As a public service, here is basic information about federal, state and local programs to provide financial help, along with social services, during the COVID-19 Crisis, to individuals, families, and businesses.
The list will be updated as more news becomes available about government and community charity programs related to Bucks County. Please check your community pages on Facebook about efforts related to your town run by more local groups.
If you know of a government program to be added to the list, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on local emergency feeding programs and resources is available through the USDA National Hunger Hotline. The Hotline connects individuals in need to emergency food in their community, government assistance programs, and various social services. The Hotline can be reached at (866) 348-6479. Additional information on local programs and resources can also be found by visiting:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The CFPB offers advice if:
You have trouble paying your bills or meeting other financial obligations
You experience a loss of income
You think you may be targeted by a scammer
Financial Aid for Students
To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers can be placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration provides targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
If you have suffered substantial economic injury and are one of the following types of businesses located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for an The Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) if you are a:
Small agricultural cooperative
Private nonprofit organization
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
State Government (Pennsylvania)
Info for Workers: If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves.
You may be eligible if:
Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
Pa. Dept. of Agriculture – Food Assistance
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation.
Contact the following Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania member food banks to find out about food assistance services being offered in your county:
Bucks County Opportunity Council – https://www.bcoc.org/
List of Bucks County Food Pantries – https://www.bcoc.org/i-need-help-with/food-2/food-pantries-and-hours/
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency board has approved temporary modifications of certain rules on the state grant and other student financial aid programs it administers to ensure that students who benefit from them won’t see a disruption or reduction in aid due to operational changes made by schools in response to COVID-19.
Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority
The PIDA’s Small Business First Fund will make $61 million available through this emergency response fund as working capital loans of up to $100,000 directly to small businesses and hopefully nonprofits (those that employ 100 or fewer persons). The interest rate is currently 3%, however the PIDA board can adjust the interest rates to as low as 0%.
Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority link:
Info for Employers: Employees affected by a business closure, reduction in hours, or a medically or government directed quarantine or isolation should be encouraged to file for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits if no other compensation, such as paid leave, is available to them.
The Shared-Work program can help keep employees attached to your workplace by allowing an employer to temporarily reduce work hours rather than resorting to layoffs. You can reach the Shared-Work team at email@example.com.
However, if you are a business that has had to close either temporarily, consider layoffs, or is financially at-risk for permanent closure the Rapid Response Assistance Program is available to assist you with a variety of services and resources to help you and your employees. You can reach the Rapid Response team via email at RA-LI-BWPO-Rapid@pa.gov.
Department of Community and Economic Development
Businesses have a vast network of state and local services that they can contact to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus on their daily operations and the future of their business. Here is the official list of resources at the DCED:
Request A Waiver To Keep Your Business Open
On March 19, 2020, the Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 8:00 a.m. Monday, March 23. Businesses seeking waivers and exemptions to the closure order can use our Business Exemption Form for assistance.
Bucks County/Regional Resources
Bucks County Opportunity Council – Food and Rent Assistance
The BCOC’s mission is to reduce poverty and partner with our community to promote economic self-sufficiency. It offers services to qualified families in several areas, such as paying rent and utility bills, and providing food and other essential services:
United Way/Penn Community Bank COVIS-19 Recovery Fund
United Way and Penn Community Bank have launched the COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help those affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The fund is designed for the “ALICE” population: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are families who live paycheck to paycheck, above the Federal Poverty Line, but with very little breathing room in their budget. Missing even one or two paychecks can be catastrophic.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER (Lehigh University)
The Center also provides help to Bucks and Montgomery County small businesses. They can provide help applying for SBA Disaster Financing, other SBDC assistance related to the pandemic, and resources related to the pandemic.
Southeast Partnership for Regional Economic Performance
This regional program is based in Chester County but serves the southeast Pennsylvania region.
Bucks County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC)
Bucks County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) is a non-profit, non-political economic development organization established in 1958 to support economic growth in Bucks County.