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LIHEAP AT 2015-3 Model Plan Application Funding FY 2016

Published: June 24, 2015
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Action Transmittal

LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY
 ASSISTANCE

 

Information Memorandum

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

       www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap

Transmittal No.  LIHEAP-AT-2015-03                    Date: June 24, 2015

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

SUBJECT:  Model Plan Application for LIHEAP Funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 (All Applications due September 1, 2015)

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 make all grantees aware of the new “clone” feature in the model plan form in OLDC that allows you to pre-populate 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 2016 Plan and is due to ACF via OLDC no later than September 1, 2015.  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 annual Plan is no later than September 1, 2015.

Tribes and tribal organizations must, as always has been the case, 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, 2015.  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 2016 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:

There is no longer a distinction between detailed and abbreviated LIHEAP plans.  All LIHEAP grantees must complete the entire LIHEAP plan for FY 2016 in OLDC.  Information from the FY 2015 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, question 8.8
  • Section 10, questions 10.3 and 10.9-10.12
  • Section 11, questions 11.1-11.6 (all the questions in Section 11)
  • Section 12, questions 12.1-12.3
  • Section 13, questions 13.1-13.6 (all the questions in Section 13)
  • Section 14, questions 14.1 and 14.3

Grantees should update any other questions to reflect new or revised plans for FY 2016 LIHEAP administration.            

Assurances:

The assurances displayed in the second to last section of the LIHEAP plan are from the LIHEAP statute (42 U.S.C. § 8624).  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 signed 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) signs the assurances or (2) has specifically delegated authority to sign the LIHEAP assurances to the person/position (not merely the department or agency) who may sign the assurances.  A delegation of authority to administer the LIHEAP program, or one that delegates authority to sign assurances but does not specify the LIHEAP program is not sufficient.  If a grantee has a new Governor or Tribal Chairperson, a new delegation letter is required.

In addition to the model plan, grantees will also be required to complete the SF-424M, added as the first section of your LIHEAP Plan.  The person that is designated to “sign the LIHEAP assurances” have an OLDC account and be the person to “certify” the LIHEAP Plan by clicking the “Certify” and “Click to Sign” buttons once the LIHEAP plan is ready for submission.  This is because the SF-424M requires electronic signatures to program assurances.  Therefore, if your 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 2016 LIHEAP Plan.  The OLDC Administrator in your office can establish additional OLDC accounts for users such as your 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.  It is called OLDC Assignment Delegation and is listed under the subsection, FVPS Training Demonstrations.

It is not sufficient to scan and attach a hard copy signature to the LIHEAP assurances.

Assurances must have the electronic signature of the governor/Tribal chairperson or his or her designee.  If the governor/Tribal chairperson signs a delegation letter, then the delegation letter must be attached to the plan in OLDC and the designee must be the person to “certify” the plan in the system.

In applying for LIHEAP funds for FY 2016, 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).

In addition, please note Assurance 16, which sets a 5 percent limit on the amount of LIHEAP funds that can be used for certain activities designed to reduce the need for home energy and, thereby, the need for energy assistance.            

Leveraging Activities:

Please remember that the LIHEAP plan includes a section to report leveraging activities to take place during the federal fiscal year that will be coordinated with LIHEAP.  You must include the information in Section 14 of your plan that will be necessary for activities to count for leveraging funds awarded the next year (e.g., FY 2016).   Grantees must also amend their FY 2015 plan to include any activities that are added during the year but were not previously included in the plan (e.g. cooling component) in order to submit a Leveraging Report based on FY 2015 activities, if such reports are solicited.

Under the Final Rule on implementing the leveraging program that was issued on May 1, 1995 (60 FR 21322), additional information 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’ LIHEAP 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 program.  See especially the middle column of page 21339 of the May 1, 1995 Federal Register (60 FR 21339) for further discussion of these requirements. VIew these documents on the LIHEAP website under the “Guidance, Policies, and Procedures” section.          

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 will need to collect this data on their FY 2014 applicant and recipient households in order to submit the data as part of their FY 2015 grant applications.  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).  OCS will issue a separate Action Transmittal with instructions for the Household Report. The FY 2015 Household Report must be submitted no later than September 1, 2015, with at least estimates provided. If estimates are provided or changes to final numbers have occurred, the FY 2015 Household Report must be resubmitted no later than December 15, 2015, with final data.  All grantees must submit the Household Report through OLDC.            

Carryover and Reallotment Report:

The FY 2015 Carryover and Reallotment Report is required of all grantees and is due no later than August 1, 2015.  The report must be submitted through OLDC.  This report includes the amount of funds each grantee will carry over from FY 2015 to FY 2015 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 2016 grant until it has submitted the Carryover and Reallotment Report for its FY 2015 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 2015 SF-425 Federal Financial Report and the LIHEAP Performance Data Form.            

Other Certifications:

Please remember that all States 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. All grantees must submit the Drug-free Workplace certification, unless a state has submitted a statewide assurance to the 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 Drug-free Workplace and the Debarment and Suspension certifications 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 Lobbying certification 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:

This is a reminder that in order to alleviate difficulties with submitting the plan by email, 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 ACF liaison for your region as soon as possible.  Contact information is listed below. 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 (57 FR 60676-606894, published December 21, 1992) implementing the statute, which affects the LIHEAP program.  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. When we have to ask for additional information, it means that you may not receive the grant award on the schedule you had planned. 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

 

/s                                                                         /s/

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

                       
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 2015 Model Plan into your FY 2016 Model Plan.

NOTE: This process will only work if you have NOT yet initialized your FY 2016 plan.  If you already started working on the FY 2016 plan, you will need to delete that plan before you can go through the cloning process.

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.


Image 1

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 10/1/2015 – 9/30/2016.  This is the FY 2016 model plan reporting period.
  2. In the Select Action dropdown box, click on Clone Report.
  3. Click the blue Enter button.

Image 2

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 10/1/2014-9/30/2015.  This is your FY 2015 plan and it is the information that you want to copy to your FY 2016 plan.
  2. Click the blue Enter button

Image 3

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 2016 plan will come up, with all of the information from the FY 2015 plan already populated.

Image 4

DON’T FORGET TO SAVE!

Once you have completed the cloning process, open any section of your new FY 2016 model plan and click the blue SAVE button at the top of the screen.  This will ensure that all the data that has just been transferred into your plan will be saved.

 

Last Reviewed: June 11, 2019