Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 04/02/2020

OMB Gives Administrative Relief on Federal Grants and Cooperative Agreements in Response to COVID-19

Mixed in the flurry of activity surrounding the federal government’s response to COVID-19, in mid-March, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave agencies authority to temporarily relax certain requirements for existing grants and cooperative agreements.

At the time, the administrative relief was aimed at grant and cooperative agreements involving essential research and services necessary to carry out the emergency response related to COVID-19. Since then, OMB has extended the relief to grants and cooperative agreement recipients affected by the loss of operational capacity and increased costs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The relief is limited to 90 days at this point, and comes in the form of waivers or relaxation of administrative, financial management and audit requirements under 2 CFR 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, also known as OBM Uniform Guidance.

This relief, consistent with relief OBM has granted so far to contracts, is tailored to federal grants and cooperative agreements. For example, indirect cost rates may be extended. Agreements may also have no-cost (time-only) extensions to allow grantees and awardees to get-well on any lost productivity due to COVID-19 closures. The majority of reporting requirements may be extended to give grantees and awardees the time to collect and prepare data. Audits may also be extended.

Agencies may, and indeed some already have, issued class deviations to terms and conditions specific to the 90-day period. Grants and agreement officers are required to give their grantees and awardees notice. Any grantee or awardee who is uncertain if its respective agency has adopted a class deviation should contact their grant or agreements officer.

Please visit our COVID-19 Toolkit for all of Taft’s updates on the coronavirus.

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