Prior Approval for Budget Revisions

To reallocate funds to address unexpected program changes or events for federally supported projects, grantees must request prior approval from SAMHSA through the eRA system.

IMPORTANT: SAMHSA has transitioned to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s electronic Research Administration (eRA) grants system. All post-award processes will be managed exclusively through the eRA system and this effort requires the approved Program Director/Project Director (PD) to be registered in eRA Commons.

Additional information on the eRA Commons registration process for the PD is available at Instructions for SAMHSA Recipients Commons ID (PDF | 76 KB)

Reasons for Budget Revisions

Moving funds can help meet unexpected needs or accomplish certain program changes. A reallocation of funds within a budget period that exceeds 25% of the approved budget, or $250,000, whichever is less, requires prior approval.
Prior approval is required for:

  • Rebudgeting equaling 25% or more of the total approved budget, including federal and non-federal costs.
  •  Rebudgeting involving the transfer of funds to cost categories—such as personnel, fringe, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual, or other—that were not previously approved in the funded application. For example, if no equipment was requested in the approved application, but the recipient now wants to use funds to purchase an item of equipment, then a prior approval request would need to be submitted.
  •  The purchase of a unit of equipment exceeding $25,000, such as a transport van, that was not previously approved in the funded application.
  • Changes in cost sharing or matching, such as a reduction in the amount of available matching funds.
  • Any budget revisions, regardless of amount, by recipients with a restricted status. Restricted status was formerly known as high-risk designation.

If there is also a change in the scope or objective of the funded project in addition to rebudgeting, then the request must be submitted as prior approval request for change in scope rather than a prior approval request for budget revision.
Based on the nature, extent, and timing of the request, the SAMHSA Grants Management Officer (GMO) may approve, deny, or request additional material to further document and evaluate your request. Only responses provided by the GMO are considered valid. If SAMHSA approves the request, an amended Notice of Award will be issued. Verbal authorization is not approval and is not binding on SAMHSA. Recipients that proceed on the basis of actions by unauthorized officials do so at their own risk, and SAMHSA is not bound by such responses.

What to Include in Your Request

The prior approval request must contain the following:

  1. Cover Letter/Narrative
    • Explain and support the need for the budget revision, including a detailed explanation of what costs are being rebudgeted.
    • A statement of assurance that there will be no changes to the approved award objectives, goals or purposes, which would require prior approval for a change in scope.
  2. A revised SF-424A (PDF | 316 KB)
  3. Line-item budget and budget narrative. To ensure a timely review, the budget should follow the formatting requirements outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
  4. If requesting a change in indirect costs, provide your current Indirect Cost Rate Agreement.
  5. The HHS Checklist (PDF | 219 KB)

For your reference, review the following sample budgets:

In addition to the information and supporting documentation described above, remember to follow the steps for submitting a prior approval request.

Last Updated: 12/20/2017