Section 1115 Grant Funding – Streamlined Process

IM-20-06

Publication Date: December 2, 2020

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

IM-20-06

DATE: December 2, 2020

TO: State and Tribal IV-D Agencies

SUBJECT: Section 1115 Grant Funding — Streamlined Process

OCSE has streamlined the process to apply for, receive, and manage section 1115 grant funding to help reduce applicant time and effort. State and tribal child support agencies interested in applying for section 1115 grants should review this document closely.

Section 1115 of the Social Security Act (herein, the Act), 42 U.S.C. 1315, authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to fund demonstration grants and waivers for the Title IV-D program.

  • OCSE has up to $4 million of section 1115 grant funding available each fiscal year that is awarded by a competitive process through a funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
  • Grants will fund pilot or experimental activities or deliver services not otherwise allowable under Title IV-D of the Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.) to promote the objectives of the child support program and improve the outcomes for children. Program evaluation is required for all funded grants.
  • Section 1115 of the Act also gives OCSE authority to waive specific program requirements or funding restrictions for child support agencies as part of a section 1115 grant project (see IM-20-03).
  • Section 1115 grants are considered state or tribal recipient’s share of Title IV-D funding under OCSE’s section 1115 waiver authority (see IM-20-03), and Federal Financial Participation (FFP) is awarded with section 1115 funding.

Funding Sources

Section 1115 of the Act authorizes experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects likely to assist in promoting the objectives of Part D of Title IV of the Act. Section 1115 grant funds are competitive grants awarded to Title IV-D programs through a FOA. These grant funds may only be awarded to state or tribal Title IV-D agencies.

Section 1115 and Title IV-D of the Act are under the same appropriation. Section 1115 permits recipients to consider it part of the state or tribal share of Title IV-D funding. This allows a state or tribal recipient of a section 1115 grant to also receive the FFP for the proposed grant project, which is permitted by the waiver authority in section 1115 (see IM-20-03). Section 1115 grantees receive waivers from Title IV-D regulations under the grant project parameters provided in the approved application.

Application

Child support agencies that wish to apply for a section 1115 grant must apply under an open FOA on Grants.gov. OCSE posts information about upcoming and published funding opportunities on the Grants.gov website. The FOA outlines the application process and requirements for the specific year and demonstration topic. Interested agencies can also search Grants.gov and subscribe to receive email updates.

Starting May 1, 2020, applications for section 1115 grants require a single, combined request for the total project budget (1115 and FFP funds combined) on the SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance. Per instructions in the FOAs, prospective applicants should reference the total project budget in all application forms, narratives, and budget documents. Prospective applicants must follow specific directions in the FOA when preparing budget requests. If an application is selected for funding, OCSE will calculate the section 1115 and FFP amounts based on the total project budget request, and these amounts will be listed on any subsequent Notice of Award issued by ACF.

All ACF FOAs discuss “cost sharing or matching” in Section III.2. This section refers to recipient matching funds for grant projects. Section 1115 grants do NOT require recipient match, and this section is not applicable to the FFP allowed under these grants.

Calculating Budget Requests

All OCSE FOAs published in calendar year 2020 or later will specify the budget ceiling and anticipated average award in terms of the total project budget rather than just section 1115 funds. Applicants should refer to FOAs for more detailed instructions for preparing the budget request and narrative and justification documents.

State and tribes operating comprehensive programs are eligible for section 1115 grant funds. Eligible applicants should provide their total project budget when applying for a section 1115 grant. For states, section 1115 funding is 34% of the total project budget and FFP funding is 66% of the total project budget. For tribes, section 1115 funding is 20% of the total project budget and FFP funding is 80% of the total project budget.

Applicants should pay special attention to the length of the project period and budget period(s) listed in a FOA. Some projects may have a “fully-funded” project budget, meaning the total budget is for the entire grant project period, while others will require grantees to request a non-competitive continuation award each year.

Award Notification and Management

Child support agencies receive a Notice of Award if they are selected for funding. The Notice of Award will indicate the total project budget. The Notice of Award shows the total of each funding source and a breakout of funds by object class categories, and other relevant information.

All FFP funds received in association with section 1115 grant funding must be spent on 1115 grant activities, under the guidance provided in the FOA and the statutory requirements for both section 1115 and Title IV-D funding.

Grant recipients should not include costs associated with a section 1115 grant award in their normal child support program budget. The grant recipient must track and budget all costs for the demonstration grant separately under the funds awarded on the Notice of Award. Any funds misspent under the child support program grant or the section 1115 demonstration grant will be disallowed by ACF.

Reporting and Project Management

Recipients of section 1115 grants must follow all programmatic and financial reporting requirements in the FOA for the specific demonstration project. When completing financial reports, recipients should report on the total project budget and do not need to identify expenditures or information by funding source. Similarly, programmatic reports should report on all grant activities in the total project budget. Starting in 2020, all financial and programmatic reports due to ACF must be submitted semi-annually during the project period of the grant.

Recipients may not use expenditures allocated to the section 1115 grant award to support their regular child support program. The FFP associated with section 1115 grants is awarded at the start of the grant project and will be awarded for the budget period. Given this, any grantee receiving section 1115 grant awards on or after August 30, 2020, should not include requests for FFP associated with the grant on their quarterly submission of the OCSE-396 form for regular child support program funding.

REFERENCES: Section 1115 (42 U.S.C. 1315) and Title IV-D (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.) of the Social Security Act; 45 CFR Part 304; IM-20-03.

INQUIRIES: ACF/OCSE Division of Program Innovation, ocse.dpi@acf.hhs.gov.

Linda Boyer
Deputy Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement

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