The Latest Federal COVID Money Pot

Illustration credit: YouTube

By Dick Hall-Sizemore

The federal COVID money keeps rolling into the Commonwealth.

According to the Secretary of Finance, as of January 13, it was estimated that the state would receive $2.4 billion from the stimulus bill passed by Congress in late December (the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA)).

Unlike the earlier COVID stimulus money (CRF from the CARES Act), the December federal legislation provided less flexibility with this pot of money, directing it to specific agencies and purposes.

K-12 education gets the biggest share. The estimates for Virginia are:

  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund—Flexible—$30.0 million
  • GEER Fund—Private Schools–$46.6 million
  • K-12 Fund–$939.3 million.

The purposes for which the remaining funding can be used are as follows:

  • Testing–$491.3 million
  • Vaccine preparedness–$77.1 million
  • Rental assistance–$569.7 million
  • Urban transportation–$222.1 million
  • Enhanced mobility for seniors and persons with disabilities–$0.5 million
  • Extension implementation grants (labor)–$0.65 million

Bear in mind that this $2.4 billion is in addition to the $1.8 billion that the state got under the CRF. However, not all that funding was made available to state agencies. To see what state agencies got to work with, I need to slice the numbers a little bit more:

CRF allocation (dollars in millions)

  • Total allocation– $3,109
  • Distributed to localities–$1,289
  • Available for state distribution–$1,820
  • Interest earned–$11.9
  • Earmarked for K-12–$220.8
  • Net available for other uses by state agencies–$1,611.1

CRRSA allocation (dollars in millions)

  • Total–$2,377
  • Earmarked for K-12–$969.2
  • Earmarked for private schools–$46.6
  • Net available for other specified uses by state agencies–$1,361.2

In conclusion, state agencies will have an additional $1.4 billion on top of the $1.6 billion they got from CRF. And how quickly are state agencies spending the money from the first pot? According to the Secretary’s report, as of 1/14/2021, there was a balance of $456.7 million unspent. Add that to the $1.4 billion from CRRSA and state agencies now have almost $1.9 billion in federal COVID money. Luckily, CRRSA extended the deadline for spending the money by one year, to Dec. 30, 2021.

There is one more interesting tidbit in the Secretary’s presentation. As one would expect, the agencies for which the largest amounts obligated are the ones with the largest unspent amounts, as shown below:

Unspent obligations, as of 1/14/2021 (dollars in millions)


  • Total obligation:  $238.0
  • Unspent:  $129.9
  • Percent unspent:   55


  • Total obligation:  $ 166.7
  • Unspent:  $100.4
  • Percent unspent:  60


  • Total obligation:  $236.5
  • Unspent:  $93.1
  • Percent unspent:  39