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SSBG IM 02-2009 Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 SSBG Supplemental Appropriation of Disaster Assistance Funds Awarded in FY 2009

Published: January 6, 2009
Audience:
Social Services Block Grants (SSBG)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)

SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK
GRANT PROGRAM

  Information Memorandum
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of State Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington , D.C. 20447
 

 


Transmittal No.  02-2009                                                       Date:  January 6, 2009 

 


TO: Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) State Officials and State Program Contacts
SUBJECT: Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 SSBG Supplemental Appropriation of Disaster Assistance Funds Awarded in FY 2009
PURPOSE: To share with States the allocation methodology on distribution of funds, reporting requirements and allowable activities for FY 2008 SSBG Supplemental Funds Awarded in FY 2009.


Background
The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, [Public Law (P.L.) 110-329] was signed into law on September 30, 2008, providing $600 million in additional funds to the SSBG program (“SSBG Supplemental Funds”) to address necessary expenses resulting from hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008 for which the President declared a major disaster, and from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including social, health, and mental health services for individuals, and for repair, renovation and construction of health facilities, including mental health facilities, child care centers, and other social services facilities.

Distribution of Funds to States
Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 SSBG Supplemental Funds awarded in FY 2009 are only available to those States directly affected by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring between January 1, 2008, and September 30, 2008 (the date of enactment for the law authorizing funds), or Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Disasters qualifying for SSBG Supplemental Funds (“qualifying disasters”) are Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as those that the President declared a major disaster under Title IV of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974, that occurred within the specified timeframe, and for which FEMA Individual Assistance was authorized. Nineteen States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico were directly affected by qualifying disasters in 2008 and will receive $450 million while States directly affected by the lasting effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will receive $150 million. In total, 20 States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will be allocated a portion of the $600 million supplemental contingency release. The share for these funds is based on the following distribution approach:

$450 million based on Calendar Year (CY) 2008 Disasters – 75%
$225 million – 37.5% (FEMA Individual Assistance registrants in CY 2008)
$225 million – 37.5% (Population of States with declared disasters; July 2007 American Community Survey, Census Bureau)
$150 million based on Hurricanes Katrina/Rita – 25%
$75 million – 12.5% (Katrina/Rita Individual Assistance registrants since 2005)
$75 million – 12.5% (Population of Katrina/Rita States; July 2007 American Community Survey, Census Bureau)
The SSBG Supplemental law appropriates funds to address the “necessary expenses resulting from hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008 for which the President declared a major disaster ..., and from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” and requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to distribute funding “to eligible States based on demonstrated need in accordance with objective criteria that are made available to the public.” 

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast and created the need for social services across the country as States rushed to aid those affected.  In the aftermath of those storms, $550 million in SSBG Supplemental funding was distributed to all States to address the resulting social services and reconstruction needs.  In 2008, several more devastating hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast and the Midwest was inundated with severe flooding.  Additionally, several States directly affected by the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita continued to feel the lasting effect of those storms.  In response, Congress appropriated an additional $600 million in supplemental SSBG funds that, like the funding provided after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were intended to address social services and reconstruction needs.  After due consideration of the demonstrated needs of States directly affected by major disasters occurring in 2008 or the lasting effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, HHS selected an allocation methodology that provides three-fourths of the 2009 SSBG Supplemental funding to States directly affected by major disasters occurring in 2008 and one-fourth to States for continuing social services and rebuilding needs resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.   

The formula for the SSBG Supplemental takes into account the population and size of a State as well as the level of intensity of the disasters. Funds for regular grant awards are allocated under the SSBG in proportion to each State’s population.  HHS used the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Registrant Application Current Location by State Report Individual Assistance data, and the Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey State population data of the States affected by the major disasters as resources. FEMA Individual Assistance registrant data was selected for several reasons.  First, there was precedent in using Individual Assistance data in the allocation of the SSBG emergency supplemental grants related to hurricanes in 2005.  Moreover, FEMA Individual Assistance data serve as a proxy for “demonstrated need” for making funds available, as required by statute. Individual Assistance is money or direct assistance to individuals, families and businesses in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.  The FEMA Individual Assistance data is collected consistently nationwide, is tied to specific declared disasters by State and is aggregated using individual households that have declared a loss associated with the disaster and who have registered for assistance. HHS determined that this data resource, together with the Census population data, served as the most prudent resources for allotments for providing disaster assistance to the States for assistance and rebuilding efforts in affected areas.

Allowable Activities
SSBG Supplemental Funds may also be used to address social and health services (including mental health services) for individuals, and for repair, renovation or construction of health care facilities, mental health facilities, child care centers and other social services facilities affected by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008 for which the President declared a major disaster, and from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
 
Use of SSBG Supplemental Funds is available for services that fall within the goals of the SSBG program and services. The law governing the block grant program, Title XX of the Social Security Act, as amended [42 U.S.C. 1397], stipulates that States should direct services to five social services goals:

Achieving or maintaining economic self-support to prevent, reduce, or eliminate dependency;
Achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency, including reduction or prevention of dependency;
Preventing or remedying neglect, abuse, or exploitation of children and adults unable to protect their own interests, or preserving, rehabilitating, or reuniting families;
Preventing or reducing inappropriate institutional care by providing for community-based care, home-based care, or other forms of less intensive care; and
Securing referral or admission for institutional care when other forms of care are not appropriate, or providing services to individuals in institutions.
States must request a waiver from the Department for construction purposes beyond those prescribed in the “Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009,” Public Law 110-329.  

If a State undertakes renovations or repairs to a property that cost more than the lesser of $150,000 or 25 percent of the approved project budget, a Notice of Federal Interest (NFI) with the appropriate governing agency for property records must be filed. Renovation costs that fall below this threshold are not covered by the requirement. A NFI must be filed for all real property purchases and new construction regardless of dollar level.

Other Related Information Regarding SSBG Supplemental Use of Funds

Information Memorandum (IM) 02-2007: SSBG Supplemental Funds. IM 02-2007 provides guidance regarding Notice of Federal Interest (NFI) policy; waivers, protection and disposition of real property; and general questions and answers with respect to the NFI.  IM 2007-02 is available on the Office of Community Services (OCS) website at

Information Memorandum (IM) 01-2006 - Use of SSBG Supplemental Emergency Funds for Construction.  IM 01-2006 provides guidance regarding use of funds for renovation or construction.  IM 01-2006 is available on the OCS website.

Reporting Requirements
States that receive these SSBG Supplemental funds are required to submit an amendment to their FY 2009 pre-expenditure report (intended use plan) regarding the use of the SSBG Supplemental Funds. The deadline for submission of the amendment is within 30 days of receiving funds.  This requirement is in accordance with Section 2004 of Title XX of the Social Security Act [42U.S.C.1397c] which governs reporting requirements for the SSBG program, and requires updates for substantial changes in activities supported.

States receiving SSBG Supplemental Funds are also required to submit a post-expenditure report for the annual SSBG funding and a separate report for the SSBG Supplemental. Due to the unique nature of the SSBG Supplemental, some of the construction activities and health services may not fit the State's definition of services or the Uniform Definition of Services provided by HHS. In such cases, the States are advised to note the activity or service as "Other Services" and differentiate between construction costs, health care or mental health costs and include details in the SSBG Supplemental post-expenditure report using the definition provided below.

States are reminded to track SSBG Supplemental Fund expenditures separately from the annual SSBG allotments and submit expenditure data for Supplemental funds using the required OMB No.: 0970-0234 form.  In cases where no fit is possible between the State-defined services and the Uniform Definitions of Services, States are advised to note expenditures using item 29, "other services."  States should clearly define all expenditures noted under "other services," including construction, health care and mental health services. 

Definitions for construction services should include the type of construction service (e.g. repair and/or renovation) as well as the number and type of facilities (e.g. health and/or mental health) for which Supplemental funds were used.   Health care and mental health services should include the types of activities (or services) supported, and the categories or characteristics of individuals served (such as children, adults 59 and younger, adults 60 and older) (42 U.S.C. 1397c). 

Obligating and Expending Funds
By September 30, 2010, States must obligate and expend the SSBG Supplemental Funds made available by the disaster assistance law enacted on September 30, 2008.  A State has 90 days – the time at which final reports are due to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – to pay for expenditures incurred through September 30, 2010.  As such, a State may pay for the services completed through September 30, 2010 up to December 30, 2010 when the final report is due to the HHS Office of Grants Management. 

Unobligated or unexpended SSBG Supplemental Funds must be reported on the Federal Financial Status Report form, SF-269.  In addition to the SF-269, States must return the remaining balance of these funds to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Payment Management  According to 45 CFR  Part 92.50(d)(2), “The grantee must immediately return to the Federal agency any balance of unobligated (unencumbered) cash advanced that is not authorized to be retained for use on other grants.”

Questions pertaining to the return of SSBG Supplemental Funds to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be directed to:

HHS Division of Payment Management
P.O. Box 6021
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (877) 614-5533

Questions regarding the fiscal reporting on SSBG Supplemental Funds, and the SF 269, should be directed to:

Ms. Lydia Peele
Office of Mandatory Grants
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W., 6th Floor East
Washington, D.C.  20447
Telephone: (202) 401-6493
Email: lydia.peele@acf.hhs.gov

Program questions regarding SSBG Supplemental Funds should be directed to:

Ms. Marsha Werner
Social Services Program Specialist
Office of Community Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20447
Telephone: (202) 401-5281
Fax: (202) 401-5718
Email: Marsha.Werner@acf.hhs.gov

or

Ms. Latasha Abney
Social Services Program Specialist
Office of Community Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20447
Telephone: (202) 401-5324
Fax: (202) 401-5718
Email: Latasha.Abney@acf.hhs.gov

                                                                                                __________________________
                                                                                                Yolanda J. Butler, Ph.D.
                                                                                                Acting Director
                                                                                                Office of Community Services