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LIHEAP IM 2015-04 Applicability of the OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements to LIHEAP Awards

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

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY
 ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

 

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

Transmittal No.  LIHEAP-IM-2015-04                  Date: June 24, 2015

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

SUBJECT:            Applicability of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements to LIHEAP Awards

RELATED             45 CFR Part 75, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles,
REFERENCES:     and Audit Requirements for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Awards

BACKGROUND:    On December 26, 2013, OMB published final guidance on the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements.  (78 FR 78589.)

With this guidance, OMB combined and streamlined eight existing OMB circulars (A-21, A-50, A-87, A-89, A-102, A-110, A-122, and A-133) into one document.  The goal of this reform is to (1) streamline OMB guidance for Federal awards to ease administrative burden and (2) strengthen oversight over Federal funds to reduce risks of waste, fraud, and abuse.

This reform of OMB guidance will improve the integrity of the financial management and operation of Federal programs and strengthen accountability for Federal dollars by improving policies that protect against waste, fraud, and abuse. At the same time, this reform will increase the impact and accessibility of programs by minimizing time spent complying with unnecessarily burdensome administrative requirements, and so reorients recipients toward achieving program objectives. Through close and sustained collaboration with Federal and non-Federal partners, OMB has developed ideas that will ensure that discretionary grants and cooperative agreements are awarded based on merit; that management increases focus on performance outcomes; that rules governing the allocation of Federal funds are streamlined, and that the Single Audit oversight tool is better focused to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse.

HHS formally adopted the new OMB requirements on December 19, 2014, in 45 CFR Part 75, referenced above.  (79 FR 75867.)  The OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements went into effect on December 26, 2014.  On January 21, 2015, ACF issued the second round of LIHEAP grant awards for Federal Fiscal year (FFY)  2015.  Those award letters included a footnote that stated:

This award represents additional regular block grant funding available under the Consolidated and Further Continuation Appropriations Act (Public Law 113-235).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Expenditures made using funds from this and all subsequent awards for this program will be governed by guidelines found in the new Omni Circular published by the Office of Management and Budget. These guidelines incorporate and update existing OMB Circulars and are being codified for HHS programs in Federal regulations at 45 45CFR Part 96 Part 75. (see the Federal Register Notice, dated Dec 19, 2014 at 79 FR 75871-76106.) The Terms and Conditions for this program will be revised accordingly.

PURPOSE:   The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify the applicability of the OMB Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements (“Uniform Administrative Guidance”) to LIHEAP awards.

CONTENT:    Upon further reflecton on the applicability of the Uniform Administrative Guidance to block grants, ACF has interpreted the new OMB requirements such that the awards ACF issued in January 2015 are “incremental” awards related to the initial block grant awards ACF issued beginning October 15, 2014, for FFY 2015.  As the initial block grant awards occurred prior to the December 26, 2014, effective date of the Uniform Administrative Guidance, none of the regular block grant or reallotment funds issued in FFY 2015 will be subject to the new guidance.  ACF considered the negative impact on LIHEAP grantees of implementing the new guidance for a small portion of the LIHEAP funding, much less retroactively applying it to the grants issued prior to December 26, 2014.  ACF acknowledged that most LIHEAP grantees entered into legal commitments, such as subawards to intake providers prior to December 26, 2014, and it would be administratively challenging to revise such awards now to address the new requirements.  Therefore, ACF has determined the following:

Implementation Timing—

LIHEAP awards must be in compliance with all relevant provisions of the Uniform Administrative Guidance beginning with awards issued in Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.  These provisions do not apply to any awards issued in FFY 2015.

Grantees are instructed to disregard the footnote addressing this issue on the award letters dated on or about January 21, 2015, regarding the “Omni Circular”, i.e., the portion of the footnote from “IMPORTANT NOTE…revised accordingly.”

Applicability to LIHEAP

LIHEAP awards are exempt from all provisions of Subparts C, D, and E of the Uniform Administrative Guidance, except for the sections noted in this IM.  This is because most of those subparts relate to the cost principles which do not apply to LIHEAP.  Rather, LIHEAP grants continue to be generally subject to the block grant rules at 45 CFR Part 96.

The following sections of the Uniform Administrative Guidance apply to LIHEAP awards (45 CFR § 75.101(d)(1)):

  • Subpart F of the Uniform Administrative Guidance, addressing audit requirements;
  • Section 75.202 of Subpart C, addressing pre-Federal award requirements; and
  • Sections 75.351-353 of Subpart D, addressing post-Federal award requirements.

INQUIRIES: Lauren Christopher, Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Telephone: (202) 401-4870
E-mail: lauren.christopher@acf.hhs.gov

/s/
Jeannie L. Chaffin
Director
Office of Community Services

Last Reviewed: June 14, 2019