SCRA Notice Requirements: A Quick Guide

Serving the US Military is a privilege and a huge honor. This is why plenty of laws are in place to protect the best interests of people working in military service. One of the vital laws that ensure active duty service members get to focus on their work is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

The SCRA is a federal law that protects a service member’s financial and legal affairs as they devote their time and energy to active duty service. While SCRA protections provide eligible service members plenty of valuable benefits, no universal document suffices to prove a servicemember’s military service and ensures the SCRA protections to be honored.

So how can active duty military personnel and affected businesses comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act? This quick guide will clarify the process for SCRA notices.

notepad with trash paper background on office desk

What are the SCRA Notice Requirements?

Constant vigilance is the key to ensuring one is compliant with the SCRA. For service members and affected entities to remain compliant with the SCRA, these are the requirements:

  • Confirm active duty status. Only active duty service members and their dependents are covered by the SCRA. This means active duty service members from the Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Public Health Service, and NOAA members are provided SCRA protections. Eligible military members should provide official military orders to the lender or business requesting SCRA protections. Services like Military Verification can efficiently help military members confirm their active duty status.
  • Written notice of the requested financial or legal protections. A service member who’d like to enact their SCRA rights must submit a written notice to the entity or person from whom they’re requesting. This notice should disclose when that service member began active duty service because dates are critical in SCRA provisions.The lender, business, or person being requested from should proactively ask for the written notice to be submitted for their reference. Moreover, it is vital that the notice explicitly details which SCRA right is to be enacted. For example, if the service member asks for a business to honor their mortgage and foreclosure rights according to the SCRA, they should mention that in the notice.
  • Routine checking of a person’s active duty status. It’s not enough to confirm when the applicant started active duty service. SCRA rights only apply during specific time frames during a service member’s career. Service members should provide evidence that they’re still rendering active service. Moreover, the affected entity should proactively confirm if the service member who requested from them is still on active duty.

After entering military service, service members are oriented with their rights and privileges. Entities materially affected by the SCRA should familiarize themselves with how this law affects them. This is so that all parties involved can avoid complications in the future.

The SCRA only applies to active duty members. Select benefits cover their spouses and other dependents. To clarify, dependents refer to individuals financially relying on the service member’s support for at least 50% of their needs for at least 180 days before their active duty service period.

The Role of Notices in Protecting Servicemembers’ Rights

The SCRA grants significant benefits to eligible parties. The presentation of an SCRA notice helps protect the service member’s rights. But what kind of protections are given to eligible service members?

Affidavits for default judgments. SCRA protections don’t give service members free rein to avoid their legal obligations altogether. But what if a service member was ordered to appear before a court but could not do so because of their military service duties? Regarding civil cases, service members can be protected from default judgment. They’re allowed to request the court to delay proceedings for 90 days. However, this protection does not apply to criminal proceedings.

Foreclosure rights. As per §533 of the SCRA, it’s forbidden for a service member’s private property to be foreclosed upon, sold, or seized during their military service period or up to nine months after service. This applies to properties owned by the military member before entering active duty. A court order or written notice is required for foreclosure.

Interest forgiveness. SCRA protections aren’t always bound to a person’s active duty service duration. SCRA coverage also includes the time that the service member entered military service. Lenders must forgive, not defer, any interest above the 6% cap and recalculate monthly payments based on the adjustments.

Exemption from lease terminations. Active duty service members must move when they receive an official order with a permanent change of station. According to §535(a)(1) of the SCRA, service members can break their lease agreements when they receive deployment orders prematurely.

Reduced interest rates. As per section 257 of the SCRA, the interest rate for debts of service members and their spouses should not exceed six percent. This applies to debt acquired before the service member went into active duty military service. The reduced interest rate provision applies during the military service period and a year after for mortgage payments, and 6 percent for the military service period for nonmortgage debt. This interest is inclusive of all fees.

Vehicle repossession delays. Lenders aren’t allowed to repossess a vehicle that a service member owns during their military service period without a court order. This protection only applies if the member made at least one deposit payment on their car before entering active duty.

Steps For Businesses Upon Receiving an SCRA Notice

Again, no universal document or pass enables military personnel to have all their SCRA-related requests granted. This is why entities that receive SCRA notices should be vigilant in ensuring they follow proper protocol upon receipt. Here are steps to ensure a business or entity remains compliant with the SCRA:

Step #1: Determine the service member’s eligibility status. SCRA protections begin once a service member enters active duty and continues until 30 to 90 days after discharge. Moreover, SCRA rights only extend to people on active duty service. Businesses or entities should determine if a person is on active duty before granting SCRA benefits.

Step #2: Confirm the SCRA benefits. Understandably, not everyone is familiar with SCRA protections. Fortunately, legitimate information is accessible online and offline. Upon receipt of the written notice, the affected party should confirm if the request aligns with SCRA stipulations.

Step #3: Grant the request. The affected party should follow the SCRA provisions as mandated. This particular step depends on the business’s nature and what kind of benefit the service member has a right to.

Step #4: Check eligibility routinely. As a business, it’s vital to remain vigilant regarding the period wherein SCRA protections apply. It’s not enough to verify someone’s active duty status and forget about it altogether. They should check from time to time if the military member is still eligible for SCRA benefits. Ideally, they should check a person’s active duty status throughout an enlistment at different intervals.

The Consequences of Non-Compliance

People or companies that don’t comply with the SCRA are subject to very costly penalties. The Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and are authorized to take action against the offender who violates the SCRA.

The first violation of the SCRA can cost an entity a fine of $55,000. Repeat violations may cost the offender $110,000. Thus, non-compliance can be extremely expensive.

Staying Updated with SCRA Changes

Given how non-compliance with the SCRA can cost businesses or people an exorbitant amount of money, they should keep themselves updated with SCRA changes. This applies if that entity regularly works with service members. Service members and veterans may refer to the dedicated page on the DOJ website for updates on the SCRA. The Military Verification website also has updates on everything that surround the SCRA.


man writing on paper

Remaining compliant with the SCRA is critical to both the service members and the businesses they deal with. Fortunately, information is accessible for all parties to verify the legitimacy vof SCRA provisions. To learn more about the SCRA, explore the Military Verification website further.


What is a SCRA letter?

A SCRA letter is a written notice that details which SCRA provision a person is requesting for and when that SCRA benefit applies. This letter is provided to affected parties that have to honor SCRA rights.

What are SCRA requirements? 

Military personnel should provide written notice and evidence that they’re on active service for SCRA rights to be upheld. Every notice should be tailored to the entity it applies to.

How do I get SCRA in the military? 

Active service is the key to SCRA protection. One should obtain evidence that they’re qualified for SCRA rights.

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