0201 Overview

This chapter establishes the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) financial policies for use in developing a new grant program.

Key points covered in this chapter:

  • VA will develop regulations based on authorizing statutes;
  • VA grant programs must be funded by Congress through appropriations;
  • VA will announce the availability of Federal financial assistance through the Assistance Listings for each new program authorized by Congress in accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.203;
  • Grant Program Offices (GPO) will develop a Federal financial assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity in accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.204; and
  • GPOs will establish performance standards and measurements for their programs, in accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.202 and Chapter 11 of Title 31, United States Code.

0202 Revisions

See changelog.

0203 Definitions

Appropriations – Provisions of law enacted by Congress, not necessarily in an appropriations act, authorizing the Federal agency to incur obligations and make payments for a given purpose. Usually, but not always, an appropriation provides budget authority.

Apportionment – Distributions made by OMB of amounts available for obligation in an appropriation or fund account into amounts available for specified time periods, programs, activities, projects, objects, or any combination of these. The apportioned amount limits the obligations that may be incurred. An apportionment may be further subdivided by an agency into allotments, sub allotments, allowances, and sub allowances.

Assistance Listings – Publicly available listing of Federal assistance programs, formerly known as the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), managed and administered by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Assistance Listing Number – A unique number assigned to identify a Federal Assistance Listing, formerly known as the CFDA number.Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – A notice of the availability of Federal funding through a financial assistance program in Grants.gov providing information on the award, who is eligible to apply, the evaluation criteria for selection of an awardee, required components of an application, and how to submit an application.  The NOFO was previously referred to as a Notice of Funding Availability.

0204 Roles and Responsibilities

Office of Regulation and Policy Management (00REG) is responsible for assisting GPOs in the development of regulations to comply with the authorizing statute.

Office of Budget (OB) is responsible for the allocation of funds in accordance with the statutory authority for each grant program..

Grant Program Offices (GPO) are responsible for the management of all grant-related activities, including obtaining an Assistance Listing Number and updating Assistance Listings routinely for each grant program and the writing, development, and publication of NOFOs on Grants.gov.

Grants Management Service (GMS) is the agency resource for grants management, grants policy, and grants administration support. GMS writes, amends, and supports the implementation of agency-wide grants policy.

0205 Policies

020501 General Policies

  1. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.202, VA grant programs must have clear goals and objectives that facilitate the delivery of meaningful results consistent with the Federal legislation that authorized the program.
  2. In accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.202, VA grant programs’ performance will be measured against objectives and goals developed during program planning and design. See 2 C.F.R. § 200.301 for more information on performance measurement. Performance measures may differdepending on the type of program.
  3. VA grant programs’ performance plans should follow the measurement, management, and reporting requirements established by Part 6 of OMB Circular A‑11 (Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget; August 2022) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (P.L. 114-264).

020502 Development of Regulations

  1. In accordance with 38 U.S.C. § 501(d), VA will develop regulations for its grant programs.
  2. GPOs are responsible for coordinating the development of regulations. Program officers will work closely with VA’s Office of Regulation and Policy Management and each Administration’s regulations office in developing regulations for a program. More information on the workflow process to have 00REG coordinate approval of new regulations and submit to OMB is on the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Tools for Writing VA Regulations website.
  3. To facilitate the development of regulations, GPOs within the Administrations will contact their regulations office. GPOs within a Staff Office will contact 00REG.

020503 Obtaining Required Assistance Listing Number

  1. The Assistance Listing Number is a five-digit number, where the first two digits represent the Funding Agency (VA is 64) and the next three digits represent the program (64.XXX).
  2. Grants Management Service (GMS) will aid GPOs in obtaining an Assistance Listing Number.
  3. GMS will review a GPO’s request for an Assistance Listing Number and coordinate submitting the following information to OMB through SAM.gov:
    1. Title of the listing, a popular name for the listing (an acronym, reference to law, etc.), and the name of the Federal Agency.
    2. The purpose and goals of the program, including a plain text description highlighting assistance listing goals, who it serves, and what makes it unique. Specific terms are required to help public users find this listing.
    3. Examples of previously funded projects, if available.
    4. The name of the Act or Authorizing Executive Order, Public Law, Statute.
    5. The fiscal year for which funding will be provided.
    6. Criteria for applying including eligibility requirements, a description of eligible beneficiaries, and a full description of who may apply for assistance.
    7. Length and time phasing of assistance, including a description of the period of time when assistance will be available and should be spent.
    8. Allowable and unallowable uses of funding.
    9. Deadline to submit an application.
    10. Whether Executive Order 12372 applies to this listing.
    11. Application submission information, application format, selection criteria for proposals, the award procedure, the process for renewals, process for appeals, policy requirements, required reports, match requirements, VA program contact information, and website link to grant program on VA website.
  4. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.204(a), GPOs will include the Assistance Listing Number, among other information, in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), if applicable. More information on NOFOs can be found in VA financial policy Volume X Chapter 3, Grant Funding Availability Announcement Process.

020504 Accounting Code

  1. Prior to issuing payments to awardees of a new Federal financial assistance program, the GPO must determine the proper accounting string for their payment, this includes determining the Division, Organization, Budget Program, VA Program, Budget Object Class (BOC) codes, and cost center must be assigned to the program as part of the accounting string.
  2. For instructions on setting up the BOC code and cost center, reference VA Financial Policies Volume XIII (Cost Accounting) Chapter 1, Cost Centers, Appendix B and Chapter 2, Budget Object Class Codes, Appendix D.

020505 Grant Program Performance Measures

  1. In accordance with chapter 11 of title 31, United States Code and 2 C.F.R § 200.301(a), VA may include program-specific performance standards and measurements for its grant programs. These standards and measurements must be aligned, to the extent permitted by law, with agency strategic goals, strategic objectives or performance goals that are relevant to the program.
  2. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.329(c), VA will clearly articulate reporting requirements such that, where appropriate, performance during the execution of the Federal award has a standard, government-wide, OMB-approved data element against which recipient performance can be measured.
  3. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.329, financial information must be monitored and reported using OMB-approved common information collections (the Federal Financial Report (SF-425), as applicable.
  4. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.301(b), GPOs will establish performance measures to not only allow them to understand the recipient progress, but also to facilitate the identification of promising practices among recipients and build the evidence upon which VA’s program and performance decisions are made.
  5. Grant recipients will be required to report in accordance with the terms of the regulations and NOFO (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually), which allows the GPOs to understand the recipient’s progress.
  6. In accordance with 2 C.F.R § 200.301(a), GPOs will specify how performance will be assessed in the terms and conditions of a Federal award to include the following. Potential applicants can design their projects to meet the established objectives and evaluation techniques that provide valid and reliable data on the established performance measures.
    • specific program goals;
    • indicators;
    • targets;
    • baseline data;
    • data collection; or
    • expected outcomes (such as outputs, services performance, or public impacts of any of these) with an expected timeline for accomplishment.
  7. In accordance with 2 C.F.R. § 200.301(a), GPOs will:
    1. Measure the recipient’s performance to show achievement of program goals and objectives;
    2. Share lessons learned;
    3. Improve program outcomes; and
    4. Foster adoption of promising practices.
  8. If available, GPOs will include a hyperlink to the reporting form to be used for the program in the Web-based version of the application package.

020506 Program Risk Assessments

  1. In accordance with subchapter IV of chapter 33 of title 31, U.S.C., each GPO must complete an annual improper payment risk assessment to determine the risk of significant improper payments for their program.
  2. Policies regarding programmatic risk assessments are addressed in VA financial policy Volume VII Chapter 9, Payment Integrity and Fraud Reduction. Required reviews of grantee risk assessments are covered under 2 C.F.R. § 200.206 and included in VA financial policy Volume X Chapter 4, Grant Application and Award Process.

0206 Authorities and References

0207 Rescissions

VA Financial Policy Volume X, Chapter 2, Grant Program Development, November 2019

0208 Policy Approval

This policy was approved by the VA Chief Financial Officers’ Council on July 7, 2023.