Training & FAQs
Welcome to the RWA Training and Frequently Asked Questions Page. The materials included on this page are aimed for all individuals that handle, process, or authorize RWAs with PBS on behalf of their agency. All of these materials are considered "self-service" in that they can be reviewed at any time at your own pace. However, should a customer request onsite training, PBS can customize training to address key customer issues. Please contact us at AskRWA@gsa.gov to discuss your needs.
This Introduction to Reimbursable Services training is available to both GSA employees and external customers in an effort to impart the same basic level of knowledge, understanding, and common language surrounding the Reimbursable Services Program. It provides information on RWA basics, outlines the RWA management process from receipt of RWA to closeout, and issues guidance on following Federal Fiscal Law and GSA Policy.
Level I Training - Introduction to Reimbursable Services (updated 4/26/2016) [PDF - 1.91MB]
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below you will find FAQs pertaining to RWAs. In order to best navigate the site, please click on the tab which you believe your question might fall under and search the page for a particular question or topic. If you have any further questions or comments please feel free to contact us at AskRWA@gsa.gov.
eRETA & Customer Letters
General Questions on Standard Customer Letters
Four of the customer letters are required for nonrecurring RWAs for Federal Customers (A, B, F, and N Type RWAs), with the exception of F-types which do not require a completion letter. The Follow-Up Letter and Cancellation Letter are both optional for all RWA Types.
Yes, the signed RWA must be scanned and uploaded to be sent electronically from system with the Acceptance Letter.
These letters are official RWA correspondence generated by PBS’s official RWA system, RETA. They are not signed by PBS, but are intended to communicate with the customer at important trigger points throughout the project.
PBS requires customer letters be sent to all contacts (PBS and Customer) listed on the RWA. Additionally, PBS may add anyone else identified as being involved with the project.
No. There is not a standard reason why RWAs are rejected. PBS should be reaching out to the customer to explain why the RWA is not being accepted and assist them with updating the RWA for consideration of acceptance if possible. Starting in mid-FY2016 and beyond, the deployment of eRETA 8.0 functionality will allow customers to initiate work requests or amendments directly in RETA/eRETA. PBS can “reject” such requests online and automated communications will be sent back to the customer informing them of the rejection.
Yes. The Receipt Letter and Acceptance Letters are sent specifically for the amendment that changes the authorized amount and/or the Description of Requirements. Administrative amendments would not require a new Receipt and/or Acceptance Letter as they can be made without a newly signed RWA 2957 Form. The Completion Letter and Closeout Letter are sent for the overall RWA.
The requirement is for the letter to be uploaded to RETA if it is sent from outside the system itself, though the preference remains to utilize RETA to create and send the letters whenever possible.
Yes. Receipt is not acceptance; it is simply an acknowledgement that PBS has received the customer’s request. It does not commit PBS to anything other than reviewing the RWA.
Any POCs listed on the RWA Form 2957 (3 customer POC fields and 2 GSA POC fields). Also, anyone within GSA identified at the time as being involved with the project because additional email addresses may be added.
Yes. The Receipt Letter is also known as The Acknowledgement of Receipt Letter.
Currently, PBS does not specify a timeframe, although timely communication is encouraged and further reinforced through evolving metrics and measures.
Yes. With eRETA 8.0 a work request number will be issued once the customer agency submits a work request electronically. That work request number will eventually become the RWA number as well. The exception is for A- or B-type RWAs where that number will differ from the original eRETA generated work request number as A- and B-type RWA numbers are ultimately the ASID number generated in IRIS for split-funded projects.
PBS does not send the RWA number with the Receipt Letter to avoid confusion for when the customer should obligate funding. The RWA number at acceptance solidifies that PBS has accepted the RWA.
Yes, however it is not necessary to send a Receipt Letter for administrative amendments. Only when a new RWA 2957 Form needs to be signed (change in authorized amount or change in scope) should a new Receipt Letter be generated and sent to the customer.
The Receipt Letter is simply an acknowledgement that PBS has received the customer’s request. The Acceptance Letter communicates PBS’s acceptance of the RWA, signaling the project initiation of the RWA, and it is when customer agencies should obligate the funding associated with the RWA. It is important to remember customer agencies should only obligate once the agency receives the Acceptance Letter from PBS.
Must be within 5 business days of when PBS signs and accepts the RWA.
No, PBS must upload and send the signed version with the Acceptance Letter.
The Follow-Up Letter is used when no activity has been performed on an RWA and PBS is not able to move forward on a project until the customer responds with information. PBS uses the Follow-Up Letter when normal communication lines have not proven successful in removing whatever obstacle is preventing the project from moving forward. The concern necessitating the Follow-Up Letter is PBS’s burden of delivering the project scope within a reasonable timeframe. Further delay could result in the closure of the RWA, and need for additional funding when/if the issue(s) preventing the continuation of the project is provided.
De-obligation should NOT occur until the customer receives the Closeout Letter, which comes AFTER the Completion Letter and identifies financial closeout.
F Type RWAs do not require a Completion Letter, but they do require the use of the Closeout Letter.
The customer should follow the instructions included in the Closeout Letter. Receipt of this letter indicates the customer may de-obligate the amount identified for de-obligation on the Closeout Letter.
Year-End Customer Letters
PBS makes every effort to send the year-end letters to customer agencies in the second quarter of each year, and posts them online at www.gsa.gov/rwa. The year-end letters are directly emailed to all customer agencies and should not be confused with individual customer letters generated in RETA for each RWA.
In the Policy and Guidance section on the external RWA website: www.gsa.gov/rwa
These are hard deadlines and the regions should plan according to their resources and workload. DoD is typically in June and all other customer agencies and the Judiciary are typically the end of August.
Yes, these are specific dates customer agencies need to be aware of. The risk for the customer is if PBS does not receive RWAs by the year-end letter date, PBS will reject the RWAs and request they be provided in the following fiscal year should the bona fide need still exist.
Yes. The year-end letters only speak from a time perspective as to consideration and do not make any acceptance guarantees.
External RWA Entry and Tracking Application.
RETA is used internally by GSA associates. eRETA is a customer-facing version for RWA customer agencies. Customer agencies have access to view and edit Work Requests and RWAs associated with Agency Bureau Code(s) their user ID has access to. GSA RETA users have access to all Work Requests and RWAs within their own region (regardless of Agency Bureau Code).
Yes, go to www.gsa.gov/ereta and scroll to the section labeled "eRETA Resources."
Yes, the “RWA Search” and Summary screens have summary level financial information about the RWA. The “Financial Review” section includes a more detailed breakdown of financial activity against the RWA.
Work requests initiated by the customer electronically in eRETA will be visible at all times after it is saved, routed to GSA, and on to become an eventual RWA. Work requests or RWAs submitted to GSA outside of eRETA will not be visible to customers in eRETA until GSA has entered them into RETA.
The balance can be found on the RWA Summary screen, on the Financial Review summary, and even the Documentation Summary of any RWA.
The Closeout Letter date reflects the timing of the most recent Closeout Letter, either generated in RETA or manually uploaded into RETA and sent to the customer by GSA.
All eRETA questions may be directed to email@example.com.
Contact the National Application Helpdesk (NAH) at COPBSApp@gsa.gov or at 866.367.7878
Contact these offices in the following order: (1) Follow up with your home agency Personnel Security Office (or HR Office) to verify if your Form was successfully submitted to GSA's Personnel Security Office. (2) Follow up with the GSA Personnel Security at GSA.SecurityOffice@gsa.gov to verify your application status. (3) Lastly, if necessary email eRETA@gsa.gov to look into the request further - please do NOT send a copy of your Form to eRETA@gsa.gov as it contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Make sure the following actions have taken place (in this order): (1) Did you follow all the instructions in the eRETA Welcome Email from COPBSApp@gsa.gov, most importantly completing the "eRETA User Account Validation From (Step 3 of 3)" online? If not complete this online form, or contact eRETA@gsa.gov if you cannot locate your Welcome Email. (2) Has it been 72 hours since you completed the "eRETA User Account Validation Form (Step 3 of 3)"? If not, please wait at least 72 hours before contacting eRETA@gsa.gov. (3) Contact eRETA@gsa.gov if the previous two conditions have been met.
Email eRETA@gsa.gov to provide your former email address/user log-in name and indicate you've changed agencies. GSA is required to remove access under your old account. Next, follow Steps 1-3 above in the "eRETA User Account Request Process" to request a new user ID with your new email address and access to new ABC(s) under your new agency.
“GSA Order CIO P 2181.1” dated 10/20/2008 drives this requirement. More specifically Chapter 1, Section 2 states: "HSPD-12 requires all Federal Executive departments and agencies to conduct personnel investigations, adjudicate the results, and issue identity credentials to all Federal employees and contractors who require routine access to their building facilities and information technology (IT) systems." Since granting access to eRETA falls under the umbrella of granting access to GSA IT Systems, it falls under the HSPD-12 purview. Since GSA does NOT have access to the background check/clearance of associates in other agencies, the one page “eRETA Application Clearance Verification Form” is effectively an abbreviated HSPD-12 background clearance to confirm that the requestor has an approved HSPD-12 clearance on file with his/her home agency. The “GSA Order CIO P 2181.1” outlines the procedures for granting logical access to GSA IT Systems in Chapter 6 - Chapter 6 of the CIO policy is provided below for your reference. GSA Order CIO P 2181.1 - Chapter 6
Yes. GSA strongly encourages you and/or your Personnel Security Office (or HR Office) contact the GSA Personnel Security at GSA.SecurityOffice@gsa.gov to ask any questions about the process. Please remember the “eRETA Application Clearance Verification Form” is only handled by you, your Personnel Security/HR office, and the GSA Personnel Security Office – all groups that are cleared to handle government employee and contractor PII. This information is not shared with the eRETA business line owners nor any other GSA associates outside of GSA Personnel Security. The email address and the fax number provided on the “eRETA Application Clearance Verification Form” are secure connections to transmit this information.
GSA is in the process of reviewing how to handle users that fall into these categories. At the moment “GSA Order CIO P 2181.1” dated 10/20/2008 only recognizes those with HSPD-12 clearances.
“GSA Order CIO P 2181.1” applies to ALL GSA IT applications where user access must be requested and granted. As such, all existing applications that may have once had fewer requirements to gain access are being revamped to comply with “GSA Order CIO P 2181.1.” New users requesting access to eLease, Del-eGate, or any other GSA system or application today, are asked to follow the same procedures outlined above.
Yes. eRETA provides global project and financial information on individual Reimbursable Work Authorization (RWA) projects. eRETA also includes a document storage tool that includes copies of signed RWA forms, estimates, customer letters, other customer communications, and much more. VCSS is a complementary application to eRETA and specifically provides access to bills and billing data for not only RWAs, but all GSA business lines. For more information on VCSS, please go to vcss.gsa.gov.
Not at this time. To gain access to eRETA, please follow the three-step process outlined above. To gain access to VCSS, visit vcss.gsa.gov and click on the "Registrations & Access Requests" button.
Self-service training and reference materials are available by clicking the "Training" tab at vcss.gsa.gov. Training tutorials as well as sample copies of new IPAC and non-IPAC billing statements are available here. Also, VCSS is part of a larger GSA initiative to consolidate all billing functions for all GSA business lines into a single billing system. The project known as Pegasys has valuable information, FAQs, and other materials at http://pegasys.gsa.gov/index.htm.