While military members are susceptible to financial burdens, the good news is there are some protections in place to help. Get to know your legal rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
SCRA is a federal law designed to provide legal protections and financial relief to Service members, including those in the Reserves and National Guard, during active duty. The Act provides a variety of benefits that help ease financial, civil, and legal burdens brought on by military service.
Benefits offered under the SCRA include:
- Interest rate cap: Limits the interest rates on debts incurred before active duty to 6%. This includes credit cards, mortgage loans, and student loans.
- Protection against eviction: Provides a legal defense against eviction proceedings for properties occupied by the Service member and their families.
- Termination of leases: Service members are allowed to terminate residential and auto leases without incurring penalties.
- Termination of certain cell phone contracts: Allows Service members to terminate cell phone contracts without any penalties if the relocation orders are for at least 90 days and it’s to a location that does not support the contract.
- Protection from repossession: Provides protection against repossession of property if the loan was taken out prior to entering active duty.
- Protection for installment contracts: Protects Service members if unable to meet the terms of the contract due to entering active-duty military service.
- Protection from default judgments: Provides protection in civil lawsuits by requesting a stay of the proceedings.
- Stay of certain civil proceedings: Allows Service members to request a delay of certain civil proceedings including bankruptcy, foreclosure, and divorce.
- Life insurance protection: Protects the policy from lapsing for non-payment of premiums while on active duty. Also offers protection from foreclosure of life insurance policy if it’s used as collateral to secure debt.
- Health insurance protection: Protects against non-reinstatement and ensures continuation of coverage.
- Taxation and tax filing: Provides extensions and some tax benefits during deployment.
More details about the Act and the protections it offers can be found at justice.gov/servicemembers.
Tip from Pressy Long, CFP®
The protections offered under the SCRA can save you some money! If you’re eligible, contact your lenders to lower the interest rate on your pre-service debts.