Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF)

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provided Massachusetts with a total of approximately $2.7 B through the new Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF) to use for expenditures related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Table of Contents

Overview of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF)

Payments from the CvRF may only be used to cover costs that:

  • Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID–19;
  • Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 for the State or government; and
  • Were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2021.

The City of Boston received approximately $121 M directly, and Plymouth County received approximately $91 M, leaving approximately $2.5 B for Commonwealth agencies and other local government entities in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth’s portion of the CvRF is being distributed across local entities (at least $761 M, of which $502 M is available to municipalities, with the remaining going to school districts, local housing agencies, local boards of health, and other local entities) and state agencies ($1.7 B).

CvRF Spending

The Commonwealth’s approach is to allocate the CvRF to respond to the public health emergency, provide economic support to businesses, and support local efforts to combat COVID-19.

The table below displays actual obligations and expenditures of CvRF. This table is updated monthly. 

Note on expenditures: due to the evolving emergency and the need to maximize federal revenues, many expenditures were transferred from other spending accounts to the Coronavirus Relief Fund, or vice versa. Expenditures displayed here are those that are currently allocated to CvRF. These and other accounting nuances may cause transactions to appear here differently from other sources such as CTHRU, the spending transparency tool published by the Office of the Comptroller.

Note on obligations: Funding is "obligated" when it is committed for a particular purpose, usually via a grant, contract, or other agreement with a vendor or beneficiary. Amount obligated does not include all planned or budgeted spending.

CvRF Municipal Program

Note: this section is for general information about CvRF-MP. For guidance for municipalities on applying for funds and reporting expenditures, please visit the Division of Local Services website.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) provided Massachusetts with a total of approximately $2.5 billion through the new Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF) to use for expenditures related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Commonwealth has made available up to approximately $502 M in CvRF funds to Massachusetts cities and towns through the Coronavirus Relief Fund Municipal Program (CvRF-MP). Funding for CvRF-MP is being distributed in three rounds.

  • In Round 1, which occurred in May and June of 2020, 258 municipalities received approximately $95 million in payments.
  • In Round 2, which occurred in October 2020, 276 municipalities received approximately $230 million. 
  • In the Reconciliation Period, which was structured as a reimbursement round, 295 municipalities received approximately $117 million.

What determines how much money a city or town gets?

  1. Total Eligible Amount – Each city or town is eligible for an amount of funding determined by its population (except for Boston and municipalities in Plymouth County, who received CvRF funds directly from the federal government). Click here for a list of the Total Eligible Amounts for each municipality.
  2. Eligible expenses – The federal government has rules for how CvRF money can be spent. Expenses must:
  • Be necessary as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • Not be included in the city or town’s budget as of March 27, 2020; and
  • Occur between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

Some municipalities may not request their Total Eligible Amount of funding because they do not have enough eligible expenses. The federal government does not allow CvRF funds to be used to make up for lost revenue.

Why have some towns spent more/less than they have received?

CvRF-MP started as an advance lump sum payment program. This meant that cities and towns requested funding in Round 1 and Round 2 of the program based on both reimbursement for expenses that had already occurred (on or after March 1, 2020), and anticipation of future expenses (initially through December 30, 2020 until recent federal legislation extended the deadline). Municipalities report actual spending to A&F on a quarterly basis.

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