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Award Recipient FAQs

Find answers to questions grantees, like you, ask us.


Contact Information

Topic  Who to Contact  Where to Find Contact Info
Notice of Award (NoA) Face Page or Standard Terms Grants Management Specialist (GMS) Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) contact section or on the last page of your NoA
Federal Financial Report (FFR) or Tangible Personal Property reporting requirements Grants Management Specialist (GMS) Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) Contact section or on the last page of your NoA
Programmatic issues, program terms, or NoA conditions Project Officer (PO) 1. EHBs contact section
2. Last page of NoA
3. Bureau or Program-specific webpages
Performance, progress, or program-specific reports (excluding FFR) Project Officer (PO) 1. EHBs contact section
2. Last page of NoA
3. Bureau or Program-specific webpages

Mandatory Registrations

Q: How often should I update my System for Award Management (SAM) record?
A: You must update your registration in the System of Award Management ( every year. Your renewal can take five days or longer.

Application Scoring & Decisions

Q: Will my application receive a perfect score if there are no weakness comments in the summary statements?
A: No. Strengths and weaknesses comments do not carry the same weight. Even without any weakness comments, an application may not receive a perfect score.

These comments are judgments from our panel of grant reviewers. Reviewers judge each portion of your application against scoring guidelines we provide them.

Q: Can I appeal the Objective Review Committee (ORC) decision?
A: No. However, you may contact us so we can explain the summary statement and the objective review process.

Prior Approval Requests

Q: What is a Prior Approval Request? Why would I use it?

A: Submit a request via the EHBs for prior approval when you want to:

  • adjust the budget
  • change plans related to the project’s objectives or purpose.

Q: How do I create, edit or find a prior approval request?
A: Follow our instructions within the EHBs to create, edit, or find a prior approval request.


Q: Where can I find more information on Cost Principles?
A: Review 45 CFR Part 75 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards, Subpart E – Cost Principles.

Q: What is the difference between an allowable cost, an allocable cost, and a reasonable cost?

  • An allowable cost is one that we allow. It complies with the terms, conditions, and approved activities of the grant, as well as Cost Principles.
  • An allocable cost can apply to multiple activities. It provides a direct benefit to award objectives. Example: rent or utilities.
  • A reasonable cost is necessary and appropriate for the activity.


Q: How can I avoid unallowable costs?
A: Check our tip sheet: Developing Effective Financial Management Practices (PDF – 210 KB).

Q: I need to return funds. How do I do it?
A: Get instructions from the Program Support Center’s Payment Management System (PMS).


Q: Do I have to submit an Annual Performance Report?
A: Yes. Review your Notice of Award (NoA) for specific requirements. Contact your PO with questions.

Q: How do I remove a duplicate Federal Financial Report (FFR)?
A: Contact us. We will help you remove a duplicate FFR.

Q: Our FFR has a delinquent status, how do I request a deadline extension?
A: In the EHB Help section, you can learn how to request an extension.

Q: When the GMS returns my FFR, what do I do?
A: Review the comments and make the required changes. You can also respond with any questions.

Q: Can I revise a previously submitted FFR?
A: It depends.

You can revise it if:

  • We aren’t currently reviewing the previous FFR.
  • The current FFR has the same document number as an FFR you previously submitted. In this case, make edits via the Previously Reported column.

You cannot revise it if:

  • It does not have the same document number as the current FFR.

For help, follow these instructions.

Q: How can I find previous copies of the FFR?
A: We can help you find a previous FFR – just reach out via our contact form.


Q: How long do I have to liquidate funds from PMS after my grant ends?
A: Within 90 days after the funding period ends, you must drawdown the account to zero.
To extend this deadline, reach out to your GMS. They must give you prior approval in writing.
Refer to 45 CFR 75.309 - Period of performance and availability of funds.

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2019

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