Active duty servicemembers and dependents may be entitled to legal protections and debt relief pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 USC App. 501-596) ("SCRA").
Who is covered?
- Active duty military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard)
- Active servicemembers of the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Active servicemembers of the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service
- US citizens serving with the armed forces of a nation with which the US is allied in the prosecution of war or military action
- Spouses of the above-referenced servicemembers
What are they entitled to?
- Debt incurred by a servicemember (or servicemember and spouse jointly) prior to entering military service shall not bear interest at a rate above 6% during the period of military service and one year thereafter, in the case of an obligation or liability consisting of a mortgage, trust deed, or other security in the nature of a mortgage, or during the period of military service in the case of any other obligation or liability.
- In a legal action to enforce a debt against real estate that is filed during or within 1 year after the servicemember's military service, a court may stop the proceedings for a period of time, or adjust the debt. In addition, the sale, foreclosure, or seizure of real estate shall not be valid if it occurs during or within 1 year after the servicemember's military service unless the creditor has obtained a court order approving the sale, foreclosure or seizure of rel estate.
- Additional protections for non-mortgage related debt.
How do they request relief?
Servicemember, spouse or both must make a written request along with a copy of the servicemember's orders to the military family department of the servicer of the debt.
How can additional information be obtained?
- US Department of Defense's Military OneSource:
www.militaryonesource.com (follow the country-specific OCONUS instructions)
800-342-9647 (inside US)
484-530-5908 (international collect)
- Local JAG office or legal assistance officer