Tribal Costs & Definitions

Administrative Cost Limit

Block grant regulations at 45 CFR 96.88 (b)

(1) Grantees who are direct-grant tribes, tribal organizations or territories with allotments of $20,000 or less may use for planning and administrative costs up to 20 percent of the funds payable.

(2) Grantees that are direct-grant tribes or tribal organizations with allotments over $20,000 may use up to 20 percent of the first $20,000 (or $4,000) plus 10 percent of the funds payable that exceeds $20,000.

The amount of administrative costs to be used is determined as follows:

If the tribe has an allocation that is $20,000 or less, the amount available for administrative costs will be 20% of the funds payable. The allowable amount for administrative costs for a grant of $20,000 is $4,000.

The administrative costs limitation for tribal allotments over $20,000 is computed by multiplying 20% times the first $20,000 of funds payable plus 10% of the remaining funds payable. If a tribe receives a direct grant of $45,000, the tribe would have $6,500 for administrative costs. This amount is computed below.

EXAMPLE - Computing administrative costs for a $45,000 LIHEAP grant.

20% x $20,000 = $4,000
$45,000 - $20,000 = $25,000
10% x $25,000 = $2,500
$4,000 + $2,500 = $6,500

In the example above, administrative costs in excess of $6,500 must be paid by the tribe from non-federal funds.

Administrative Cost Definition

Block grant regulations at 45 CFR 96.88 (a)
(a) Costs of planning and administration. Any expenditure for governmental functions normally associated with administration of a public assistance program must be included in determining administrative costs subject to the statutory limitation on administrative costs, regardless of whether the expenditure is incurred by the State, a subrecipient, a grantee, or a contractor of the State.

Administrative Cost Definition for TANF

Grantees may adopt TANF rules for administrative costs. The TANF regulations at 45CFR 263.0(b) define administrative costs as follows:

The term "administrative costs" means costs necessary for the proper administration of the TANF program, or separate State programs.

For example, TANF excludes direct program costs such as:

  • Providing program information to clients
  • Screening and assessments (not eligibility determination)
  • Providing program information to clients
  • Case management
  • Salaries and benefits for staff providing direct services and the direct administrative costs associated with providing the services, such as the costs for supplies, equipment, travel, postage, utilities, rental and maintenance of office space.
  • IT needed for tracking and monitoring statutory requirements

TANF includes direct costs providing program services such as:

  • Salaries and benefits for administrative staff
  • Activities related to eligibility determination
  • Preparation of plans and budgets
  • Monitoring
  • Fraud and abuse prevention
  • Procurement
  • Public relations
  • Audits, accounting, litigation, management of property, payroll, and personnel
  • Goods and services used in the course of other administrative functions
  • IT systems not related to tracking and monitoring statutory requirements

    See Tribal Manual, Section I, Financial Information for more information on administrative costs.