As Tribes have now received their initial allocations from the CARES Act funding, we are hearing from several leaders that there is uncertainty and even confusion around how these funds can be spent to avoid audit issues.

The CARES Act requires that payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund may only be used to cover costs that:

  • are necessary and unbudgeted expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);
  • 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
  • were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.

As leadership begins to plan on how best to allocate this funding, it is important to take a creative and innovative approach to interpret the spending guidelines. Our team will work to align costs in an effort to support expenditures to “Prepare, Prevent, and Respond to” or “Future response, mitigation activity, and recovery from” COVID-19.

Blue Stone can work with leadership to help build creative solutions for using the funds in a manner that meets CARES Act authorized use and Tribal regulations to provide a positive, long-term impact for your communities.  These approaches can include:

  • Expenses for establishing and operating public tele-medicine capabilities for COVID-19 related treatment
  • Expenses for communication and enforcement of public health orders related to COVID-19 by State, territorial, local, and Tribal governments
  • Expenses for technical assistance to local authorities or other entities on mitigation of COVID-19 related threats to public health and safety.
  • Expenses for public safety measures undertaken in response to COVID-19
  • Expenses to facilitate distance learning, including technological improvements, in connection with school closings to maintain compliance with COVID-19 precautions
  • Expenses to improve tele-work capabilities for public employees to maintain compliance with COVID-19 precautions
  • Expenses for the care of homeless populations to mitigate COVID-19 effects and maintain compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.
  • Any other COVID-19 related expenses reasonably necessary to maintain the function of government and satisfy the Fund’s eligibility criteria
  • Expenses for Tribal citizen domestic essential needs for personal safety

Our team’s creative approach will support leadership in building a plan that aligns your preparation, response, prevention, and mitigation activities to the funding requirements in order to leverage your CARES Act funding and maximize your reach and impact to your communities for years to come.  Keep in mind these planning efforts are covered as an approved activity under The CARES Act.

May Fund payments be used for COVID-19 public health emergency recovery planning?
Yes. Expenses associated with conducting a recovery planning project or operating a recovery coordination office would be eligible if the expenses otherwise meet the criteria set forth in section 601(d) of the Social Security Act outlined in the Guidance.

We know these are challenging times and we stand ready to continue to support Tribal Leaders and are available to discuss these issues more in-depth, please contact us at 949-476-8828 to schedule a conference call or you can email directly at Thank you for your continued leadership and dedication to serving your community.

If you are interested in taking a look at more frequently asked questions on how The CARES Act, Coronavirus Relief Fund allocations can be spent please click the link below: