Prior Approval for Carryover

A carryover is when an unobligated balance from a previous budget period is carried forward into the current budget period to support incomplete activities from prior budget periods. To request a formal carryover, 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)


There are two types of carryover actions. Recipients may only submit one type of carryover per budget period.

  • Expanded Authority (10 percent or less of the total approved current year budget. See below for full information.)
  • Formal Carryover requiring prior approval (formal requests that do not fall under the expanded authority. See below for full information.)

Carryover is not intended to solely spend down unobligated funds. Carryover funds must be used to support the approved goals and objectives of the grant program based on the funding opportunity announcement.

All carryover requests must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the prior budget period. 

An explanation of the specific carryover types and instructions are below and on the Overview of Carryovers (PDF| 305 KB) infographic.

Expanded Authority for Carryover

SAMHSA authorizes expanded authority for automatic carryover of unobligated funds from the previous budget periods to the current budget period for recipients who meet the following specific criteria:

  1. The recipient must not be on Restricted Status.
  2. The proposed carryover amount is 10 percent or less of the total federal share of the current budget period (the year in which the funds are needed).
  3. The funds cannot be identified as restricted in the notice of award’s terms and conditions.

Notification to SAMHSA

The intent to carryover and the carryover amount (in dollars only) must be stated in FFR Remarks, section 12. Subsequent FFRs must reflect the actual carryover amount.

For example:

Sample Intent to Carryover remarks to use in Section 12 of the SF-425 (FFR)
1. Intent to Carryover
“Our intention is to carryover $__ from year(s) __ to year __. This amount does not exceed 10% of the current budget period award.”
2. Explanation of Prior Year Intent to Carryover 
“Of the previous year’s intent to carryover, we expended $____ of the $___ expanded authority.” 

Additional Guidance:

Reminder: The FFR is due no later than 90 days after the end of the previous budget period.

Formal Carryover requiring prior approval

A prior approval request must be submitted if the carryover request does not meet the expanded authority criteria.
Based on the nature, extent, and timing of the request, the SAMHSA 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.

Formal carryover requests must be submitted no later than 90 days after the end of the previous budget period. Requests submitted in an untimely manner may not be granted.

What to Include in Your Request

The prior approval request must contain the following:

  1. Cover Letter/Narrative
    • Explain why an unobligated balance (UOB) exists.
    • Explain and support the need for carryover funds.
    • Describe how the unobligated funds will be used in the current budget period (the proposed work must be allowable under the grant).
    • Describe the impact on the project if the carryover is not approved.
    • Justify how increased matching or cost sharing will be met if the carryover is approved (as applicable).
  2. An SF-424A for the carryover request amount
  3. Line-item budget and budget narrative for the unobligated balance requested for carryover. As applicable, the budget must include matching or cost sharing. To ensure a timely review, the budget should follow the formatting requirements outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
  4. The HHS Checklist

Additional Guidance

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

Last Updated: 12/04/2018