OMB Memo on Coronavirus and Expanded Administrative Relief

On March 19, 2020 the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to Loss of Operations (M-20-17) which provides an expanded scope of recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

M-20-17 is in addition to the narrowly crafted flexibilities to grant recipients performing essential research and services necessary to carry out the emergency response related to COVID-19 outlined in the March 9, 2020 OMB memo, Administrative Relief for Recipients and Applicants of Federal Financial Assistance Directly Impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (M-20-11). 

In addition, the flexibilities provided within M-20-17, agencies are reminded of their existing flexibility to issue exceptions on a case-by-case basis in accordance with 2 CFR § 200.102, Exceptions. M-20-11 shall continue to apply, and Appendix A describes the exceptions granted under this memorandum to recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity. These exceptions are time limited and will be reassessed by OMB within 90 days of M-20-17 (June 17, 2020). ResourcesMarch 19, 2020 OMB Memo (M-20-17)March 9, 2020 OMB Memo (M-20-11)e-Code of Federal RegulationsOMB Website
SAVE THE DATE: March 26, 2020 12:00 PM EDT
OMB Grants Innovation Exchange Session Scheduled

OMB’s March Grants Innovation Exchange Session scheduled for Thursday March 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm EDT, will feature updates from the OMB Grants Team on recent OMB memo M-20-17 providing administrative relief regarding the Coronavirus crisis and an update on The GREAT Act. NAFOA’s Event Page will be updated once registration is available. 

NAFOA will continue to provide relevant updates as they become available and will continue to take your questions and concerns as always. 
Summary Administrative Relief Exceptions for COVID-19 Crisis 
Federal awarding agencies are authorized to take the following actions, as they deem appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, with respect to the administrative provisions that apply to recipients and grantees affected by the COVID-19, for both recipients with COVID-19 related grants and other types of Federal grants.

Awarding agencies are required to maintain records on the level of particular exceptions provided to recipients. For items 6 and 7, awarding agencies must require recipients to maintain appropriate records and documentation to support the charges against the Federal awards.

1. Flexibility with SAM registration. (2 CFR § 200.205)
Awarding agencies can relax the requirement for active System for Award Management (SAM) registration at time of application in order to expeditiously issue funding. See M-20-17 for more information.

2. Flexibility with application deadlines. (2 CFR § 200.202)
Awarding agencies may provide flexibility with regard to the submission of competing applications in response to specific announcements, as well as unsolicited applications. As appropriate, agencies should list specific guidance on their websites and/or provide a point of contact for an agency program official. See M-20-17 for more information.

3. Waiver for Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) Publication. (2 CFR § 200.203)
Ability to publish emergency Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for less than thirty (30) days on competitive grants and cooperative agreements. Documentation required by agency for tracking purposes. See M-20-17 for more information.

4. No-cost extensions on expiring awards. (2 CFR § 200.308)
Agencies may extend awards which were active as of March 31, 2020 and scheduled to expire prior or up to December 31, 2020, automatically at no-cost for a period of up to twelve (12) months. Required due dates of project-specific financial and performance reports 90 days following end date of extension. See M-20-17 for more information.

5. Abbreviated non-competitive continuation requests. (2 CFR § 200.308)
For continuation requests scheduled to come in from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 agencies may accept a brief statement from recipients to verify they are in a position to 1) resume or restore project activities; and 2) accept a planned continuation award. See M-20-17 for more information.

6. Allowability of salaries and other project activities. (2 CFR § 200.403, 2 CFR § 200.404, 2 CFR § 200.405)
Awarding agencies may allow recipients to 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. Awarding agencies may allow other costs to be charged to Federal awards necessary to resume activities supported by the award, consistent with applicable Federal cost principles and the benefit to the project. See M-20-17 for more information.

7. Allowability of Costs not Normally Chargeable to Awards. (2 CFR § 200.403, 2 CFR § 200.404, 2 CFR § 200.405)
Awarding agencies may allow recipients who incur costs related to the cancellation of events, travel, or other activities necessary and reasonable for the performance of the award, or the pausing and restarting of grant funded activities due to the public health emergency, to charge these costs to their award without regard to 2 CFR § 200.403, Factors affecting allowability of costs, 2 CFR § 200.404, Reasonable costs, and 2 CFR § 200.405, Allocable costs. See M-20-17 for more information.

8. Prior approval requirement waivers. (2 CPR § 200.407)
Awarding agencies are authorized to waive prior approval requirements as necessary to effectively address the response. See M-20-17 for more information.

9. Exemption of certain procurement requirements. (2 CPR§ 200.319(b), 2 CPR§ 200.321)
Awarding agencies may waive the procurement requirements contained in 2 CPR§ 200.319(b) regarding geographical preferences and 2 CPR§ 200.321 regarding contracting small and minority businesses, women’s business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms. See M-20-17 for more information.

10. Extension of financial, performance, and other reporting. (2 CPR§ 200.327, 2 CPR§ 200.328)
Awarding agencies may allow grantees to delay submission of financial, performance and other reports up to three (3) months beyond the normal due date.  See M-20-17 for more information.

11. Extension of currently approved indirect cost rates. (2 CPR§ 200.414 (c))
Awarding agencies may allow grantees 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. See M-20-17 for more information.

12. Extension of closeout. (2 CPR§ 200.343)
Awarding agencies may allow the grantee to delay submission of any pending financial, performance and 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 grantee to the agency. This delay in submitting closeout reports may not exceed one year after the award expires. See M-20-17 for more information.

13. Extension of Single Audit submission. (2 CFR § 200.512)
Awarding agencies, in their capacity as cognizant or oversight agencies for audit, should allow recipients and subrecipients that have not yet filed their single audits with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse as of the date of the issuance of this memorandum that have fiscal year-ends through June 30, 2020, to delay the completion and submission of the Single Audit reporting package, as required under Subpart F of 2 CFR § 200.501 –Audit Requirements, to six (6) months beyond the normal due date. See M-20-17 for more information.
For any other questions or concerns, please contact Emery Real Bird at or (202) 945-7750
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.