New Relief and Grant Flexibility Under the Uniform Guidance

  |   March 23, 2020

Good news for grants management in the age of coronavirus: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued M-20-11, a new memo intended to provide agencies with additional grant flexibility to assist in the response to COVID-19. The scope of the M-20-11 was narrowly defined to provide short term relief for administrative, financial management, and audit requirements under the Uniform Guidance. The directive will be reevaluated in 90 days.

Much of the administrative relief allows federal agencies to extend grant application and program deadlines, and to waive administrative processes on a case-by-case basis. Other parts of the directive eases the way certain costs are allocated. Grant funds set aside for travel, for example, may be allowed to be re-purposed for other approved program activities, especially if these activities are in the service of the coronavirus response.

Other major highlights include extension of:

  • Financial, performance, and other reporting. Awarding agencies may allow program managers to submit financial, performance and other reports for up to three (3) months beyond the normal due date. If an agency allows such a delay, recipients can continue to draw down federal funds, even without timely reports.
  • Single Audit submission. If you have a fiscal year end of (or through) June 30, 2020 (including 9/30/19, 12/31/19, etc.) and did not yet file your Single Audit with the Federal Audit Clearinghouse as of March 9, 2020, you will be able to delay completion and submission of the reporting package for up to six (6) months beyond the normal due date. No further action by awarding agencies is required to enact this extension.
  • Currently approved indirect cost rates. You may be able to continue to use the currently approved indirect cost rates (i.e., predetermined, fixed, or provisional rates) to recover indirect costs on federal awards. If granted agency approval, you can also request an extension on the use of the current rates for one additional year, without submission of an indirect cost proposal.
  • Grants. Awards active as of March 31, 2020 and set to expire by December 31, 2020 will automatically receive no-cost extensions for one year.

See more details from OMB here. REDW accounting experts can help you interpret more complex questions, as to what’s permitted, as the situation unfolds. Many of the operational impacts and costs are unknowable at this point; they will depend on the spread of the coronavirus and response dictated by public health needs.


REDW is committed to keeping you informed at all times, but especially during a crisis of the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay connected with us on LinkedIn and @REDWLLC. Or check out some of our other updates here.

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