Coronavirus Relief Fund helps offset unforeseen pandemic costs

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The $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help state and local governments pay for COVID-19 expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30. Here’s a brief look at the fund's guidelines and how much Texas and its cities and counties received from the program.

Administering Agencies: U.S. Treasury, Office of the Governor, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM)

Eligible Local Governments: Cities and counties

Eligibility and Permitted Expenses:

  • Six cities and 12 counties in Texas with populations above 500,000 received a direct payment from the U.S. Treasury. 
  • The remaining 242 counties, and each city within those counties, must apply to TDEM.

The six categories of eligible expenses are (examples):

  1. Medical costs
  2. Public health expenses
  3. All payroll for public safety and public health personnel (Contact your TDEM unit chief or email for more information.) 
  4. Costs of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19  public health measures
  5. Economic support to offset the impact of the pandemic
  6. Any other reasonably necessary expenses related to COVID-19 
  • CRF payments may be used to meet the local matching requirement for FEMA public assistance.

Grant or Loan: Grant Texas Received: $11.24 billion

Value of Direct U.S. Treasury Payments to Texas Jurisdictions (Populations 500,000+): $3.2 billion

Value of Indirect U.S. Treasury Payments to Texas Jurisdictions: $1.85 billion

  • Cities and counties not eligible for a direct federal payment had to apply to TDEM for a $55 per capita allocation by Oct. 16, 2020, at
  • 75% of funds must be spent on eligible expenses in the first three categories and 25% on the remaining three.
  • A 20% advance is available immediately, and the remainder is available via reimbursement. A list of eligible cities and counties, their allocations and the 20% advance they received can be found on TDEM’s CRF webpage.
  • See TDEM FAQs for more on the eligible uses for the grants. A link to a CRF FAQ also can be found on TDEM’s relief fund webpage.

Deadline: Cities and counties not eligible for a direct federal payment must submit all documentation for reimbursement to TDEM by Dec. 15, 2020. All grants must be used by Dec. 30, 2020, or returned to the federal government.