September 23, 2020 – In order to avoid a government shutdown after September 30, the House of Representatives has passed a continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 8337. The CR maintains LIHEAP’s existing spending cap, $3.74 billion, put in place by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94). The federal funding would continue until the mid-December deadline or until Congress approves a budget for Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021.
If also passed by the Senate and signed by the President by October 1, the CR would allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release up to 97 percent of LIHEAP funds to grantees to use beginning in the new fiscal year which starts on October 1. The holds harmless language that guarantees this 97 percent release was first found in the 2020 appropriation bill.
Until the FFY 2021 funds are released, grantees may spend funds carried over from the 2020 program year to get their 2021 program year up and running. Grantees are allowed to carryover and obligate up to 10 percent of the previous year’s funds into the next fiscal year, as per 45 CFR 96.81. HHS generally recommends grantees plan on carrying over funds into the next year as a general rule of thumb. As we have seen in recent years with the Congressional budgeting process, current year funds are not always immediately available when the new fiscal year starts on October 1.
Sources: LIHEAP Clearinghouse, appropriations.house.gov, HHS National LIHEAP Training