with the Signatory Official (SO) role. Without a Signatory Official, your organization will not be able to submit applications or sign agreement documents through the ezFedGrants External Portal. You will need to complete these actions offline (i.e. via email).

Do not temporarily change users’ roles to meet the SO requirement. When a user’s role is changed from either GAO or Grants Processor (GP) to SO (and vice versa), they will lose any work items assigned to their former role and issues will arise with future role-related responsibilities. For example, once an SO signs an application, they will also need to sign the resulting award agreement document and any future amendment documents. Changing roles will break the link between the SO and the application/agreement.

What is a DUNS number?

A DUNS number is a unique, non-indicative 9-digit identifier that verifies the existence of a business entity. DUNS numbers serve as identifiers for organizations in the ezFedGrants System. DUNS numbers are obtained during registration at SAM.gov. Some organizations may have more than one DUNS number.

DUNS registration is provided by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Inc. During DUNS registration, D&B may collect non-personally identifying information about your organization for the purposes of targeted advertising. Review D&B’s privacy and data policy, including opt-out options.

What is the CRM Organization ID?

The CRM Organization ID is the same as your organization’s USDA Financial Management System (FMMI) vendor code. You can obtain this information by contacting a USDA agency representative.

How do I register my organization?

Please visit SAM.gov to register your organization and obtain a DUNS number. Please check that your organization has not already been registered before beginning the registration process.

I was contacted by a third party regarding fees associated with my organization’s SAM.gov registration or registration maintenance. Is this legitimate?

It is free to register on SAM.gov, and it is free to maintain this registration. Engaging third party services is entirely at the discretion of each individual organization.

My organization has multiple registrations (DUNS numbers, vendor records, etc.)

Organizations with multiple registrations exist as separate vendor records in the ezFedGrants System, because each registration has separate tax, contact, banking, and vendor information, even though they are all under the same parent organization (for example, separate collegiums within a single university).

You can have access for multiple organizations in ezFedGrants, as described in the Working with Multiple Organizations in ezFedGrants Quick Reference.

My organization shares a DUNS with a related, but different, organization. How do we differentiate between the two organizations when applying for a grant?

Your organization may have a unique CRM Organization ID. Please contact a USDA agency representative to confirm your organization’s CRM Organization ID. You can use the CRM Organization ID to locate your organization when submitting an access request.
If your organization does not have a unique CRM Organization ID or vendor record, we strongly recommend obtaining some kind of unique ID (DUNS/CAGE, CRM Organization ID, etc.) for your organization.

How do I change, join, or leave organizations?

To change or leave organizations in ezFedGrants, you must contact a GAO of that organization to deactivate your ezFedGrants access. Once your access is deactivated, you may submit a new access request for the new organization. However, please complete all pending actionable items before your access is deactivated, because any actionable items left unfinished will be lost unless other users have access to those actionable items or they are reassigned by the GAO.

If you are a GAO, another GAO must deactivate your access, because GAOs cannot deactivate their own access.

If you are the only user for an organization, you must contact the ezFedGrants Help Desk to deactivate your access.
To join additional organizations, refer to the Working with Multiple Organizations in ezFedGrants Quick Reference.

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Submitting an Access Request

Why do I need to have an eAuthentication Account and submit an access request?

eAuthentication is used to log-in to the ezFedGrants External Portal, but you must submit an access request in order to link your eAuthentication profile to a specific organization in the ezFedGrants System. This allows you to submit applications, claims, reports, and complete other grants-related activities in the ezFedGrants System as a representative of your organization.

Where do I submit an access request?

Access requests are submitted through the ezFedGrants External Portal. Select the Launch ezFedGrants button on the USDA Financial Shared Services ezFedGrants web site, log in to the ezFedGrants External Portal with your eAuthentication user name and password, and then select the Request Access link.

I do not see the Request Access link.

Some computer displays may collapse the left-side navigational menu. Select the icon in the upper-left corner to expand the navigational menu.
If your navigational menu does not include the Request Access link, but includes other options such as Agreements, Applications, etc. you already have access to the ezFedGrants External Portal. If you need to switch or join more organizations, refer to the Working with Multiple Organizations in ezFedGrants Quick Reference.

How do I submit an access request?

Instructions are provided on the Submit ezFedGrants Access Request Job Aid.

Can I save my access request and complete it later?

Access requests cannot be saved. You must complete all three sections and submit the access request in one session.

Which role should I select?

Please refer to the Roles FAQ section for more information on roles in the ezFedGrants External Portal.

Why do I have to specify an Agency when I select the Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) role on the Access Request?

Once you select the GAO role from the role selection dropdown menu, an additional menu for agency selection will appear. If you are the first ezFedGrants user for your organization, your access request will be reviewed by the selected agency. If your organization already has a GAO, this field will have no impact.

What if I select the wrong role on my Access Request?

Whomever reviews your access request will have the opportunity to change the role assigned to you when approving your request.
If your request is approved with the incorrect role, your role can be modified by any user with the Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) role in your organization. If you have the GAO role, another GAO must modify your role, because GAOs cannot change their own role.

How do I know if I have selected the correct organization(s) for my access request?

When you select an organization from the search results, the Organization Details fields will populate based on your selection. Review the details in these fields, particularly the DUNS number, to ensure they are correct.

If you have selected the wrong organization, select the Remove button and then select the Add Organization button to repeat the organization search.

If you do not know your organization’s details, please contact your organization’s Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) or a USDA agency representative to contact to confirm the correct DUNS number/unique identifiers for your access request.

I cannot find my organization in ezFedGrants even when I search by the DUNS number.

Please contact your USDA Agency point of contact for assistance confirming your organizational registration and details in the ezFedGrants System. Please include your organization’s DUNS, CAGE or other identifiers with your message.

Where are the organization details pulled from?

The organizational information in the ezFedGrants System is based on SAM and/or IRS records. Your organization’s registered title or other information may differ from the common title or information you use day-to-day.

What if I submit my access request with an incorrect organization selected?

If the reviewer knows that you have selected the incorrect organization, they should reject your access request so that you can submit a new request with the correct organization selected. If you selected multiple organizations on your access request, individual organizations can be rejected while other organizations are approved. You can join additional organizations after at least one organization is approved. Refer to the Working with Multiple Organizations in ezFedGrants Quick Reference for more information.

If your request is approved under the incorrect organization, a user with the Grants Administrative Officer (GAO) role for the incorrect organization must deactivate your access. If you are the only user for the incorrect organization, please contact the ezFedGrants Help Desk for assistance in deactivating your access.

Who is my Point of Contact?

For the purposes of the access request, your Point of Contact should be someone (other than yourself) within your organization who can confirm the information provided on your access request, namely your association with the organization and your need for access.

This is typically, but not always, a supervisor. If your organizational occupation reports to high-level management or board members, you may need to provide a colleague or some other point of contact who is involved more directly with your grants-related occupational functions. Your Point of Contact does not need to have access to ezFedGrants.

Where is the Submit button?

The Submit button is only available when viewing the last section of the access request: The Contact Information section.

I received an error message when attempting to submit my access request.

The following are possible error messages that appear when submitting access requests:

Who approves my access request?

If you are the first ezFedGrants user for your organization, your request will be reviewed by a USDA Agency Grants Management Officer (AGMO) from the agency you selected when submitting your access request.

If your organization already has at least one user with ezFedGrants access, your request will be reviewed by your organization’s Grants Administrative Officer (GAO).

How will I know when my request is approved?

Once action is taken on your access request by the reviewer, you will receive an email regarding the reviewer’s decision.

If your request has been approved, you will have access to the full ezFedGrants External Portal, insofar as allowed by the permissions associated with your user role.

Why was my request rejected?

Some common reasons for access request rejections are:

What if my request is rejected?

If you only included one organization on your access request or your request is rejected for all organizations, you will need to submit a new access request. Please contact the individual or agency who reviewed your request for guidance.

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User Profiles

How do I view my user profile?

Select your initials in the top right corner of the ezFedGrants External Portal screen and then select Profile from the dropdown menu.

How do I edit my user profile?

On the User Profile screen, select the Update Profile button. Please refer to the Using ezFedGrants – Your User Profile Job Aid for more information.

When do I need to update my ezFedGrants External Portal profile?

At minimum, update your ezFedGrants External Portal Profile any time your email address or other contact information changes. This information is used by USDA agencies to contact you; therefore, incorrect profile information may prevent or delay delivery of notification emails and other communications.

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GAOs: Reviewing Access Requests

How do I review access requests?

Access request work items are accessed through the Actionable Items section on the ezFedGrants External Portal Home screen. Please refer to the Review ezFedGrants Access Request Job Aid for more information.

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GAOs: Managing Roles and Access

How do I remove a user who is no longer part of my organization?

GAOs can deactivate ezFedGrants External Portal access for users in their organization through the Manage Permissions screen. GAOs cannot deactivate their own access. Please refer to the ezFedGrants Role and Access Management Job Aid for more information.

I am a GAO. Why don’t I see my name on the Manage Permissions screen?

Because GAOs cannot deactivate their own access or change their own role, GAOs will not see themselves on the Manage Permissions screen. Another GAO will be able to see your name on the Manage Permissions screen and deactivate your access or change your role, if necessary.

As a GAO, how do I know if a deactivation or role change was applied?

When you select the Change or Deactivate button, a popup window will appear asking you to confirm your decision. Upon selecting the Ok button, your decision will be applied and the Manage Permissions screen will refresh.

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Last Updated / Reviewed: November 10, 2020