Programmatic CSBG Frequently Asked Questions


When are CSBG applications and plans due to OCS?

States, tribes or tribal organizations are required to prepare and submit an electronic application and plan covering at least one and not more than 2 fiscal years to the OCS not later than 30 days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year covered by the plan, which translates to September 1. (CSBG Act, Sec. 676(b), Sec. 677(d)).

If a tribe or tribal organization does not submit a plan to OCS by the September 1 deadline, what steps must be taken?

After the September 1 deadline, tribal applications will be accepted only with the concurrence of the state (or states) in which the tribe or tribal organization is located. (This requirement is outlined in regulations in 45 CFR, Subpart 96.42 (e)).

What are the CSBG requirements for public hearings?

In conjunction with the development of the state plan, there must be held at least one hearing in the state with sufficient time and statewide distribution of notice of such hearing, to provide to the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed use and distribution of funds to be provided through the grant or allotment under section 675A or 675B for the period covered by the state plan. (CSBG Act, Sec. 676(a)(2)(B))

What are the CSBG requirements for legislative hearings?

In order to be eligible to receive a grant or allotment under section 675A or 675B of the CSBG Act, the state shall hold at least one legislative hearing every 3 years in conjunction with the development of the state plan. (CSBG Act, Sec. 676(a)(3))

When are CSBG funds available for use by states and tribes?

Funding allocations are based on the federal budget. Once Congress passes an appropriation act and it is signed by the President or there is a Continuing Resolution, the allocation process can begin. However, the FFY funding is not available before October 1. A Notice of Award is sent to the state or tribal authorizing official. This is the official document that states the amount awarded and the period covered. As a general rule, grant awards are allocated quarterly and are based on the availability of funds as appropriated by Congress. However, if Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution, then funds will be allocated only for the time period in which Congress has approved funding.

How are state funding allocations determined?

Funds are allocated annually based on a formula outlined in the CSBG Act. As mandated in Section 675B of the CSBG Act, the CSBG formula is based on the proportionate share of funding allocated to eligible entities within each state at the time the CSBG Act was passed in 1981, along with a minimum allotment provision that guarantees that as long as the total appropriation is higher than $345 million, no state will receive less than one half of one percent of the total amount appropriated. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has the authority to apportion to the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) through the course of a year the Congressional appropriation for block grants. HHS assigns allotments to the states through individual awards.

How are tribal funding allocations determined?

Allocation amounts for each tribe or tribal organization are determined based on poverty data for the tribes served and state(s) in which they are located. The determination takes into consideration the tribal population, the incidence of tribal poverty in the state, and the state poverty population data. The allocation amount for tribes is taken from the states’ CSBG allocation and provided directly to the tribal government.

How are CSBG funds used?

CSBG funds are used for activities designed to have a measurable and potentially major impact on causes and conditions of poverty. Under the CSBG program, eligible entities, tribes, and tribal organizations use funds to provide a range of services and activities that have a measurable and potentially major impact on the causes and conditions of poverty to promote self-sufficiency, family stability and community revitalization. The law envisions a wide variety of activities undertaken on behalf of low-income families and individuals. Some specific types of programs operated under the CSBG program include addressing employment, education, income management, housing, nutrition, emergency services and/or health to combat the central causes of poverty.

Is there an income eligibility requirement for participation in CSBG program services and activities?

The official Federal Poverty Guidelines must be used as the primary criterion in determining income eligibility. The Poverty Guidelines are issued each year in the federal register and on the HHS website. A state or tribe may adopt a revised poverty guideline, but it may not exceed 125% of the HHS determined poverty guidelines.

Are states required to monitor the use of CSBG funds?

In order to determine if eligible entities meet performance goals, administrative standards, financial management and other requirements the state must conduct the following reviews: 1) full onsite review of each entity at least once during each 3 year period; 2) an onsite review of each new entity immediately after completion of the first year in which the entity receives funds; 3) follow-up reviews which include prompt return visits to entities and their programs that fail to meet goals, standards and requirements established by the state; and 4) other reviews as appropriate, including reviews of entities with programs that have been terminated with cause. (CSBG Act, Sec. 678B, IM 97)

Are states required to participate in a performance measurement system?

Yes. The CSBG Act mandates in Section 678E(a)(1)(A) that each state that receives CSBG funds shall participate and shall ensure that all eligible entities in the state participate, in a performance measurement system developed or accepted by HHS. The CSBG Act mandates in Section 678E(b) that HHS work in collaboration with the states and with eligible entities throughout the nation to develop one or more model performance measurement systems. HHS is also required to provide technical assistance, including support for the enhancement of electronic data systems to enhance state and eligible entity capability to collect and report data for the HHS system and to aid in their participation in the performance management system.