This post was originally published on April 17, 2017 and updated on July 3, 2019.
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?
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. Click here to learn more about the branches of government on USA.gov.
Want 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
- USASpending.gov – Tracks federal spending to ensure taxpayers can see how their money is being used in communities across America
- USA.gov– Learn about government programs that provide financial help for individuals and organizations
- Benefits.gov Benefits Finder – Tool for citizens looking for information about federal benefits for individuals