Oversight of Selected States' Disbursement of Federal Funds Addresses Timeliness and Administrative Allowances

April 16, 2013

What GAO Found

As pass-through grant funds flow to subrecipients, they are subject to government-wide and program-specific policies, two of which are particularly relevant to disbursement issues for states as they pass funds on to subrecipients. Pass-through grants are typically first awarded to states, local governments, or other entities and then further awarded to subrecipients. The Cash Management Improvement Act governs the exchange of funds between the federal government and the states and is applicable to timeliness in the grant disbursement process. In addition, the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, provides general guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the federal awarding agencies and primary recipients of government funds regarding audit requirements of grantees. Specific program policies can provide additional requirements for individual grant programs related to disbursement of funds. For example, as with the programs we reviewed, authorizing legislation may contain statutory limits on the amount of funds that states and local governments can withhold from the grant awards for their own administrative expenses. To ensure states comply with federal requirements and agency regulations for disbursing federal grant funds, federal agencies monitor aspects of pass-through grants related to administrative costs that states withhold and timeliness of reimbursement. According to their monitoring procedures, selected federal agencies also review the results of states' "single audits"--annual audits performed on many recipients of federal funds.

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