Questions are frequently asked of us about the budgeting process. Those that seem most common will be posted in this location. We will continue to add FAQs - frequently asked questions - and their respective answers, so you may want to check back regularly.
If you have a question that you do not see answered:
Please email Steven.E.Shaw@illinois.gov and cc Carol.Kraus@illinois.gov.
They will try to answer your questions as quickly as possible and have them posted at this location.
Q: I get an error when I try to submit my budget. The system says that my personnel costs and my total costs are not equal. I cannot seem to find the error. Help!
- Our staff created this Budgeting Errors Video that illustrates how this error occurs and what needs to be done to correct your calculations so that the CSA will accept your budget.
- Q: What happens if I (the provider) decide to make edits AFTER I have submitted our budget?
- If changes or edits need to be made after the budget was submitted, simply click the "un-submit" key. This will return the data to you. You can change the data and then re-submit.
- If the DHS program area has already started reviewing the agreement budget and have "locked down" the proposed funding source budgets then only those funding sources that are not locked will be available to change when you click the "un-submit" key. If you (the provider) needs to edit a funding source that is locked and under review, then you must contact the DHS program area to unlock it so the edits can be made.
- Q: What if I am exempt from completing a budget --Must I still submit something?
- Yes. Erroneously called a "zero" budget, you may have an agreement that is exempt from budgeting but yes, you still have to enter information into the CSA system.
- When you enter your contract number information into the CSA, it should automatically populate with some information. You need to verify - and correct, if need be - the information. Providers MUST have a DUNS number. This may be new for some people. Others may not realize that the DUNS number has to be renewed.
- Once you log into the CSA system, click on the tab that says "Provider Info" and complete that information (there are only a few questions). Then click on the tab that says "Budgets" and click the "Add Budget" button. Once you enter the Fiscal Year (2014), Form Type (CFR), and answer the question about standard weekly hours (usually 40 for most organizations), then click the Save button. After you save, look for the button that says "Submit For Approval" and click it.
- What Happens?
- The CSA system will automatically pull in the agreement amounts (most of which are 0). Providers need to submit this so that the program areas can verify information and certify the reason for exemption. When the review process takes place, reviewers will be looking at and trending the root cause(s) for exemptions.
- Q: When are the new Government Auditing Standards going to apply?
- For Audits conducted on your FY14 contracts due in FY15.
Q: Why am I not allowed to submit my budget for FY14? It shows FY13 and I can't get to FY14.
- It will not show a budget for FY14 until you go in and create one. If FY 13 is showing up on your screen, that means there is additional approvals needed for your FY13 agreements. If you are sure you have submitted your budget, then contact the program office to approve the budget.
Q: Will the July 31, 2013 deadline be extended?
- The deadline has been extended until August 30, 2013 at 5:00 pm.
Q: Why are short/long budgets not available from here forward, and what does that mean?
- The CFR form is the form that is being used for FY14.
Q: When will FY14 budget be available?
- The FY14 budget has been available on the CSA web portal since July 15.
Q: Are all grants required to complete the budget?
- Yes. All grants ARE REQUIRED to complete the budget.
Q: How do I get a copy of the CFR?
- Please see the Budget Instruction Manual for FY 14 (pdf)
Q: We are a fee-for-service program. We only receive DHS funding for DD CILA, a fee-for-service model. Do we have to do a budget by August 30th too?
- No, a fee-for-service program does not have to submit a budget but they must complete the CFR for the year end reporting.
Q: My organization is a CILA. I do not recall having to submit a budget in the past, but I got a letter with instructions on how to submit. Does my facility have to do this?
- While your organization is exempt from FY14 DHS budgeting, we ask you to log into the CSA Tracking system and access the provider information tab. Then, update the information there - you will be asked to enter your organization's DUNS number.
Q: Is CFR the only budget choice? If so, why?
- Yes. Approximately 1/3 of our providers are already using the CFR for historical cost reporting purposes and this is the form that all Sister Health and Human Service Agencies have agreed to use for historical cost reporting for FY14 to reduce redundancies for the provider.
Q: Instructions say to submit one (1) budget..we have many grants - how do we compile all of them in one budget?
- It is a consolidated budget - just like your entity's annual budget.
Q: Do local governmental entities have to report the revenue and expense projections for all sources of funding received by their agency, regardless of the source?
- No. Local governmental units only have to report the revenue and expenditures of state related grants.
Q: Do I have to turn in an Indirect Cost Plan by August 30th?
- You do not need to turn in a new indirect cost proposal at this time. We are accepting what you had previously. However you will need to turn in the new one with your FY14 audited financial statements (that means at the contract year-end. The due date will be in FY15, 30 days after your audited financial statements are due for FY14 contracts.)
Q: Our FY14 award amount from the State of Illinois is less than $250,000. Do we have to complete an indirect cost rate per the instructions on the DHS website?
- No, as long as the total of ALL STATE FUNDS received by your organization is less than $250,000. (That means the funds from all state agencies, such as the Departments of Human Services, Public Health, Child and Family Services, Aging, etc. combined, is less than $250,000.)
Q: According to the DHS website, "All grant agreements except for fee for services and fixed rate grants (unless notified in the Community Service Agreement's Exhibits or the Program Attachment to the Agreements) must submit a budget in the CSA Tracking System within 30 days of the execution of your agreement." Page 3 of the FY14 Budget User Guide states: "If an entity is exempt from the budgeting exercise, a budget list must still be completed and a "Blank" budget submitted into the CSA Tracking system so that it can be exempted for compliance tracking purposes." This requirement seems unnecessary and duplicative, as DHS is the agency that has executed this contract and, by definition, should know which agency is required to complete a budget.
- The majority of our providers are also required to submit budgets for grants they receive which are in addition to their fee-for-service contracts. The requirement to submit a blank budget is not cumbersome. If the provider is not required to submit a budget then that provider must sign into the system and click a box stating they are not required to submit a budget and then push "send". In total it would take approximately 3 minutes to complete.
Q: The CFR requires information on every aspect of an agency's budget, regardless of whether that item is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The user guide states that this is done 'because of federal administrative requirements. What is the reference to the federal requirement stating that fiscal information for Fee For Service (FFS) contracts and and-funded programs is required?
- As part of the work of the MIIC subcommittee for reporting, a grid was put together that references the CFR to the the federal cites. This document was circulated at the MIIC Steering Committee when the vote to adopt the CFR was passed unanimously. If you need a copy of this grid, contact Dianne.Barghouti@illinois.gov.
Q: Providers have expressed substantial frustration regarding the increased complexity of this year's CFR form. For example, the new form requires every individual and every consultant who works in a program, to be detailed beyond any typical agency budgeting exercise. This means that not only are the programmatic staff included in the form, but any possible person who has any connection to the program (i.e., janitorial staff, administrative staff, consultants, etc.) It should also be noted that no other state agency is imposing these extraordinarily detailed requirements on providers and most of them work under the same federal guidelines.
- Can the Department please provide an explanation for the additional requirements beyond what was collected on the FY13 form?
- Did the FY13 forms fail to comply with the federal administrative requirements cited above?
- Finally, how do these new forms and requirements match the effort by the MIIC to streamline reporting and relieve administrative burdens on the provider community? This seems directly in conflict with that effort.
- One reason the CFR was chosen is that DCFS and the DHS divisions of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities have been using the form. One goal of the MIIC is to eliminate various reporting-form formats. The five human service agencies all agreed to use this form starting in FY 14. It allows the provider to have one uniform reporting template that would be completed and accepted by all human service agencies. This will reduce the burden on the provider who previously had to report on multiple formats which is in conformance with the streamlining goal of the MIIC. (One provider had complained that they had to provide reporting in 8 different formats for grants at DHS alone. )
- In regards to the detailed reporting for the personnel costs charged to the grant, this is a federal requirement. Recently, one of DHS' grants was audited by the Federal granting agency who also visited one of the community providers. The audit disclosed that the provider did not have adequate documentation of the personnel costs charged to the program and the result will be that the community provider will have to refund the money for all undocumented personnel costs.
- The Janitorial staff and other administrative staff should be included in the indirect cost rate as an indirect cost, not as a direct cost unless the provider only provides one service program as an entity. If that is the case, all of the costs would be considered direct and would be exempt from the indirect cost plan requirements, but would be required to reported as direct.
Q: There remains much confusion about the timing of submission of the CFR. It was our understanding through the discussions held during the course of FY13, that the full CFR form would only be required for non-fee-for-service and fixed-rate grant agreements and would only be used as an end of the year form. The information sent out by the Department suggests that this is not the case and that the CFR is to now be used as a budget template. Can the Department please clarify when the CFR is to be submitted and if this has changed from previous discussion, can you please provide us with an explanation?
- The CFR would be used as a budget template accordingly. However, DHS' information clearly states that the fee-for-service provider is not subject to budgeting requirements.