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LIHEAP AT 2016-06 Model Plan Application for Funding for FY 2017

Published: July 1, 2016
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Action Transmittal

LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY
ASSISTANCE

Action Transmittal

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of Energy Assistance
330 C Street SW, 5th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20230

 www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap

Transmittal No. LIHEAP-AT-2016-06              Date: July 1, 2016

TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

SUBJECT: Model Plan Application for LIHEAP Funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 (All Applications due September 1, 2016)

RELATED Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act, as amended (Title XXVI of
REFERENCES: Public Law (P.L.) 97-35, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, as amended).

BACKGROUND: States, territories, and tribes/tribal organizations that wish to administer the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) must submit an application for funds each year. Section 2605(c)(3) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, as amended, provides that the Secretary shall make available a model LIHEAP Plan which may be used to prepare the application required under Sections 2605(a)(1) and (c)(1).

PURPOSE: To provide LIHEAP grantees with instructions for how to access and submit the new LIHEAP Plan, explain changes to the Plan requirements, to remind states, tribes, and territories that all applications are due September 1 through the On-Line Data Collection (OLDC) system, and to remind grantees of the “clone” feature in the model Plan form that allows pre-populating responses from the prior year Plan into the current draft.

CONTENT: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved ACF’s LIHEAP Plan under clearance number 0970-0075 effective through 6/30/2017. The LIHEAP Plan contains required content for all LIHEAP grantees for the FY 2017 Plan and is due to ACF via OLDC no later than September 1, 2016.

The LIHEAP Plan can be accessed through ACF’s web-based system, OLDC, at: https://extranet.acf.hhs.gov/ssi/

Deadlines:

Grantees must submit an application (Plan) to ACF each federal fiscal year in order to receive LIHEAP funds. The deadline for all grantees to submit the FY 2017 annual Plan is no later than September 1, 2016.

Tribes and tribal organizations must submit their LIHEAP Plans by September 1, unless the state(s) in which the tribe or tribal organization is located agrees in writing to a specific later submission date. This extension approval must be received in writing by ACF no later than September 1. A Final Rule published on October 15, 1999 in the Federal Register (64 FR 55843) requires in Section 96.10(c)(2) that applications from states and territories must also be submitted by September 1 unless ACF agrees to a later date.

Completion:

The final rule also established a due date for the submission of all information required to complete the LIHEAP Plan. Tribes, states and territories must submit all revisions and missing information sought by ACF in order to consider the Plan complete no later than December 15, 2016. States, tribes, and territories must all meet this completion deadline, unless ACF receives and agrees to a written extension request specifying a later date. Tribes must also include written approval specifying a specific, reasonable date, from the state(s) in which the tribe is located.

All extension requests must be in writing; list a specific, reasonable date, and provide a brief explanation of the reason for needing an extension. The extension request should be submitted via OLDC by adding a non-private “Remark” to their 2017 LIHEAP Plan form status page listing the requested new submission date and reason for the extension. Tribes can attach the email from their respective state showing the state agrees with the proposed new date.

Please note that LIHEAP funding is contingent upon submission of a state Plan that ACF considers complete with respect to required information.

Transferring Prior-Year Information into the Current Year’s Plan:

All LIHEAP grantees must complete the entire LIHEAP Plan for FY 2017 in OLDC. Information from the FY 2016 Plan can be transferred into the current year’s Plan by using the “Clone Report” feature in OLDC. Step-by-step instructions for how to use the “Clone Report” feature can be accessed in Attachment 1 below.

When transferring information from the prior year into the current year, grantees must provide updated responses to, at minimum, the following:

  • Section 8 – Agency Designation, 2605(b)(6) – Assurance 6 question 8.8
  • Section 10 – Program, Fiscal Monitoring, and Audit, 2605(b)(10) – Assurance 10, questions 10.3 and 10.9-10.12
  • Section 11 – Timely and Meaningful Public Participation, 2605(b)(12) – Assurance 12, 2605(c)(2), questions 11.1-11.6 (all the questions in Section 11)
  • Section 12 – Fair Hearings, 2605(b)(10), questions 12.1-12.3
  • Section 13 – Reduction of home energy needs, 2605(b)(16), questions 13.1-13.6 (all the questions in Section 13)
  • Section 14 – Leveraging Incentive Program, 2607A, questions 14.1 and 14.3, and
  • Section 16 – Performance Goals and Measures, 2605(b). This section is applicable to state grantees only.

Grantees should update any other questions to reflect new or revised Plans for FY 2017 LIHEAP administration. If applicable, attach supporting documentation.

Assurances:

The Assurances displayed in the second to last section of the LIHEAP Plan are from the LIHEAP statute (42 U.S.C. § 8624(b)). LIHEAP regulations at 45 C.F.R. § 96.10(b) require that the 16 Assurances (15 for tribes and some territories) in the LIHEAP statute must be certified by the grantee’s Chief Executive Officer or “by an individual authorized to make such certifications on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer.” Please be sure that the governor or Tribal chairperson (1) certifies the Assurances or (2) has specifically delegated authority to “certify” to the LIHEAP Assurances to another person and/or position (not merely the department or agency). A delegation of authority letter signed by the current governor or Tribal Chairperson must be attached to the Plan in OLDC. It is insufficient to submit a general delegation letter that permits someone to “administer” LIHEAP or one that delegates authority to certify to Assurances but which fails to specify LIHEAP.

In addition to the model Plan, grantees are also required to complete the Mandatory Grant Application SF-424M, which is the first section of the LIHEAP Plan. The person that is designated to “certify to the LIHEAP assurances” must have an OLDC account and, while logged into their OLDC account, must be the person that clicks the “Certify” and “Click to Sign” buttons for the LIHEAP Plan in OLDC. This is because the SF-424M requires electronic signatures to the LIHEAP Assurances. Therefore, if the Governor or Tribal Chairperson chooses not to designate someone else to sign the LIHEAP Assurances, then the Governor or Tribal Chairperson must have his or her own OLDC account and “certify” the FY 2017 LIHEAP Plan.

The OLDC Administrator in your office can establish additional OLDC accounts for users such as the Governor or Tribal Chairperson. You may contact your liaison with our office if you need assistance with this. The contact information for all LIHEAP Liaisons is at the end of this guidance. A tutorial on how to create new accounts in OLDC can be found here: https://extranet.acf.hhs.gov/oldcdocs/materials.html under the FVPS Materials subsection, labeled as Training Demonstration: OLDC Assignment Delegation.

In applying for LIHEAP funds for FY 2017, please remember that the statute requires states and territories receiving more than $200,000 to describe in their Plans how they will carry out Assurance 15 (Section 2605(b)(15) of the LIHEAP statute).

Leveraging Activities:

The LIHEAP Plan includes a section to report leveraging activities to take place during the federal fiscal year that will be coordinated with LIHEAP in 2017. You must include the information in Section 14 of your Plan regarding efforts you anticipate you will take in FY 2017 to try to obtain non-federal funds or in kind resources that will be coordinated with your LIHEAP in FY 2017.

Prior to the end of FY 2016, grantees must also amend their FY 2016 Plan to reference any leveraging resources obtained in FY 2016, in order to potentially qualify for a Leveraging Incentive Program grant in 2017, if such funding is available.

The Final Rule on implementing the Leveraging Incentive Program that was issued on May 1, 1995 (60 FR 21322) provides additional information about what must be included in the Plan for those leveraging activities claimed under criterion 96.87(d)(2)(iii), that is, those resources that are appropriated or mandated by the state for distribution under the Plan, and are coordinated/integrated with the grantees’ home energy assistance program, but are not a part of LIHEAP.

The Plan must describe the resources/benefits to be counted under criterion 96.87(d)(2)(iii), and identify and describe their sources and the way in which they are integrated/coordinated with the grantees’ LIHEAP. See especially the middle column of page 21339 of the May 1, 1995 Federal Register (60 FR 21339) for further discussion of these requirements. These documents can be found on the LIHEAP website under the Statute and Regulations “Guidance, Policies, and Procedures” section at: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/resource-library/search?area[208...

Household Report:

The statute requires that complete LIHEAP Plans MUST include the LIHEAP Household Report for the previous federal fiscal year regarding assisted households and households applying for assistance.

The LIHEAP statute requires the Secretary to collect data on the number and income levels of households assisted and the following additional household data:

  • Number of assisted households with at least one young child;
  • Number and income levels of households applying for LIHEAP assistance; and
  • Number of assisted households with at least one or more individuals who are 60 years or older or disabled.

States, the District of Columbia, and territories with regular allotments of $200,000 or more must collect this data on their FY 2016 applicant and recipient households in order to submit the data on the Household Report (Long Form – ACF 121) as part of their FY 2017 grant applications.

All Tribal grantees, and territories with regular allotments of less than $200,000, are required to submit only information on the number of households served in each of its program components (i.e., heating, cooling, crisis, and weatherization on the Household Report Short Form, ACF - 120). OCS will issue a separate Action Transmittal with instructions for the Household Report.

The FY 2016 Household Report must be submitted no later than September 1, 2016, with at least estimates provided. If estimates are provided or changes to final numbers have occurred, the FY 2016 Household Report must be resubmitted no later than December 15, 2016, with final data. All grantees must submit the Household Report through OLDC.

Carryover and Reallotment Report:

The FY 2016 Carryover and Reallotment Report (0970-0106) is required of all grantees and is due no later than August 1, 2016. The report must be submitted through OLDC. This report includes the amount of funds each grantee will carry over from FY 2016 to FY 2017 up to the 10 percent limit. The report also includes any balance of funds that the grantee has available for reallotment by ACF (i.e., due to exceeding the carryover limit). Prompt submission of this report allows grantees and ACF to identify potential under-obligation of funds such that program administration adjustments might be made to ensure timely obligation of funds before the end of the federal fiscal year.

Please remember that the statute provides that no grantee will receive its FY 2017 grant award until it has submitted the Carryover and Reallotment Report for its FY 2016 funds. In some cases, OCS had to delay grant awards to grantees with otherwise complete applications because they had not submitted their Carryover and Reallotment Report. Grantees are strongly encouraged to revise their Carryover and Reallotment Report at a later time to be consistent with their FY 2016 Federal Financial Report SF-425 and the LIHEAP Performance Data Form (LIHEAP PDF). The LIHEAP Performance Data Form is applicable to state grantees only.

Other Certifications:

All states must file the Certification Regarding Lobbying and, if applicable, Form LLL, which discloses lobbying payments. Tribes and tribal organizations are not required to file the Certification Regarding Lobbying.

The Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters must be submitted by all grantees.

All grantees must submit the Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements, unless a state has submitted a statewide assurance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When completing this certification, be sure to enter the grantee’s physical address in the appropriate fields, rather than a P.O. Box.

All of the above certifications are incorporated into the Model Plan in OLDC, in Sections 18-20. Please ensure that the certification checkbox is marked in each required certification’s section. Please note that the Certification Regarding Drug-free Workplace Requirements and the Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters do not require signatures. Submission of the model Plan with the certification checkbox selected for each certification indicates agreement to adhere to the specified certifications. While the Certification Regarding Lobbying does require signature, it does not need to be signed separately in OLDC. Clicking the “Certify” and “Click to Sign” buttons prior to submission of the entire Model Plan effectively renders that certification signed.

Timely Application Submittal and Completion by Tribes, States and Territories:

OCS requires grantees to submit the Carryover and Reallotment Report, Household Report, and the annual LIHEAP Plan through OLDC, a web-based system.

We do not accept Plans via email, mail, or fax, unless technical limitations require an alternative submission method. If this is the case, please contact the LIHEAP liaison for your region as soon as possible.

The Cash Management Improvement Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-453, as amended by P.L. 102-589), remains 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 issued a Final Rule (67 FR 31880-31893, published May 10, 2002) implementing the statute, which affects LIHEAP. It is important that we receive your Plan several weeks before you intend to draw funds from the Federal Payment Management System so that we may comply with the intent of this Act and its implementing regulations.

As noted above, all necessary information must be included in the Plan before it can be accepted as complete and we can issue a grant award. Your Plan must be accepted in OLDC by a Certifying Official in order for you to receive a FY 2017 grant award.

Please remember that all grantees have an ongoing responsibility to submit revised forms, as needed, based on changes to the information they originally reported to ACF.

INQUIRIES: LIHEAP Regional Liaisons

ATTACHMENTS: Instructions for Cloning Responses from Prior Plan in OLDC

/s/                                                                          /s/
Jeannie L. Chaffin                                                 Lauren Christopher
Director                                                                 Director
Office of Community Service                                Division of Energy Assistance
                                                                              Office of Community Service

 

 

Attachment 1

How to Use the Clone Report Feature in OLDC

The Clone Report feature in OLDC allows the user to populate the fields of a current year’s form with the data from a prior year’s form. Follow the steps below in order to copy all of the information from your FY 2016 Model Plan into your FY 2017 Model Plan.

Step 1: Log into OLDC and click on the Report Form Entry link at the top left of the screen.

Step 2: This will take you to the Program and Grantee Selection screen.

  1. In the Program Name dropdown box, select Low Income Home Energy Assistance.
  2. In the Grantee Name dropdown box, select the grantee name.
  3. In the Report Name drop down box, select Model Plan (ACF-122).
  4. Click the blue Enter button.

 

Step 3: Once you click the blue Enter button, you will be taken to the Reporting Period Selection screen.

  1. Click on the radial button next to the dates 10/1/2016 – 9/30/2017. This is the FY 2017 model plan reporting period.
  2. In the Select Action dropdown box, click on Clone Report.
  3. Click the blue Enter button.

 

Step 4: Once you’ve clicked the blue Enter button, additional options will appear on the same screen. Scroll down to continue.

  1. Select the radial button next to 10/1/2015-9/30/2016. This is your FY 2016 plan and it is the information that you want to copy to your FY 2017 plan.
  2. Click the “Clone” button.

Step 5: If you’ve followed the above steps properly, you will see a pop-up message indicating that your report has been cloned successfully. Click the OK button and your FY 2017 plan will come up, with all of the information from the FY 2016 plan already populated.

 

Step 6: Go through every entry and section and update the information to reflect the program for FY 2017. Pay special attention to dates.

Last Reviewed: July 24, 2018