Which Protections Exist Under The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?

Active duty service members get several financial and legal protections from the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but what exactly are these? Formerly known as the Sailors Civil Relief Act, the SCRA can benefit those rendering military service. Familiarizing oneself with the benefits is vital to making the most of them. We’ll discuss SCRA rights military members should learn about today.

Protection Against Default Judgement

military court vs civilian court

Let’s say a service member is called in civil proceedings. The SCRA mandates that they’re protected against default judgments. A default judgment occurs when one party at a court proceeding fails to perform a court-ordered action, which prevents the issue from being presented in court. The defendant must file an affidavit stating that the service member is on active duty for this protection to be enacted.

The court cannot enter a default judgment against the defendant until an attorney has been appointed to represent that person’s interests. This applies to civil judicial proceedings and not to criminal cases.

The Six Percent Interest Rate Limit

Active duty military members are granted a six percent interest rate limit on debt incurred before entering active duty service. This provision covers credit card debt, car loans, mortgage interest rates, and other loans.

This interest rate limit applies to one’s active duty tenure and a year after. Some financial institutions, like the Navy Federal Credit Union, take this protection a step further by reducing the interest rate reduction to 4%.

Protection Against Foreclosures

A service member’s personal property cannot be foreclosed on without a court order. This applies to mortgages, self-storage units, and the like. This protection applies during one’s active duty tenure and a year after. This particular SCRA benefit will not be honored if the service member signs an SCRA waiver.

Protection Against Repossessions

As long as the service member signed the contract before entering active duty and has made at least one monthly payment, they cannot be repossessed. If the lender wants the repossession to push through, they must get a court order.

Health Insurance Reinstatement

The SCRA stipulates that eligible service members should be reinstated to any health insurance upon termination or release from service, provided the insurance was in effect before the service commenced and was terminated within the same period.

The Right to Terminate Leases

Active duty service members are permitted to terminate leases, such as automobile and housing leases, without penalty. This protection is applicable if the person can present deployment orders stating that they are to have a permanent change of station for at least 90 days.

Deferred Income Taxes

If a service member’s ability to pay income taxes is materially affected by their military service, the Internal Revenue and state and local authorities must defer collecting their taxes. No penalty or interest must be added during this deferral.

Voting Rights

Like a service member’s tax residency, their residency for federal, state, or local purposes is unaffected by their absence due to military service. This protection also applies to military spouses.

Enforcing SCRA Rights

Unfortunately, there is no single form or documentation one can present to have one’s SCRA protections honored. Active-duty members, Reserve members, and the National Guard called to active duty must provide written notice of their intention to have a particular SCRA protection honored.

Moreover, for the SCRA right to be valid, they need to present evidence that they’re on active duty. This can be in the form of one’s deployment orders or a letter from a commanding officer. What matters is that the starting date of active duty service is stipulated in the document.

It should be highlighted that SCRA rights are not honored if the applicant signs an SCRA waiver. However, the waiver shouldn’t be automatically part of one’s contract.

Final Words

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can provide vital protections to service members, and they should familiarize themselves with these rights. Determining one’s active duty status is essential to honor these rights. The SCRACVS can help service members by providing evidence that they’re on active duty service.


What is the current Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

The SCRA provides legal and financial protections to active duty service members. Some protections apply to dependents.

What does the SCRA include?

The SCRA includes several protections, such as a six percent interest rate reduction, protection against default judgments, foreclosures, repossessions, health insurance reinstatement, the right to terminate leases, deferred income taxes, and voting rights.

What is the objective of SCRA? 

The objective of the SCRA is to help service members concentrate on serving the nation by easing their financial and legal obligations.

What is not covered by SCRA? 

Contracts and debt signed after one enters active duty service are not covered by the SCRA.

What is the 6 percent rule for SCRA?

The 6% rule for SCRA stipulates that service members are granted a six percent interest rate limit for debt entered before they enter active duty.

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