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UEI Replacing the DUNS in SAMS: What This Means

Reviewed by Ty Crandall

June 14, 2024


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If you’re wondering what this all means, then you’re not alone. What is UEI? Who is SAM? What did they use the D-U-N-S number for, and what are they going to use now instead? 

What is the UEI?

It stands for Universal Entity Identifier. In the past, the federal government used the D-U-N-S number to identify entities in their system. But, that is not the case as of April 4.

The United States Government is changing its means of identifying unique entities. On April 4, 2022, they stopped using D-U-N-S Numbers from Dun & Bradstreet. They are switching to their own identification system. That is, the Unique Entity ID from SAM.gov.

As a result, the government can streamline the entity identification and validation process. If an entity does not already have a D-U-N-S number, they will not have to get one to register on the SAM website. Consequently, it should be easier and less burdensome to do business with the federal government.

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

What Does SAM Do? How Does it Relate to the United States Government?

SAM is the System for Awards Management. To be eligible for federal awards, a business must fill out a form to verify information in the SAM.  In the past, a D-U-N-S number was a necessary part of this process.

What is a D-U-N-S Number?

A D-U-N-S number (or DUNS number) is an identification number used by Dun & Bradstreet. It is assigned by D&B.  Furthermore, it is necessary to be in their system.

For years, the federal government has been using this number for their system as well. Now, they have decided to use their own identifier.

Dun & Bradstreet Isn’t an Official Government Organization

D&B is outside the government. As such, the US government realized it makes no sense to use the Data Universal Numbering System on government official websites. Instead of making D&B a partner, they made the unique entity identifier.

The idea is that this will allow them to better manage government data and organize information on their secure websites.

In short, the US government felt a Dun & Bradstreet number belongs to D&B. It is not an official government number. As such, it has the potential to be less secure. Of the solutions considered, the one chosen and accepted was that they create their own number to be used on government official websites.

How Will Federal Agencies Use This New number?

It will be used the same way the government used the D-U-N-S number. It will identify entities in the system for everything from grants access to submitting for government contracts. 

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

How Do You Get This New Number?

If you register on SAM.gov, then you’ll automatically receive a UEI. If you have not yet submitted your entity registration, then your number will come with your small business entity registration. The process is seamless. You won’t have to request a Unique Entity Identifier like you do a DUNS number.

What is the Start Date for the Transition?

This is effective as of April 4, 2022. If your company is registering in SAM on or after April 4, 2022, you no longer need to get a DUNS number from D&B as part of the registration process. Instead, you will receive a UEI within SAM. So, starting April 4, 2022, your organization will only use the new number in IAE systems. Even though the government will use this new number for their purposes, it is still an important part of the Fundability Foundation™ and Business Credit to have a D-U-N-S number.

Discover our Get Business Credit guide, with everything you need to know about building credit for your business.

Identifying Numbers, Uniqueness, and Fundability 

What does all of this mean for your business? Do you need to take any action? Not really. The new number will be assigned to businesses automatically at registration. Just be sure if you are already registered with SAMS, your information is updated and accurate. 

Since being a part of the D&B system is necessary for Fundability™, you’ll still want to get a D-U-N-S number. You just won’t need to use it to apply for government awards.

There are other factors necessary for a Fundable™ Foundation also. In addition to a D-U-N-S number, you have to have an EIN. You also need a separate bank account. Credit Suite can walk you step by step through the process of building a foundation for your business that will help you get the funding you need to run your business. We can also help you find the funding you need to successfully complete any government contracts you may receive. Find out more today with a free Business Finance Assessment

About the author 

Faith Stewart

Faith has a BBA with a major in Accounting, and a combined 20 years of experience in the fields of finance and account.

Before switching to writing, she spent 10 years working in various areas of small business and personal finance and accounting, including working as a public auditor at BKD, LLP, Financial Director at Central Arkansas Development Council, and Commercial Credit Analyst at Farmer's Bank and Trust.

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