Part II - Chapter 1: Application Process
HIGHLIGHTS OF CHAPTER
- Eligible Recipients
- Program Announcements
- Certified Assurances (Nondiscrimination Requirements)
- Intergovernmental Review
- Application Review
- Federal Debt (OMB Circular A-129)
- Financial Analysis
- Debarment and Suspension Certification
- Drug-Free Workplace Certification
- Lobbying Certification
- Seat Belt Use by Government Contractors, Subcontractors, and Grantees
- Tribal Eligibility-Government Discount Airfare
- Policy on Making Awards
Block and formula grants may be awarded to States or units of local government and nonprofit organizations, based upon statutory authority. (See appropriate program guidelines for eligibility.) Discretionary awards may be awarded to States, units of local government, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, individuals, educational institutions, hospitals, and private nonprofit and private commercial organizations (if legislation allows) at the discretion of the awarding agency.
Programmatic and technical requirements relating to block and formula grant applications are contained in block and formula grant guidelines available from the awarding agency. The awarding agency announces the programs which it has developed for funding under its discretionary award program in the Federal Register. A compilation of available assistance programs may also be found in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
CERTIFIED ASSURANCES (NONDISCRIMINATION REQUIREMENTS)
Applicants must assure and certify that they comply, and assure the compliance of their subrecipients, with all applicable civil rights nondiscrimination requirements as set forth on the OJP Assurances Form 4000/3 (Attachment to Standard Form [SF] 424).
In the event that a Federal or State court or Federal or State administrative agency makes a finding of discrimination after a due process hearing on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability against a recipient of Federal funds, or any subgrantee or contractor of that recipient, a copy of such findings must be forwarded to OJP, Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
All recipients and their subrecipients must also provide OCR with an Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, if required to maintain one, where the award is $500,000 or more.
If the State has established a process for the review of Federal programs and activities eligible under Executive Order 12372 and a particular program has been selected for review by the State, applicants for the program must submit a copy of their application to the State "single point of contact" prior to or at the same time that the application is submitted to the awarding agency. Additional information concerning this requirement is contained in the individual program announcements.
NOTE: The awarding agency is required to assure that awards meet certain legislative, regulatory, and administrative requirements. This agency's policy is to provide assurance that awards are only for allowable, allocable, fair, and reasonable costs. Awards must be made only to eligible recipients. Applicants must possess the responsibility, financial management, fiscal integrity, and financial capability necessary to adequately and appropriately administer Federal funds. The awarding agency follows the requirements stipulated in the administrative requirements for grants and agreements that are codified at 28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 66 and 70. In complying with these requirements, the awarding agency will perform the following procedure:
An examination of the Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) is conducted to determine:
- Type of Applicant. An example is a new applicant (an organization that has not had an active award within the last 3 fiscal years, individual, not-for-profit (NPO), for profit, State, or local unit of government, etc.).
- High-Risk Applicant. When an applicant is considered high risk by one Bureau/Program Office, then all other OJP components must consider the applicant high risk. For example, if the Bureau of Justice Assistance were to consider an applicant as high risk, and require that progress reports be submitted more frequently, then other OJP components, such as the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime, must also consider the applicant as high risk. OJP will designate a grantee as high risk if the grantee: 1) has a history of unsatisfactory performance; 2) is not financially stable; 3) has an accounting system that does not meet the standards set forth in 28 C.F.R. § 66.20 (standards for financial management systems); 4) has not conformed to the terms and conditions of previous awards; 5) is otherwise not responsible; 6) has an open single audit or Office of the Inspector (OIG) audit report recommendations that have been open for more than a year, whereby an adequate corrective action plan has not been submitted by the grantee to OJP; 7) is not responsive to requests from OJP to address open single audit or OIG grant audit report recommendations; 8) has significant noncompliance issues that were identified through the normal grant administration process (i.e., financial or programmatic monitoring); 9) is subject to an OIG investigation where grant noncompliance issues were noted that require corrective action; 10) is listed on the list of grantees that are currently barred from receiving funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and/or 11) was referred to the Department of Treasury under the Treasury Offset Program, for collection of grant funds owed to OJP.
OJP may also impose additional restrictions on awards to grant recipients designated as high risk.
- Accuracy of Taxpayer Identification Number. The employer identification number (EIN) may be reassigned for individuals and/or business entities to track awards.
- Applicant Federal Debt. The SF-424 includes a question about whether there is Federal debt. That question applies to the organization requesting the financial assistance, not the person who signs the application as the authorized representative of the organization. Categories of debt include delinquent audit disallowances, loans, and taxes.
- Financial Capability. When the applicant is a nongovernmental entity and if there has been no history with OJP within 3 years, a financial capability questionnaire will be provided to the applicant. This questionnaire should be submitted to the awarding agency before the award is made.
- Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System. All grant applicants must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for Federal grants and cooperative agreements (initial or supplemental awards). Organizations may receive a DUNS number at no cost, by calling the toll-free DUNS number request line at 1-866-705-5711. Individuals who apply for grant awards or cooperative agreements from the Federal Government are exempt from this requirement.
- Central Contractor Registration. Effective 2009, all current and potential grant recipients that apply for assistance from the Federal Government through Grants.gov must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database as well. The CCR is the primary registrant database for the U.S. Federal Government and registrants are required to complete a one-time registration. Registrants must update or renew their registration at least once per year to maintain an active status. The CCR collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions, including Federal agency contract and assistance awards. The term "assistance awards" includes grants, cooperative agreements, and other forms of Federal assistance.
FEDERAL DEBT (OMB CIRCULAR A-129)The awarding agency holds recipients accountable for any overpayment, audit disallowances, or any other breach of award that results in a debt owed to the Federal Government. The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 states that if, after written notification, grantee payments continue to be delinquent, the debt will be referred to a collection agency or Department of the Treasury for further action. The awarding agency shall apply interest, penalties, and administrative costs to a delinquent debt owed by a debtor pursuant to the Federal Claims Collection Standards and OMB Circular A-129, Policies for Federal Credit Programs and Non-Tax Receivables.
The analysis of project applications includes:
- Performing a cost analysis of each project application considered for funding by the awarding agency. Cost analysis includes obtaining cost breakdowns, verifying cost data, evaluating specific elements of cost, and examining data to determine the necessity, reasonableness, allowability, allocability, and appropriateness of the proposed cost. The form and extent of such an analysis will be determined by the awarding agency.
- Accepting current indirect cost rates approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, or rates approved by other Federal agencies. If applicants do not have an approved rate, they must submit an indirect cost proposal to their cognizant Federal agency.
- Determining the adequacy of the applicant's accounting system and operations to ensure that Federal funds, if awarded, will be expended in a judicious manner. Where a nongovernmental applicant (except public colleges, universities, and hospitals) has never received an award, the organization's accounting system should be reviewed prior to award or within a reasonable time thereafter to assure its adequacy and acceptability. This review should also apply where known financial or management deficiencies exist. The results of the review will determine the action to be taken by the awarding agency with regard to the award. Where an applicant has had prior awards, outstanding audit issues and delinquent audit, financial, or progress reports must be resolved prior to awarding additional discretionary funds.
- Reviewing credit reports, delinquency status of Federal debt, and other prescreening information. The awarding agency will consider such information when considering the application for award.
DEBARMENT AND SUSPENSION CERTIFICATION
This certification must be completed prior to recommendation for or against an award. The government-wide common rule for debarment and suspension, 28 CFR Part 67, provides guidance on requirements that recipients shall meet in order to receive Federal funds.
- Title 28 of the CFR Part 67 provides that executive departments and agencies shall participate in a system for debarment and suspension from programs and activities involving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits. Debarment or suspension of a participant in a program by one agency has government-wide effect. It is the policy of the Federal Government to conduct business only with responsible persons, and these guidelines will assist agencies in carrying out this policy.
- Certification Regarding Lobbying: Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (OJP Form 4061/6). Certifications must be completed and submitted by recipients of discretionary awards to the awarding agency's program offices during the application stage. Block/formula recipients are exempt from submission of this certification but are responsible for monitoring subrecipient submissions of the lower tier certification (OJP Form 4061/1) and for maintaining them at the State level.
- Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility, and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions (OJP Form 4061/1 or like form). This requirement includes persons, corporations, etc., that have critical influence on or substantive control over the award. The direct recipient will be responsible for monitoring the submission and maintaining the official subrecipient certifications.
In summary, the debarment and suspension common rule requires that both recipients and their subrecipients certify they will comply with the debarment and suspension common rule. Subcontractors are not required to certify if their subaward is less than $100,000.
DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE CERTIFICATION
This certification must be submitted prior to recommendation for or against an award. The government-wide common rule for drug-free workplace, 28 CFR Part 83, provides guidance on requirements that recipients shall meet in order to receive Federal funds.
Subpart F of 28 CFR Part 83 implements the statutory requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. All recipients receiving awards from any Federal agency shall certify to that agency that they will maintain a drug-free workplace. A recipient who is an individual shall certify to the agency that his or her conduct of award activity will be drug free. If a recipient makes a false certification, the recipient is subject to suspension, termination, and debarment.
- The State agency responsible for administering the block/formula award shall submit a drug-free workplace certification to the awarding agency and shall be responsible for obtaining a drug-free workplace certification from each State agency that is subawarded funds. Subrecipients that are not State agencies are not required to submit a drug-free workplace certification.
- A recipient is required to make the required certification for each award. The one exception to this rule is that a recipient which is a State, including a State agency, may elect to make a single annual certification to each awarding agency from which it obtains awards, rather than making a separate certification for each award or workplace. Only one such annual certification needs to be made to each Federal agency which will cover all of that State agency's workplaces.
- There are two different certifications: one for individuals and one for organizations. The individual recipient certifies that he or she will not engage in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in conducting any activity with the award. The organizational recipient certifies that it will provide a drug-free workplace by:
- Publishing a statement notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the recipient's workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibition.
- Establishing a drug-free awareness program to inform employees about:
(1.) The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace;
(2.) The recipient's policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
(3.) Any available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and
(4.) The penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace.
- Making it a requirement that each employee to be engaged in the performance of the award be given a copy of the employer's statement about drugs in the workplace.
- Notifying the employee that, as a condition of employment under the award, the employee will:
(1.) Abide by the terms of the statement; and
(2.) Notify the employer of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace not later than 5 days after such conviction.
- Notifying the awarding agency within 10 days after receiving notice from an employee or otherwise receiving actual notice of such conviction.
- Taking one of the following actions, within 30 days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee who is so convicted:
(1.) Taking appropriate personnel action against such an employee, up to and including termination; or
(2.) Requiring such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a Federal, State, or local health, law enforcement, or other appropriate agency.
- Making a good faith effort to continue to maintain a drug-free workplace.
In summary, the drug-free workplace common rule requires that ONLY direct recipients of Federal awards certify they will comply with the drug-free workplace common rule. There is no dollar threshold for certification.
This certification must be submitted prior to recommendation for or against an award. U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) codification of the government-wide common rule for restrictions on lobbying, 28 CFR Part 69, provides guidance on requirements that recipients shall meet in order to receive Federal funds. (See also discussion on Lobbying; Part III: Postaward Requirements, Chapter 16: Unallowable Costs).
The following restrictions on lobbying are applicable to all recipients and subrecipients (in addition to the restrictions imposed by recent revisions to 18 United States Code [U.S.C.] 1913). Interim Final Guidance for New Restrictions on Lobbying was published in the Federal Register in December 1989. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 included amendments that have an impact on the guidance provided in 1989. Per 31 U.S.C. 1352, the restrictions on lobbying are as follows:
- No federally appropriated funds may be expended by the recipient of a Federal award, cooperative agreement, or contract to pay a person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with any of the following covered Federal actions: the awarding of any Federal contract; the making of any Federal grant; the entering into of any cooperative agreement; and the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, or cooperative agreement.
- Each person who requests or receives from an agency an initial Federal contract, award, or cooperative agreement (including subcontracts, subawards, and contracts under cooperative agreements) exceeding $100,000 shall file with that agency a certification regarding lobbying. The certification shall be submitted to the agency making the award. Each person is certifying that:
- He/she has not made and will not make any payment for a lobbying activity.
- If any non-Federal funds have been paid or will be paid to any person, he/she will complete and submit a "Disclosure of Lobbying Activities" form (Disclosure Form).
- The language of this certification will be included in his/her award documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts, subawards and contracts under awards, and cooperative agreements), and all subrecipients shall certify and disclose accordingly.
- Each person, if applicable, shall submit the Disclosure Form to the agency making the award. The recipient or subrecipient is responsible for reporting lobbying activities of its employees if the employee's tenure is less than 130 working days within 1 year immediately preceding the date of the recipient's or subrecipient's application or proposal submission.
- A subrecipient who requests or receives Federal funds exceeding $100,000 shall be required to file with the agency making the award a certification and a Disclosure Form, if applicable. All certifications shall be maintained by the agency making the award and all Disclosure Forms shall be forwarded from tier to tier until received by the Federal agency making the award. That agency shall forward all Disclosure Forms to the awarding agency. The Disclosure Form shall contain the following information:
(1.) Name and address of reporting entity;
(2.) Federal program name;
(3.) Federal award number;
(4.) Federal award amount; and
(5.) Name and address of lobbying registrant.
- Each person shall file a Disclosure Form at the end of each calendar quarter in which there occurs any event that requires disclosure or that materially affects the accuracy of the information contained in any Disclosure Form previously filed by such persons. Examples of such events are:
- A cumulative increase of $25,000 or more in the amount paid or expected to be paid for influencing or attempting to influence a covered Federal action;
- A change in the person(s) or individual(s) influencing or attempting to influence a covered Federal action; or
- A change in the officer(s), employee(s), or member(s) contacted to influence or attempt to influence a covered Federal action.
- Penalties and enforcement of lobbying restrictions shall be as follows:
- Any person who makes an expenditure prohibited by the New Restrictions on Lobbying shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such expenditure.
- Any person who fails to file or amend the Disclosure Form to be filed or amended, if required, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 for each such failure.
In summary, the common rule for lobbying requires that recipients and their subrecipients certify they will comply with the lobbying common rule. This requirement is only for awards made exceeding $100,000. (See Part III, Chapter 16: Unallowable Costs, for cost restrictions relating to lobbying).
In order to comply with the certification requirements provided in the common rules for lobbying, drug-free workplace, and suspension and debarment (so that recipients do not have to sign three certifications), we have combined them into OJP Form 4061/6, entitled "Certifications Regarding Lobbying; Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements".
SEAT BELT USE BY GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS, SUBCONTRACTORS, AND GRANTEES
Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 402 and 403, and 29 U.S.C. 668, each recipient agency of Federal contracts, subcontracts, and grants shall encourage adoption and enforcement of on-the-job seat belt policies and programs for its employees, contractors, and subrecipients when operating company-owned, rented, or personally owned vehicles.
TRIBAL ELIGIBILITY-GOVERNMENT DISCOUNT AIRFARE
Tribal organizations carrying out a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement are eligible to have access to Federal sources of supply, including lodging providers, airlines, and other transportation providers. Section 201(a) of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, 40 U.S.C. 481(a), indicates that employees of tribal organizations are eligible to have access to sources of supply on the same basis as employees of an executive agency if a request is made by the tribal organization.
POLICY ON MAKING AWARDS
This agency may not make an award to any applicant who has an overdue audit report or an open audit report where the recipient has not attempted to respond or has taken no action to resolve findings. Every applicant for funding is on notice that unless they are in compliance with the audit requirements, their application may be rejected. Exceptions to this policy are by recommendation of the Chief Financial Officer, OJP, to the awarding agency.
 The awarding agency may assign a vendor number for administrative purpose only. In certain circumstances, an arbitrary vendor EIN will be assigned, for example, awards made directly to subunits of Government which need an identifier distinct from that of their parent agency.