What Is Federal Financial Assistance?

Federal financial assistance is the transfer of anything of value, most often money, from a federal agency to a non-federal entity. In the most general sense, federal financial assistance is a tool the government uses to serve public purposes as defined by Congress.

Federal financial assistance is a very broad term, and it can take on a variety of more precise forms. One of the most common forms is a grant, which we write about quite often on this blog.

Other examples of federal financial assistance include cooperative agreements, donations of property, direct appropriations, food commodities, loans, interest subsidies, and insurance.

Each type of federal financial assistance serves different purposes and has different legal and regulatory frameworks that govern how that specific assistance can be used.

Where Does Federal Financial Assistance Come From?

Well, that question could take a while to answer in full. In short, your elected officials make laws that outline and define federal financial assistance programs. Then executive agencies implement these programs. The judicial branch may also evaluate these laws to ensure the programs are consistent with the Constitution.  Learn more about the branches of government on USA.gov.

If you have questions and would like more details about federal financial assistance, consider consulting the following resources:

  • Grant Policies – What they are, how they are made, and those that pertain to grants
  • OMB Uniform Guidance for Grants – Thorough definitions and guidelines of federal financial assistance
  • USA.gov – “Learn about government programs that provide financial help for individuals and organizations”
  • Benefits.gov – For individual citizens looking for more information about federal benefits

ContactPlease post a comment below or on Twitter if you have questions about federal financial assistance or grants.

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