The CARES Act Provides Assistance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

From US Department of Treasury

Through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the CARES Act provides for payments to State, Local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Treasury has made payments from the Fund to States and eligible units of local government; the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands); and Tribal governments (collectively “governments”).

The CARES Act requires that the payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund only be used to cover expenses that—

1.      are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);

2.      were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and

3.      were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.


Guidance on eligible uses of Fund disbursements by governments is available below.

Amounts paid to States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and eligible units of local government are based on population as provided in the CARES Act.  The CARES Act directs Treasury to use U.S. Census Bureau data for the most recent year for which data is available.  The amount of payments made to each State was reduced by the aggregate amount of payments that was disbursed to eligible local governments within such State that provided the required certifications to Treasury.  Additional information on these points can be accessed below.

A unit of local government eligible for receipt of direct payment includes a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 500,000.  Eligible local governments were required to submit the certification required by the CARES Act to Treasury by 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, April 17 in order to receive payment.

Payments to Tribal governments have been determined by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and Indian Tribes. Additional information on payments to Tribal governments is available under Coronavirus Relief Fund Tribal Allocation Methodology and Tribal Allocation Methodology for Second Distribution, below.

Treasury has completed making payments to Tribal governments, other than amounts that have not been paid to Alaska Native corporations pending litigation on that issue. Treasury made payments beginning on May 5, 2020, based on population to all Tribal governments submitting correct payment information, other than Alaska Native corporations, and made payments beginning on June 12, 2020, based on employment and expenditures to Tribal governments that received payments based on population and that provided supplemental information before established deadlines. Additional information on the requested information is available under Tribal Employment and Expenditure Submission Instructions, below.

Tribal governments that failed to respond to multiple requests by Treasury to complete or correct their submissions of employment and expenditure information were no longer able to provide such information to Treasury after 11:59 pm Alaska Daylight Time on Saturday, June 6. Tribal governments whose submissions were complete were notified of their status. As of June 17, 2020, all payments based on employment and expenditure data, other than payment of amounts allocated to Alaska Native corporations, have been made. 

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