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LIHEAP AT 2013-5 Application Requirements for FY 2014

Published: August 26, 2013
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Action Transmittal

Transmittal No. LIHEAP-AT-2013-05                                                Date: August 23, 2013
 

TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES

GUIDANCE             __X___STATES
INTENDED FOR:    __X___TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
                               __X___TERRITORIES

SUBJECT: LIHEAP Application Requirements for FY 2014 and Deadline for All Applications of September 1, 2013

RELATED         The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act, Title XXVI of the
REFERENCES: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, (Public Law 97-35), as amended; LIHEAP-IM-2013-01 dated April 4, 2013 (Model Plan Application for LIHEAP Funding for Fiscal Year 2014); OMB Approval Number 0970-0075, approved for LIHEAP use through April 30, 2014.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this memorandum is to remind grantees of the application requirements for the funding period beginning October 1, 2013 for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 LIHEAP program and to remind all grantees that their LIHEAP applications for the FY 2014 funding period are due September 1, 2013.

CONTENT: The LIHEAP application requirements for the FY 2013 funding period were described in LIHEAP-IM-2013-01, dated April 4, 2013. That Information Memorandum also included copies of both the Detailed and Abbreviated Model Plans, along with a chart showing which grantees must submit detailed applications this year. Grantees are reminded that a complete plan must include a Program Integrity Assessment, as outlined in LIHEAP-IM-2013-01. FY 2014 LIHEAP plans will not be considered “complete”—and funding will be delayed—until a complete Program Integrity Assessment is submitted.

Grantees must submit a “Detailed application” every three years or sooner if they are making major changes to their LIHEAP programs. Since most grantees do not substantially change their programs in a typical two- to three-year period, this frequency will assure that we have a full description of basic Plan elements. As part of the Detailed application, a full description of how grantees will carry out all of the assurances specified in the statute and the other program-specific information required in Section 2605(c) of the statute must be submitted.

One-third of current grantees must submit Detailed applications for FY 2014 while the remaining two-thirds will have the option of filing an Abbreviated application for FY 2014. Grantees that submit an Abbreviated application for FY 2014 will be required to submit a Detailed application for FY 2015 or FY 2016. Attached is a schedule specifying which grantees are required to file Detailed applications in FY 2014 and FY 2015 (See Attachment 2).

Tribes and Territories that were not grantees in the fiscal year immediately prior to the fiscal year for which application is being made must file a Detailed application. Otherwise, filing an Abbreviated application is optional; a grantee that wishes to do so may file a Detailed application in any year. In some cases, Tribes and States are not on the same 3-year cycle if a Tribe applied with a Detailed Plan during a year in which the State submitted an Abbreviated Plan.

We wish to remind grantees that they must submit an application each fiscal year in order to receive LIHEAP funds. Indian Tribes and tribal organizations must submit their applications by September 1, 2013, unless the State(s) in which the Tribe or organization is located agrees to a later submission date. A Final Rule published on October 15, 1999 in the Federal Register (64 FR 55843) states in 45 C.F.R. § 96.10(c)(2) that applications from States and Territories must also be submitted by September 1 unless the Department agrees to a later date.

States and Territories that will not be able to meet the deadline for submitting FY 2014 applications should write to this office as soon as possible at the address at the end of this transmittal. The letter should state the reason(s) that the deadline cannot be met and a projected date for submission.

The final rule also establishes a deadline for the submission of all information required to complete the LIHEAP application by Tribes, States and Territories. All information requested by this office in order to make a grantee's application complete must be submitted by December 15 of the fiscal year for which funds are being requested, unless the State(s) in which a Tribe is located (in the case of tribal grantees) or the Department (in the case of States and Territories) agrees to a later date.

Early receipt and processing of your application also will facilitate your ability to meet the statutory requirement to obligate at least 90 percent of your funds in the fiscal year in which they are appropriated. Therefore, we strongly encourage early submission of completed applications. Applications will be reviewed in the order in which they are received, and thus early receipt will greatly increase our ability to approve applications by the time funding is released.

The Cash Management Improvement Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-453, as amended by Public Law 102-589), is in effect. This statute, which covers States and Territories but not Tribes, imposes a requirement for timely transfers of funds between Federal agencies and States. The Department of the Treasury has issued a Final Rule (57 FR 60676-60684, published December 21, 1992) implementing the statute, which affects the LIHEAP program. The receipt of a grantee’s application several weeks before the grantee intends to draw funds from the Payment Management System will allow us to comply with the intent of this Act and its implementing regulations.

All necessary information must be included in the application before it can be accepted as complete and we can issue a grant. When we have to ask for additional information, grantees may not receive the grant award on the schedule they had planned.

Please note that the signature requirements and requirements for public participation in developing the application (plus a public hearing requirement for States) apply to Abbreviated as well as Detailed applications. In providing the opportunity for public participation, grantees that will file an Abbreviated Plan should also make the most recent Detailed application available for public review. Further, the Program Integrity Assessment should be included for public review and comment.

Use of the Model Plan format continues to be optional. To assist grantees that choose not to use the Model Plan format, we have attached reminders of the elements necessary for a complete application (Attachment 1).

This Model Plan may be downloaded from the “Forms” section of the Federal LIHEAP website at:
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/resource/funding-applications

Required Household Report
As part of their annual LIHEAP grant applications, grantees are required to report data on households that applied for and those that received LIHEAP assistance during the previous fiscal year by submitting a Household Report with the LIHEAP Plan by September 1, 2013. A separate Action Transmittal will be released to all grantees shortly with instructions on how to complete the Household Report for households assisted in FY 2012.

Section 2605 (c)(1)(G) of the LIHEAP statute requires grantees to report the number and income levels of those households applying for and those households receiving assistance, and the number of assisted households with at least one or more individuals who are in either of three categories: (1) 60 years or older, (2) disabled, and (3) under 6 years old. (Territories with block grant allocations of $200,000 or less and tribal grantees are required to submit a report only on the number of households served under each LIHEAP component).

FY 2014 grant awards will not be made until the Household Report for FY 2013 is received. If final figures are not yet available when you submit your application, we will accept estimates. Updated, final figures must be provided by December 15, 2013.

Carryover and Reallotment Report
The required report on the amount of funds each grantee will carry over from FY 2013 to FY 2014—or will have available for reallotment—is due August 1, 2013. Please remember that the statute states that no grantee will receive its FY 2014 grant until it has submitted its carryover and reallotment report for its FY 2013 funds (see: LIHEAP AT-2013-3, dated July 24, 2013 for more details).

Leveraging Incentive Program
We remind LIHEAP grantees applying for leveraging incentive funds that the regulations at 45 C.F.R. § 96.87, which govern the leveraging incentive program, require inclusion in a grantee’s FY 2013 LIHEAP Plan a description of any leveraging activities that took place during FY 2013 that are integrated and coordinated with a grantee’s LIHEAP program, but that are not administered as a part of LIHEAP. Grantees must submit any necessary amendments to their FY 2013 Plan to provide those descriptions to the Division of Energy Assistance by the end of FY 2013, September 30, 2013. Leveraging activities expected to be carried out during FY 2014 should be described in the FY 2014 Plan and application. Please refer to
LIHEAP-AT-2010-12 (dated August 5, 2010), that describes the requirements to qualify for leveraging incentive funds for these resources.

Additional Certifications
Please remember that all States, whether or not they use the Model Plan, must file the lobbying certification and, if applicable, Form LLL, which discloses lobbying payments. Tribes and Tribal Organizations are not required to file the lobbying certification. The Debarment and Suspension Certification must be filed by all grantees, as must the Drug-Free Workplace Certification, unless a State has submitted a Statewide assurance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Grantees that do not use the Model Plan must also submit these certifications.

Certification by the Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer of the grantee must "certify" to the assurances in Section 2605(b) of the LIHEAP statute (16 assurances for States, 15 for Tribes and some Territories). This can be accomplished in two different ways. The Chief Executive Officer may sign either: (1) the assurances contained in the law listed exactly as they appear in the amended statute (copy incorporated in the Model Plan); or (2) a "blanket assurance" which is a Statement that certifies to the assurances in the law. An example of an acceptable blanket assurance is:

I certify that the (Name of Grantee) will comply with the 16 assurances contained in Title XXVI, section 2605(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 as amended, in the administration and operation of its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The Chief Executive Officer means, in most Tribes, the Tribal Chairperson or President of the Tribal Council. For States, the Chief Executive Officer is the Governor. The assurances may not be signed by any other person, such as the LIHEAP Coordinator, the BusinessManager, or the Director of Social Services. There is only one exception to this policy. The Chief Executive Officer may, in writing, specifically authorize another person to sign on his or her behalf. Such an authorization will be accepted only if it states that the designated person is authorized to sign the LIHEAP assurances. Authorization simply to administer the LIHEAP program is not acceptable. The authorization must mention the LIHEAP program by name.

Tribe-State Agreements
Under the LIHEAP statute and implementing regulations, we determine grant amounts to be awarded to Tribes and Tribal Organizations based on the number of eligible households in the Tribe compared to the number of eligible households for the State, unless the Tribe and the State agree to a larger amount which may either be a flat amount or a percentage share of the State allocation. We encourage Tribes and States to develop an agreement on funding levels and to review those funding levels annually.

As in previous years, grants will be issued to Tribal grantees based on eligible household numbers unless an agreement between the State and Tribal grantee has been made. Therefore, if a State and Tribe are planning to negotiate an agreement, it is important to start that process now and provide a copy of the agreement with the submission of the Tribal LIHEAP Plan.

Inter-Tribal or Consortium Agreements
If a Tribal Organization or Consortium is applying on behalf of several Tribes, the application must list all Tribes to be served. Any Tribes added to the list after the September 1 application due date must receive the State's approval before HHS can issue funds to the organization or consortium on behalf of the additional Tribes.

A consortium must also have a resolution for each Tribe for which it is applying, authorizing the consortium to apply for and administer LIHEAP funds on the Tribe's behalf. The authorization must be in the form of a resolution duly passed by the Tribal council. A letter signed by a program administrator or by a Tribal Chairperson will not suffice.

Application Submission
As set forth in LIHEAP-IM-2013-01, HHS is requiring that all FY 2014 application materials, including any Plan supplements, be submitted in an electronic format. Please see LIHEAP-IM-2013-01 for submission guidelines. All materials must be submitted in the On-Line Data Collection system (OLDC) as an attachment to the Household Report.

ATTACHMENTS:

(1) LIHEAP Funding Application Reminders
(2) Schedule for Detailed LIHEAP Plans

INQUIRIES TO: Matt Orlovick
Division of Energy Assistance
Telephone: (202) 260-5329
E-mail: matthew.orlovick@acf.hhs.gov

/s________________________________________
Lauren Christopher
Energy Program Operations Branch Chief
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services