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DOJ Grants Financial Guide

II. Preaward requirements

Eligibility requirements for block, formula, and discretionary awards can be found in the grant program solicitations contained in awarding agency program announcements, notices of funding opportunities (i.e., discretionary grant program solicitations), or other awarding agency program documents.

  • Block and formula awards:  Generally, States, territories, and sometimes Indian tribes and units of local government are eligible for awards under the Department of Justice (DOJ's) various block and formula grant programs. Specific eligibility criteria for each program are set forth in the program's governing statute and rules.
  • Discretionary awards:  DOJ may award funds under its discretionary grant programs to some or all of the following types of recipients, depending on authorizing legislation and selected program strategies:  States, units of local government, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, institutions of higher education, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, and (in limited circumstances) individuals.
  • OVW Eligibility Guide:  The OVW Program Plan Chart is intended to assist potential OVW applicants to identify programs for which they are eligible to apply. Application packages can be found at Grants.gov application download. Applications that are submitted by non-eligible entities will be removed from consideration during the initial review process.

For programmatic and technical requirements relating to block and formula award applications, contact the DOJ grant-making component to request program guidelines.

DOJ grant-making components announce competitive discretionary and formula/block program funding opportunities via Grants.gov. Applications for competitive discretionary programs are submitted through Grants.gov; however, the COPS Office has an additional step where their applications are submitted directly in the COPS Office Online Application System. Applications for OJP and OVW non-competitive discretionary and formula/block opportunities are directly submitted to the Grants Management System (GMS). A collection of available assistance programs can be found in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance published by the U.S. General Services Administration. To view each grant-making component's available programs, visit the websites below:

Non-discrimination assurance: Applicants must assure and certify, on the applicable awarding agency assurance form, compliance with all civil rights nondiscrimination requirements. These assurances and certifications are made by signing an assurances form that addresses various cross-cutting federal requirements, including those prohibiting unlawful discrimination. The applicable form typically is referenced in the program solicitation, and signed during the application process (electronically for most programs).

Office for Civil Rights: The DOJ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) ensures that recipients of financial assistance from OJP, OVW, and COPS Office comply with federal laws that prohibit discrimination in both employment and the delivery of services or benefits based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability. In addition, federal law prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of age in the delivery of services or benefits. Recipients of financial assistance from OVW are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, either in employment or in the delivery of services or benefits. For more information see the OCR website.

Discrimination findings: In the event of a finding of discrimination, send a copy of the hearing findings to OCR. This applies to recipients of Federal funds if a Federal or State court or administrative agency finds through a due process hearing that a recipient, subrecipient, or contractor, has unlawfully discriminated.

Other civil rights requirements: Depending on the size of the organization, how much federal funding is received, and the program under which funds are received, recipients (and subrecipients in certain cases) may be required to submit an Equal Employment Opportunity Plan to OCR. If awarded Federal funds, more specific information on civil rights compliance, including requirements regarding submission of Equal Employment Opportunity Plan will be provided in the award documents. For additional information see Equal Employment Opportunity Plans.

Intergovernmental review is a process described in Executive Order 12372 [PDF - 12 Kb], through which governments at the State and local levels coordinate in the review of proposed Federal financial assistance and direct Federal development.

For those DOJ grant programs that are subject to Executive Order 12372, applicants must access the Intergovernmental Review Single Point of Contact List ("SPOC List") to find out about and, as applicable, comply with the applicant's State process under Executive Order 12372. As part of the grant application process, to complete the SF-424, applicants must make the appropriate selection (and provide any required information) in response to the question, "Is Application Subject to Review by State Under Executive Order 12372 Process?"

To determine if a DOJ program is subject to Executive Order 12372, look in the notice of funding opportunity (program solicitation) or program announcement, check the program's CFDA entry, or contact the DOJ awarding agency.

Applicants for DOJ funding can submit applications online through either the federal grants portal Grants.Gov (www.grants.gov), the DOJ's Grants Management System (GMS) (https://grants.ojp.usdoj.gov), or the COPS Office Agency Portal (https://portal.cops.usdoj.gov). Each program solicitation will specify which system should be used for that program, and will contain detailed technical instructions on how to register with the system and apply for funding. Applicants for OJP and OVW formula/block funding, earmarked funding, and some continuation (supplemental) funding, are generally required to register and create a profile in GMS.

Applicants for competitive funding are generally required to register in Grants.Gov. It is best to register well in advance of the application deadline, as processing registration into these systems may take some time (in most cases, approximately one week).

Most DOJ discretionary grant solicitations require, at a minimum, a number of elements. These generally include the Standard Form 424 (SF-424 - Application for Federal Assistance), a program narrative, budget detail worksheet and budget narrative. There also are a number of certifications that may be required, and other elements as specified in the program announcement.

COPS Specific Tip

The COPS Office might not require a budget detail worksheet with the application submittal process. Refer to the specific award program Application Guide.

Financial Management Tip

Note regarding SF-424 question regarding determination of applicant type: Applicants must specify what type of entity they are on the SF-424. Generally, applicants for DOJ grants are one of the following types of entities: States, units of local government, Indian tribes or units of tribal government, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, and (in limited circumstances) individuals. It is possible to select other applicant types, as appropriate.

DOJ awarding agencies are required to ensure that awards meet certain legislative, regulatory, and administrative requirements. This requires that each DOJ awarding agency review and assess each application to determine the following:

  • The applicant is eligible for the specified program.
  • The costs and activities in the application are for allowable, allocable, necessary, and reasonable costs.
  • The applicant possesses the responsibility, financial management, fiscal integrity, and financial capability to administer Federal funds adequately and appropriately.

Applicant Type

Examples of types of applicants include, but are not limited to:

  • Nonprofit organization – Some DOJ programs may require that an organization have 501(c)(3) status (as described in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code)
  • For-profit organization (including organizations designated as small businesses)
  • State
  • Unit of local government
  • Tribe
  • Institution of higher education
  • Courts
  • Individuals (in limited circumstances)

Pre-Award Risk Assessment

DOJ is required to review and assess the potential risks presented by applicants for Federal grants prior to making an award (2 C.F.R. § 200.205). DOJ will use a variety of factors which may include financial capabilities and past performance in a risk-based approach. To facilitate part of the risk assessment, all DOJ applications (other than an individual) are required to complete a questionnaire to assess their financial capability and submit it to DOJ before they can be approved for an award.

DOJ High-Risk Grantee Designation

The DOJ's High-Risk Grantee Designation Policy was formally approved on January 6, 2012, and was adopted by its three primary grant-making components:  the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). OJP's Office of Audit, Assessment, and Management (OAAM) is charged with administering the high-risk grantee process on behalf of DOJ. When an applicant is designated as high-risk by the OAAM, all DOJ grant-making components must consider the applicant as high-risk.

The purpose of the high-risk policy is to provide DOJ with a means of continuing to fund much needed criminal justice programs benefiting communities across the U.S., while maintaining proper stewardship of Federal funds and mitigating risk in the administration of DOJ-funded grant programs. It is important to note that high-risk grantees are not prohibited from applying for or receiving new awards from DOJ. However, high-risk grantees are managed and monitored closely, and any new awards these grantees receive are subject to additional restrictions, typically imposed through the inclusion of high-risk special conditions. Such conditions may be imposed not just at the beginning of a grant, but at any time throughout the period of the grant, if appropriate.

In general, a recipient may be designated as high-risk if any of the following apply to the recipient:

Under DOJ's policy, recipients may be designated as high-risk automatically, or as a result of a referral to OAAM from sources such as a DOJ grant-making component or other federal grant-making organization.

  • High-risk referrals can be made by any DOJ personnel who works with grants, and can result from a wide variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
    • issues identified during grant programmatic or financial monitoring reviews, budget reviews, financial capability reviews, etc.;
    • concerns noted during the routine administration of grants;
    • audits/investigative issues;
    • complaints by recipient personnel, third parties, and/or the media, etc.
  • Automatic high-risk designations are made by DOJ if any of the following conditions apply:
    • Recipient has audit reports with recommendation(s) that have been open for more than one year, and has not submitted documentation adequate to close the recommendation(s).
    • Recipient has not provided a corrective action plan to the DOJ within 105 days of transmission of the audit report to the recipient.
    • Recipient has audit reports with questioned costs in excess of $500,000 (regardless of the amount of time the audit report has been open).
    • Recipient has been referred to the Department of Treasury for collection because of their failure to timely repay funds owed on a DOJ award.
    • Recipient has been placed on the COPS Restricted Grantees List due to non-compliance with a previous COPS award(s).
    • Recipient has been recommended for government-wide suspension or debarment by a DOJ office or component.

If high-risk grantees do not comply with the additional conditions/restrictions imposed, or fail to make timely progress in addressing the issues that resulted in their high-risk designation, DOJ can consider more substantial sanctions, such as:  freezing funds on current DOJ awards; termination of existing awards; barring the grantee from receiving future DOJ grants; and/or recommending the grantee for (non-procurement) government-wide suspension or debarment.

Audit Issues

  • DOJ may choose not to approve an applicant for an award if the applicant has an overdue audit report, an open audit report that has not been responded to, or if the applicant has not tried to resolve the issues identified in the audit.
  • Failure to comply with audit requirements may cause an application to be rejected, or funds to be withheld until audit compliance is achieved.

Verification of Taxpayer Identification Number

  • DOJ may verify the employer identification number (EIN) provided on the application.
  • DOJ may assign a vendor number very similar to the recipient's EIN. This is done to ensure that a sub-agency within a governmental organization which receives awards directly will have a separate identifier from that of the parent agency.
  • For example, a State government has any EIN that is 123456777. A police department within the State applies for and receives an award from DOJ. Since the EIN is the same, a DOJ vendor number of 123456778 will be assigned in order to make the police department as a sub-agency within that State government.

Review of Applicant Federal Debt

The SF-424 asks if the applicant is delinquent on any Federal debt.

  • The applicant is the organization that is requesting Federal assistance, not the person who signs the application as the authorized representative of the organization.
  • Federal debt includes delinquent audit disallowances, loans, taxes, and any outstanding debts with the Treasury.

Confirmation of Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System Number

All recipients must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for Federal awards and cooperative agreements (initial or supplemental awards) (2 C.F.R. Part 25 - Universal Identifier and System of Award Management).

  • An organization can obtain 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.

Confirmation of Listing in System for Award Management

The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), Federal Agency Registration (FedReg), the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA), and the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS). It became operational in August 2012. Recipients must have registered their DUNS in www.SAM.gov in order to receive an award.

  • SAM collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data on organizations to help agencies in their acquisition missions, including Federal agency contract and assistance awards. The term "assistance awards" includes grants, cooperative agreements, and other forms of Federal assistance.
  • SAM registrations must be updated or renewed at least once per year to maintain an active status. SAM will send notifications to the registered user via email 60, 30, and 15 days prior to the expiration of the record.
  • It takes 2 to 3 days for SAM to complete record updates. Notification will be made via email when the process is complete and the record is active in SAM.
  • If an organization is new to doing business with the Federal Government, the initial registration in SAM takes up to 5 days to become active. Registration with SAM requires a DUNS number and the entity's Tax ID number (TIN).
  • Organizations must maintain an "active" registration in www.SAM.gov for the entire period of the award.

DOJ will complete a financial review of the grant application to ensure that recipients are financially capable and have the financial integrity to administer Federal funds. As part of this review, each grant-making component will take all of the following steps:

  • Perform a cost analysis of the project (may not be applicable to some formula programs).
  • Obtain cost breakdowns, verify cost data, evaluate specific elements of cost, and examine data to determine the necessity, reasonableness, allowability, allocability, and appropriateness of the proposed cost.
  • Review the current indirect cost rates approved by DOJ or rates approved by other Federal agencies.
    • If the indirect cost rate has expired, the rate must be negotiated with the cognizant Federal agency. A current negotiated cost rate may be extended for up to four years. Once the cognizant agency has approved the extension, the rate must be used for the entire agreed-upon time period. No further negotiations regarding indirect cost rates may occur until the extension has expired. At the end of the extension period a new indirect cost rate must be negotiated. Subsequent one-time extensions for up to four years are permitted if a renegotiation is completed between each extension request.
    • Non-Federal entities that have never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in Appendix VII to 2 C.F.R. Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals, may elect to negotiate a rate or, if eligible, charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely.
  • Determine the adequacy of the accounting system and operations to ensure that Federal funds, if awarded, will be expended in a reasonable manner.
  • Non-Federal entities that have not received an award within the past 3 years may require an additional financial review.
  • Review the status of any Federal debt that the applicant may have to ensure the debt is not delinquent, and other prescreening information, including checking SAM to ensure the organization is not suspended or debarred from receiving Federal funds.

DOJ requires all award applicants to certify certain conditions prior to submitting an application or before accepting an award. In order to comply with the certification requirements provided in the common rules, OJP/OVW applicants must complete and submit Form 4061/6 [PDF - 17 Kb] entitled "Certification Regarding Lobbying; Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; and Drug-Free Workplace Requirements.; and Coordination with Affected Agencies." For the COPS Office applicants must complete and submit the "COPS Office Certification" entitled "Certification Regarding Lobby; Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; Federal Taxes and Assessments; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements; and Coordination with Affected Agencies."

Debarment and Suspension Certification

Debarment and suspension certification requires that agencies establish and implement procedures to ensure that Federal assistance is not awarded to entities that are prohibited from receiving Federal funds. Those procedures should include a review of information in SAM regarding exclusion status. Such procedures help the Federal government and recipients to conduct business only with responsible persons.

  • This certification must be completed and submitted to each grant-making component during the application review process.
  • The Government-wide guidelines for debarment and suspension are codified in 2 C.F.R. Part 180 and adopted by DOJ, via 2 C.F.R. Part 2867 in subparts A through I, as its policies and procedures for non-procurement debarment and suspension.
  • Debarment or suspension of a participant in a program by one agency has a Government-wide effect.

Responsibilities for prospective block/formula recipients:

  • Recipients are responsible for monitoring subrecipient submissions of the OJP Form 4061/1, "Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion—Lower Tier Covered Transactions (Sub-Recipient)," and for maintaining these submissions at the State level.

Responsibilities for individuals or corporations with critical influence or high levels of control over the prospective award:

  • Recipients that fall into this category must complete OJP Form 4061/6 [PDF - 17 kb] (or a similar form).
  • Recipients are responsible for monitoring the submission and maintaining the official subrecipient certifications.
  • Subrecipients are not required to complete certification if their subaward is less than $100,000.

Drug-Free Workplace Certification

All applicants must meet the requirements in Title 28 C.F.R. Part 83 in order to receive Federal funds. Title 28 C.F.R. Part 83 implements the statutory requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

Organizations applying for a Federal award must certify that a drug-free workplace will be maintained. Organizations that make a false certification are subject to suspension, termination, and debarment. All applicants are required to certify, regardless of award amount.

Additional requirements:

  • Direct recipients of Federal discretionary awards must certify compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.
  • State agencies that administer block/formula awards:
    • Must submit this certification to the awarding agency.
    • Must obtain certification from each State agency that is subawarded funds.
    • Subrecipients that are not a State agency are not required to submit the certification.
  • Applicants with more than one prospective award are required to submit a certification for each award.
  • There is one exception to the rule: a State, including a State agency, may submit a single annual certification to each awarding agency rather than one for each award.

There are different certifications for individuals and organizations:

  • Individuals must certify that engagement in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in conducting any activity with the award will not occur.
  • Organizations must certify a drug-free workplace will be provided by ensuring the following:
    • Publish a statement notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or uses of a controlled substance are prohibited in the workplace and specify that actions will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibition.
    • Establish a drug-free awareness program to make employees aware of:
      • The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace;
      • The policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace;
      • Any available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and
      • The penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace.
    • Require that each employee engaged in the performance of the award be given a copy of the employer's statement about drugs in the workplace.
    • Notify the employee that, as a condition of employment under the award, he or she must:
      • Abide by the terms of the statement; and
      • Notify the employer of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace not later than 5 days after such conviction.
    • Notify the awarding agency within 10 days after receiving notice from an employee or otherwise receiving actual notice of such conviction.
    • Take one of the following actions, within 30 days of receiving notice, with respect to any employee who is so convicted:
      • Take appropriate personnel action against such an employee, up to and including termination; or
      • Require the 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.

Lobbying Certification

This certification must be completed prior to submitting an application or before accepting an award. Guidance on lobbying certification and restrictions can be found in Title 28 C.F.R. Part 69. These restrictions on lobbying apply to all recipients and subrecipients.

Additional restrictions on lobbying applicable to all recipients and subrecipients are:

In addition to the restrictions above, recipients are required to adhere to restrictions on lobbying included in 31 U.S.C. § 1352. These restrictions include the following:

  • Recipients of a Federal grant, cooperative agreement, or contract cannot use Federal funds 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;
    • The extension, continuation, renewal, amendment, or modification of any Federal contract, grant, or cooperative agreement.
  • Individuals who receive an initial Federal grant, contract, or cooperative agreement of more than $100,000, must submit a Lobbying Certification to that awarding agency certifying that:
    • Payments have not been made and will not be made for a lobbying activity;
    • If non-Federal funds have been used or will be used to pay anyone for lobbying activities, then a Disclosure of Lobbying Activities form will be submitted;
    • The information from this certification will be included in the award documents for all subawards at all tiers (including subcontracts, subawards and contracts under awards, and cooperative agreements), and all subrecipients must provide certification and disclosure;
    • The disclosure form will be submitted to the awarding agency;
    • Recipients and subrecipients are responsible for reporting lobbying activities of employees if the employee's tenure is less than 130 working days within 1 year immediately preceding the date of the application or proposal submission; and
    • Subrecipients who request or receive Federal funds exceeding $100,000 will submit a certification and a disclosure form to the awarding agency.

All certifications will be maintained by the awarding agency and all disclosure forms will be forwarded from tier to tier until received by DOJ. 

The disclosure form must contain the following information:

  • Name and address of reporting entity;
  • Federal program name;
  • Federal award number;
  • Federal award amount;
  • Name and address of lobbying registrant.

If an event occurs that requires disclosure or materially affects the accuracy of the information contained in any disclosure form previously filed, then a disclosure form must be filed at the end of each quarter. The following examples of such events are provided below:

  • 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.
  • 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 will be as follows:

  • Organizations making an expenditure prohibited by the restrictions on lobbying will be subject to a civil penalty of $10,000 to $100,000 for each expenditure.
  • Failure to file or amend the disclosure form as required will result in a civil penalty of $10,000 to $100,000 for each such failure.

See Chapter 13: Unallowable Costs for cost restrictions relating to lobbying.

Federal Government contractors, subcontractors, award recipients, or subrecipients are encouraged to enforce policies that require employees, contractors, or subrecipients to wear seat belts when driving company-owned, rented, or personal vehicles while on the job. For the Federal policy on seat belt use, refer to the Highway Safety Act.

Federal Government contractors, subcontractors, award recipients, or subrecipients are encouraged to enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned, rented, or Government-owned vehicles; while driving privately owned vehicles when on official Government business; or when performing any work for or on behalf of the Government. For more on this topic, see Federal policy on reducing text messaging while driving [PDF - 57 Kb].

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.

After applications have gone through the review process and have been approved, the next step in this process is award notification. Here are the details:

  • The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) send award notifications by email through the Grants Management System (GMS) to the individuals listed in the application as the point of contact and the authorizing official.
  • GMS automatically issues the notifications at 9:00 p.m. eastern time on the award date.
  • The email notification includes detailed instructions on how to access and view the award documents and how to accept the award in GMS.
  • The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) sends award notifications by email to the law enforcement and government executives (and financial official if applicable) listed in the application.
  • The email notification contains information on how to access and view the award on the COPS Agency Portal
  • The COPS Office provides detailed instructions for accepting the award in the COPS Grant and Award Owner's Manuals available through the COPS Office website.

The award document serves as the official document binding the recipient and DOJ to the grant agreement. A sample award document is included in Appendix I. It includes the name of the recipient, project title, award period, budget period, type of Federal funds (grants and cooperative agreements), amount of Federal funds, award number, and special conditions that must be met during the award period.

ACTION ITEM

Recipients have 45 days from the award date to accept the OJP or OVW award document or the award may be rescinded. The COPS Office awards have a 90-day acceptance time frame.

To accept an award from OJP or OVW, log into GMS and designate a Financial Point of Contact (FPOC). Instructions for designating a FPOC can be found in the GMS User Guide.

Here are some important points about the FPOC:

  • The FPOC must be the individual(s) the recipient has designated as responsible for the financial administration of the award.
  • He or she may be the same as the Point of Contact (POC). Alternatively, the FPOC may be one or more separate individuals designated by the recipient.
  • The designation of the FPOC must be completed in GMS before the award acceptance documents can be printed.

Once the FPOC has been designated, recipients should:

  • Review the award document carefully.
  • Have the award document signed and dated by the authorized recipient official designated in the application to indicate full acceptance of all terms and conditions.  The name of this person is preprinted on the award document.  (Please follow the instructions provided in the award notification.)

OJP and OVW will accept either a scanned physically signed document, or an electronically signed document (as stated in the instructions provided in the award notification).

To accept an award from the COPS Office, log into the COPS Agency Portal, located on the Account Access tab on the COPS Office website at www.cops.usdoj.gov,  to retrieve the award package.  Follow the instructions for accepting and signing an award.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

  • For OJP or OVW, if the name of the person accepting the award is not the name preprinted on the award document, then the recipient must submit a Grant Adjustment Notice (GAN) to explain the reason for the change. Submission of the GAN is done through the GMS. The award acceptance document will be rejected if it is signed by anyone other than the authorizing recipient official named on the award document unless a GAN has been approved.
  • For the COPS Office, if the name of the person accepting the award is not the name preprinted on the award document, then the recipient will need to submit a Change of Information form in the COPS Agency Portal and notify their program manager or grant program specialist, who will regenerate the award document.

Do not make any changes to the award document! Doing so will make it null and void.

To accept an OJP award, the signed award document and the special conditions should be submitted to the OCFO Control Desk via email to [email protected]

To accept an OVW award, the signed award document and the special conditions should be submitted to OVW via email to [email protected]

To accept an award from the COPS Office, the signed award document and the special conditions must be signed electronically in the COPS Agency Portal.

ACTION ITEM

Select only one submission method to avoid duplicate submissions. The original signed award document should be retained by the award recipient in its official award file.

To decline the award, please contact the program manager identified in the award to discuss the reasons for this decision. No Federal funds will be disbursed to a recipient until DOJ has received the signed award document indicating acceptance of the award and all special conditions.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

Direct questions concerning award notification and acceptance to the appropriate  DOJ contact(s).

Special conditions are terms and conditions that are included with the award. Special conditions may include additional requirements covering areas such as programmatic and financial reporting, prohibited uses of Federal funds, consultant rates, changes in key personnel, and proper disposition of program income.

Some special conditions may be based on the program or the nature of the award itself. Regardless of the program office or the award, there are several mandatory special conditions that will be included on any DOJ award. A list of all the mandatory special conditions for each DOJ grant-making component is available at the following links:

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

Failure to comply with special conditions may result in withholding of funds, suspension, or termination, as appropriate.

When an award is approved, the Federal agency that is granting the award will reserve (set aside) the amount of the money provided under the award and record the obligation in its accounting system. Any funds or monies that are set-aside funds are reserved against the award until all of these funds are spent.

If the funds are not used within statutory or other time limits, the funds that were set aside will revert back to DOJ or the awarding agency through de-obligation of the unused balance.

Funding process:

  • On the award date, notification is made of award approval and obligation, as described previously.
  • Once an award has been accepted, in order to receive payment of funds obligated in DOJ's accounting system, recipients must be in compliance with the special conditions listed in the award document as well as with all reporting requirements.
  • All recipients are required to submit the SF-425 (also known as the Federal Financial Report or FFR) for each award on a quarterly basis for the life of the grant. A copy of the FFR is located in Appendix II.
  • All recipients are required to submit performance/progress reports. Recipients should review their award conditions to determine the frequency.
  • Funds will not be disbursed if reports are delinquent.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

If the award date is after the start date of the award period, the first FFR submitted to DOJ should cover the time period from the actual start date of the award to the end of the calendar quarter.  Recipients will be required to submit FFRs for all due dates which have passed upon acceptance of the award. For example, an award's period of performance is October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. The recipient is awarded the grant on October 20, 2017. The first FFR covers the period from October 20, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

Before starting draw down and spend the award funds, an Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) form must be completed and submitted. This form will have banking information on it, which enables award funds to be electronically transferred to the recipient's bank account.

ACTION ITEM

The completed ACH form that is required to be submitted can be signed electronically or with physical ink [wet] signature by the authorized official of the financial institution.  ACH forms can be found at http://ojp.gov/funding/Apply/Resources/ACHVendor.pdf, along with instructions on where to submit the original, signed document.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury uses the ACH information to transmit payment data using electronic funds transfer to the recipient's designated financial institution. Payments cannot be made without a current, valid, and complete ACH form on file.

Chapter 3.1 of this Guide provides additional information on payments and the Grants Payment Request System (GPRS).

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

A new ACH form does not have to be submitted for each new award. However, if the current banking information needs to be revised, then a new ACH form must be submitted.

Accounting System

All recipients and subrecipients are required to establish and maintain adequate accounting systems and financial records and to accurately account for funds awarded to them. Recipients must have a financial management system in place that is able to record and report on the receipt, obligation, and expenditure of grant funds. Keep detailed accounting records and documentation to track all of the following information:

  • Federal funds awarded
  • Federal funds drawn down
  • Matching funds of State, local, and private organizations, when applicable
  • Program income
  • Subawards (amount, purpose, award conditions, and current status)
  • Contracts expensed against the award
  • Expenditures

Please consult Subpart D of 2 C.F.R. Part 200, including 2 C.F.R. § 200.302, for more information.

OJP SPECIFIC TIP

For the OVC Victim Compensation Program, there is no financial requirement to identify the source of individual payments to crime victims as either federal or state dollars, nor is there any requirement that restitution recoveries or other refunds be tracked to federal or state dollars paid out to victims. However, the state agency administering funds under this program must have in place an adequate accounting system to capture and track all financial transactions related to the victim compensation grant; and upon request, must provide authorized representatives with access to and the right to examine all records, books, paper or documents related to the victim compensation grant per the VOCA Victim Compensation Program Guidelines [ PDF - 162 Kb  – 66 Fed. Reg. 27158 (May 16, 2001), Sections V.G and IX.A.

What Is An Adequate Accounting System?

  • An adequate accounting system can be used to generate reports required by award and Federal regulations. The system must support all of the following:
    • Financial reporting that is accurate, current, complete, and compliant with all financial reporting requirements of the award or subaward.
    • Recipients must establish reasonable procedures to ensure the receipt of reports on subrecipients' cash balances and cash disbursements in sufficient time to enable them to prepare complete and accurate cash transactions reports to the awarding agency.
    • Accounting systems should be able to account for award funds separately (no commingling of funds).
  • An adequate accounting system allows recipients to maintain documentation to support all receipts and expenditures and obligations of Federal funds.
  • An adequate accounting system collects and reports financial data for planning, controlling, measuring, and evaluating direct and indirect costs.
  • The system should have all of the following capabilities:
    • Internal control. The system should allow for effective control and accountability for all grant and subgrant cash, real and personal property, and other assets. Recipients and subrecipients must adequately safeguard all such property and assure that it is used solely for authorized purposes. Please consult 2 C.F.R. § 200.303 for additional information.
    • Budget control. The system should compare actual expenditures or outlays with budgeted amounts for each award and subaward. It also must relate financial information to performance or productivity data, including the development of unit cost information whenever appropriate or specifically required in the award or subaward agreement.
    • Allowable cost. The system should support making sure that Federal cost principles, agency program regulations, and the terms of grant and subgrant agreements are followed in determining the reasonableness, allowability, and allocability of costs.
    • Source documentation. The system should require support for accounting records with source documentation (e.g., cancelled checks, paid bills, payrolls, time and attendance records, and contract and subgrant award documents).
    • Cash management. An adequate system will require following procedures for minimizing the time between the transfer of funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and disbursement by recipients and subrecipients whenever advance payment procedures are used. Also, when advances are made by electronic funds transfer, or EFT, methods, the system should help to make draw downs as close as possible to the time of making disbursements.
    • Subrecipient monitoring support. The system should involve monitoring of cash draw downs by subrecipients to assure that they conform substantially to the same standards of timing and amount as apply to advances as the direct recipient.
  • An adequate accounting system for a recipient must be able to accommodate a fund and account structure to separately track receipts, expenditures, assets, and liabilities for awards, programs, and subrecipients.

The adequacy of the financial management system may be reviewed as part of the application process or at any time subsequent to the award. For additional information see Subpart D of 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

Separate Tracking of Awards

To properly account for all awards, recipients should establish and maintain program accounts which will enable separate identification and accounting for:

  • Block and formula grant funds expended through subrecipients
  • Formula funds utilized to develop a State plan and to pay that portion of expenditures necessary for administration
  • Receipt and disposition of all funds (including program income)
  • Funds applied to each budget category included within the approved award
  • Expenditures governed by any special and general provisions
  • Non-Federal matching contribution, if required

For additional information see Subpart D of 2 C.F.R. Part 200.

To ensure adequate fiscal administration, accounting, and auditability of all Federal funds received, records should be established using the Federal agency "total project cost". This includes all of the following types of funding sources:

  • Federal funds
  • State funds
  • Match
  • Program income
  • Any other funds received for the program

Budgets should be based upon the total estimated costs for the project including all funding sources. List anticipated expenditures according to the funding source from which they will be paid. The example below displays one sheet of a sample budget; additional back-up pages will further break out personnel and other costs, as well as the anticipated source(s) for match and program income.

Sample Budget
Budget Categories Federal Award Non-Federal Amount Total
Personnel/Direct Labor $69,732 $22,145 $91,877
Fringe @ 33% Actual $23,012 $7,308 $30,320
Subtotal $92,744 $29,453 $122,197
Travel $4,620 _ $4,620
Equipment _ _ _
Office Supplies $2,970 _ $2,970
Contractual $4,000 _ $4,000
Other $2,618 _ $2,618
Total Direct Costs $106,952 $29,453 $136,405
  _ _ _
Indirect @ 10% Modified Total
Direct Costs (MTDC)
$10,695 $2,945 $13,640
Total Project Costs $117,647 $32,398 $150,045

Although Federal regulations do not require physical segregation of cash deposits, the accounting systems of all recipients and subrecipients must ensure that agency funds are not commingled with funds from other Federal or private agencies.

  • Recipients and subrecipients must account for each award separately.
  • Recipients and subrecipients are prohibited from commingling funds on either a program-by-program or project-by-project basis.
  • Funds specifically budgeted and/or received for one project may not be used to support another.
  • If the recipient's or subrecipient's automated general ledger accounting system cannot comply with this requirement, a system should be established to adequately track funds according to each budget category.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT TIP

Some programs, such as the Justice Assistance Grant program, require the deposit of funds into a trust fund. In addition, sometimes a high-risk designation will require a recipient to segregate awards into separate bank accounts.

If the recipient's or subrecipient's accounting system does not make it possible to identify funds and expenditures with a particular program (with the identification supported by source documentation), a site visit or an audit of that program may result in those costs being questioned or disallowed.

Direct recipients must have established, written policies on subrecipient monitoring (2 C.F.R. § 200.331). Please refer to Chapter 3.14 for additional information about subrecipient monitoring.

Reviewing Financial Operations

  • Direct recipients should be familiar with, and periodically monitor, their subrecipients' financial operations, records, systems, and procedures.
  • Recipients should direct particular attention to the subrecipient's maintenance of current financial data.

Recording Financial Activities

  • The recipient should record in its financial records in summary form the subrecipient's award or contract obligation, as well as cash advances and other financial activities.
  • The recipient should record in its records the expenditures of its subrecipients. Alternatively the subrecipient may file report forms for tracking of its financial activities.
  • Non-Federal contributions applied to programs or projects by subrecipients should likewise be recorded, as should any program income resulting from program operations.

Budgeting and Budget Review

  • The recipient should ensure that each subrecipient prepares an adequate budget on which its award commitment will be based.
  • The detail of each project budget should be kept on file by the recipient.

Accounting for Non-Federal Contributions

  • Non-Federal contributions may include in-kind services (donated services such as volunteered time) or cash.
  • Recipients should ensure that the requirements, limitations, and regulations pertinent to non-Federal contributions are applied.

Ensuring Subrecipients Meet All Grant Requirements

ACTION ITEM

Where the conduct of a program or one of its components is delegated to a subrecipient, the direct recipient is responsible for all aspects of the program including proper accounting and financial recordkeeping by the subrecipient. The recipient is responsible for the accounting of receipts and expenditures, cash management, maintenance of adequate financial records, and refunding of expenditures disallowed by audits.

Reporting Irregularities

  • Recipients and their subrecipients are responsible for promptly notifying the awarding agency and the Federal cognizant audit agency of any illegal acts, irregularities, and/or proposed or actual actions.
  • Illegal acts and irregularities include conflicts of interest, falsification of records or reports, and misappropriation of funds or other assets.
  • Please notify the appropriate DOJ awarding agency of any irregularities that occur.

Avoiding Business with Debarred and Suspended Organizations

  • Recipients and subrecipients must not award or permit any award at any level to any party which is debarred or suspended from participation in Federal assistance programs.

For details regarding debarment procedures, see the government-wide guidelines for debarment and suspension codified in 2 C.F.R. Part 180, and 2 C.F.R. Part 2867  , which adopts the OMB guidance in subparts A through I of Title 2 CFR Part 180, as supplemented by Title 2 Part 2867, as the DOJ policies and procedures for non-procurement debarment and suspension.

Bonding

  • The awarding agency may require adequate fidelity bond coverage where a recipient lacks sufficient coverage to protect the Federal Government interest (see  2 C.F.R. § 200.304 ). 

Consistent with the national goal of expanding the opportunities for women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises, recipients must take all necessary affirmative steps to ensure that women's business enterprises, minority businesses and labor surplus area firms are used when possible.For more information see 2 C.F.R. § 200.321.

Federal funds must be used to supplement existing State and local funds for program activities and must not supplant (replace) those funds that have been appropriated for the same purpose.

  • Supplanting will be reviewed during post-award monitoring and audit.
  • If reviewers think that supplanting may have occurred, then the recipient will be required to supply documentation demonstrating that the reduction in non-Federal resources occurred for reasons other than the receipt or expected receipt of Federal funds.
  • For certain programs, a written certification may be requested by the awarding agency or recipient agency stating that Federal funds will not be used to supplant State or local funds.

Example

To help clarify the difference between supplementing and supplanting, we provide the following example:

State funds are appropriated to hire 50 new police officers, and Federal funds are awarded for hiring 60 new police officers. At the end of the year, the State has hired 60 new police officers, and the Federal funds have been exhausted. The State has not used its funds towards hiring new officers, but instead reduced its appropriation for that purpose and assigned or appropriated the funds to another purpose. In this case, the State has supplanted its appropriation with the Federal funds. If supplanting had not occurred, 110 new officers would have been hired using Federal funds for 60 officers and State funds for 50 officers.

COPS OFFICE SPECIFIC TIP

For COPS hiring grant programs it is also important to track reductions-in-force and vacancies of locally budgeted positions during the grant award implementation.

Reduction-in-Force – Contact the COPS Office for guidance.

Vacancies – Maintain job announcements and other documentation that demonstrates the recipient took active and timely steps to backfill locally funded positions. As a general rule, when both locally budgeted vacancies and COPS funded positions are vacant, hire officers on a 1:1 ratio. Example: hire one COPS funded position for each local position hired to avoid potential supplanting issues and to help ensure timely implementation of the COPS hiring grant. For any questions on complying with the nonsupplanting requirement, please contact the COPS Office Response Center at 800-421-6770.

Date Created: January 24, 2020