Flexibilities Guidance for Applicants and Recipients of Federal Financial Assistance Affected by the 2022 Hurricanes and Alaska Storms
On December 23, 2022, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued administrative relief guidance for recipients and applicants of federal financial assistance directly impacted by Hurricane Fiona, Hurricane Ian, and the Alaska storm, flooding, and landslides. The waivers provide federal awarding agencies with the flexibility to aid the business needs of the recipient community.
On December 28, 2022, HHS extended the eleven (11) OMB granted waivers related to 45 CFR 75, effective December 23, 2022, to HHS awarding agencies and recipients directly impacted by Hurricane Fiona, Hurricane Ian, and the Alaska storm, flooding, and landslides. These waivers are time limited and may be applied up to 90 days after the issuance of the OMB Waiver Memo, which is March 23, 2023, or sooner should OMB withdraw the authority.
CDC’s approach to the OMB administrative flexibilities is outlined below. This guidance references the parallel sections found in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant regulations at 45 CFR Part 75, which are applicable to CDC recipients.
Most of the flexibilities listed below are addressed on a collaborative, case-by-case approach (recipients contact their assigned grants management specialist/program official for each specific award to request the specific, applicable flexibility). This is to ensure that CDC and recipients work together to consider the potential impact of the flexibility on their respective grant or cooperative agreement. When contacting CDC, recipients should state if their request was due to impacts caused by Hurricane Fiona, Hurricane Ian, or the Alaska storm, flooding, and landslides. However, flexibilities 4, 5, 7, and 11 are broadly adopted at this time for impacted recipients and do not require separate approval from CDC. Flexibilities may be requested or applied retroactively, as needed.
- Waiver for Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) Publication (45 CFR § 75.203). CDC will make every effort to provide applicants with adequate time to submit quality applications, should additional funding to support response activities become available for competitive NOFOs. However, applicants should be aware that CDC may publish emergency and competitive NOFOs on a case-by-case basis for less than 30 days, if CDC needs to expedite the process to make funds available more quickly.
- No-cost extensions on expiring awards (45 CFR § 75.309). CDC may extend awards that were active as of September 18, 2022, and scheduled to expire prior or up to December 31, 2022, automatically at no cost for a period of up to 12 months. No-cost extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. When CDC provides no-cost extensions, this will allow time for recipient assessments, the resumption of many individual projects, and a report on program progress and financial status to agency staff. Project-specific financial and performance reports will be due 90 days following the end date of the extension. CDC will examine the need to extend other project reporting as the need arises. Recipients should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist/program official if they anticipate needing a no-cost extension.
- Abbreviated non-competitive continuation requests (45 CFR § 75.309). On a case-by-case basis, CDC may accept a brief statement from recipients for continuation requests scheduled to come in from September 18, 2022, to December 31, 2022. CDC will use the brief statements to verify that recipients are in a position to 1) resume or restore their project activities and 2) accept a planned continuation award. Recipients should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist/program official if they anticipate the need for an abbreviated non-competitive continuation.
- Allowability of salaries and other project activities (45 CFR § 75.403, 45 CFR § 75.404, 45 CFR § 75.405). Recipients may continue to charge salaries and benefits to currently active federal awards consistent with the recipients’ policy of paying salaries (under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances) from all funding sources, federal and non-federal. Recipients’ pay policy must be applied consistently to all current staff, regardless of the funding source. Due to the limited funding resources under each federal award to achieve its specific public program goals, recipients must exhaust other available funding sources to sustain their workforce and implement necessary steps to save overall operational costs (such as rent negotiations) during the public health emergency period. Recipients are required to maintain records and documentation as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 – Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 – Retention requirement of records, to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations or services. Concurrent with programs, recipients will need to assess the impact on their programmatic activities that were originally funded once normal activities resume. Recipients should not assume additional funds will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds. This exception is allowed through December 31, 2022.
- Allowability of Costs not Normally Chargeable to Awards (45 CFR § 75.403, 45 CFR § 75.404, 45 CFR § 75.405). Recipients may charge costs to the award such as the cancellation of events, travel, or the pausing and restarting of grant-funded activities due to the public health emergency. Recipients are required to maintain records and documentation to substantiate the costs incurred as required by 2 CFR § 200.302 – Financial management and 2 CFR § 200.333 Retention requirement of records, to substantiate the charging of any cancellation or other fees related to interruption of operations or services. Recipients should not assume additional funds will be available should the charging of cancellation or other fees result in a shortage of funds. Any cost that is reimbursed to recipients (e.g., canceled airline tickets that are refunded through a voucher) needs to be accounted for by the recipient. This exception is allowed through December 31, 2022. Recipients should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist if you have questions on allowable costs.
- Waivers from prior approval requirements (45 CFR § 75.407). On a case-by-case basis, CDC may waive prior approval requirements. All costs charged to federal awards must be consistent with federal cost policy guidelines and the terms of the award, except where other administrative flexibilities may apply. If a recipient anticipates needing a waiver, they should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist/program official.
- Exemption of certain procurement requirements (45 CFR § 75.326-75.335). To the extent authorized by applicable federal law, CDC waives the procurement requirements contained in 45 CFR § 75.326-75.335 to ensure expedient responses to the major disaster and emergency events. Recipients will still need to otherwise follow their agency procurement process. Recipients must document all procurement actions and maintain appropriate documents and records to support the charges against their federal awards. Recipients may be asked to provide that documentation for review.
- Extension of financial and other reporting (45 CFR § 75.341, 45 CFR § 75.342). On a case-by-case basis, CDC may allow recipients to delay submission of financial or other reports up to 6 months beyond the normal due date. A recipient should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist/program official if they anticipate needing an extension. Determinations will be made based on recipient need and assessment of recipient’s previous progress reports, and any potential impacts on future funding amounts and awards. If CDC allows such a delay, recipients may continue to draw down federal funds without the timely submission of these reports. However, these reports must be submitted at the end of the extension period.
- Extension of currently approved indirect cost rates (45 CFR § 75.414 (c)). CDC may allow recipients to continue to use the currently approved indirect cost rates (i.e., predetermined, fixed, or provisional rates) to recover their indirect costs on federal awards. CDC may approve recipient requests for an extension on the use of the current rates for one additional year without submission of an indirect cost proposal. The cognizant agency for indirect cost rates may also approve recipient requests for an extension of the indirect cost rate proposal submission to finalize the current rates and establish future rates. Recipients should contact Cost Allocation Services.
- Extension of closeout (45 CFR§ 45.381) On a case-by-case basis, CDC may allow the recipient to delay submission of any pending financial, performance, or other reports required by the terms of the award for the closeout of expired projects, provided that proper notice about the reporting delay is given by the recipient to the agency. This delay in submitting closeout reports may not exceed one year after the award expires. A recipient should reach out to their assigned grants management specialist/program official if they anticipate needing an extension.
- Extension of single audit submission (45 CFR § 75.501, 45 CFR § 75.512). CDC recipients and subrecipients in affected areas that had not yet filed their single audits with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse and have due dates between September 18, 2022, and December 31, 2022, could delay the completion and submission of the Single Audit reporting package, as required under Subpart F of 45 CFR § 45.501, Audit Requirements, to 6 months beyond the normal due date. This extension does not require individual recipients and subrecipients to seek approval for the extension by CDC, but recipients and subrecipients should maintain documentation of the reason for the delayed filing. Recipients and subrecipients who take advantage of this extension would still qualify as a “low-risk auditee” under the criteria of 45 CFR § 75.520(a), Criteria for a low-risk auditee.