The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the president, to declare a disaster following a request received from Governor Phil Scott on March 18.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of Vermont and the contiguous counties of Coos, Grafton, Sullivan in New Hampshire and Clinton, Essex and Washington in New York.

SBA customer service representatives will be available to answer questions about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and explain the application process.

Small businesses, private nonprofit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the pandemic since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

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. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.”

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of COVID-19. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private nonprofit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants can apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at the SBA Website. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or send an email for more information on SBA disaster assistance.  The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.