A military service certificate, known by many other names such as nonmilitary affidavit or active duty verification, is essential to military members despite their active or inactive status. It also protects any active service member from being pursued legally while serving their country.

You may need a military affidavit for a number of reasons. A military affidavit, first and foremost, can verify the military service status of an individual, and can protect them against any legal or financial action taken against them while they are serving active duty, and give them extra time to prepare themselves and their defense against action of any sort.

Document with a pen

What is a Military Affidavit?

Military affidavits are crucial documentation that an individual can use in financial actions such as dealing with lenders or debt collectors, and for much more. Having proof of service documentation on hand keeps you compliant with the Service Members Civil Relief Act or the SCRA.

While the look of them can vary from state to state or depending on the jurisdiction you are in, all military affidavits basically serve the same purpose: they confirm or deny active-duty status for servicemembers across the military.

A military affidavit is known by different names, depending on the court, jurisdiction, etc. These names include:

  • Affidavit of military service
  • Affidavit in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • Nonmilitary affidavit

It is a document often used in court proceedings that will contain basic information such as name, date of birth, and dates of service. Mainly, it features a section that determines an individual’s military status- if they are actively serving or otherwise discharged.

Where can I use a Military Affidavit?

A military affidavit can serve several purposes for a servicemember or their next-of-kin, or even a litigant.

If you are a servicemember, you may need a military affidavit to prove your military status. The affidavit can protect you from legal processes such as foreclosure, default judgments, or repossessions of property. This is the main purpose an affidavit serves: a servicemember cannot defend themselves against legal allegations if they are deployed, especially to a foreign country.

Lenders will typically have to submit a military affidavit to court proceedings in order to pursue foreclosures and the like against a servicemember. To add to this, foreclosures and legal seizures cannot be started against a servicemember, even if they are behind on their mortgage, as long as they are on active duty. A lender who decides to pursue this plan of action against a servicemember on duty will have to provide a military affidavit that proves that the debtor is discharged or otherwise not on active duty.

Gavel and US Flag in background

What does a military affidavit protect me from?

The SCRA mainly protects against default judgments, as a court cannot rule against the defendant or servicemember if they are not there because they are deployed. According to the SCRA, any party suing a servicemember must give the court a military affidavit that states the defendant’s active duty status. This affidavit can provide dates of service and can be used in court.

The SCRA protects against property seizure, home foreclosure, and lease termination for residential or vehicular space in addition to default judgments. Attorneys general is authorized to file lawsuits in federal court against those who violate the SCRA.

A military affidavit is crucial in protecting servicemembers against legal action taken against them if they are deployed, and helps litigants or creditors to establish that they have conducted a thorough search and ready to legally pursue a defendant that is not on active duty.

Can anyone obtain a military affidavit?

You can easily get military affidavit of an individual through the SCRA website. Once you have signed up, the process is fairly straightforward and you can receive the documentation within 24 hours but you will need to have the Social Security number tied to the servicemember in question. With legal processes, time is of the essence, and the SCRA will do its best to get your affidavit to you promptly and efficiently.

Next-of-kin may also obtain a military affidavit, though they will need the complete details of the servicemember to be able to use the traditional channels of getting a military affidavit, like through the Defense Department Manpower Center or DMDC website, but you will need to have the Social Security number tied to the servicemember in question, and that is not information that is privy to the general public. Therefore, to use the DMDC website, you must be next-of-kin with access to the servicemember’s Social Security number or their service number.

In some cases, obtaining a military affidavit can be hindered by a lack of pertinent information from the requester: if you do not have either the date of birth or the Social Security number of the servicemember in question, you typically cannot obtain a complete military affidavit. You can receive a document confirming the person’s status, but it will come with a disclaimer that says that the information is inaccurate and, therefore, not admissible in court.

Since the military affidavit is very important documentation for servicemembers and lenders alike, the military is cautious about who can access them and for what purpose.

How can I get a military affidavit?

To start the process of acquiring a military affidavit, first, you must obtain a reliable military verification check. Individuals or companies can use the military verification check from the Defense Department’s Department Manpower Data Center. However, you do need specific information, and you cannot operate on presumed results until you receive confirmation from the DMDC.

Beyond the DMDC, you can also try the Veterans Affairs website or your local veteran affairs facility. This is a reliable and legitimate way to access military certification if you need it to verify your active-duty status. Another way is to try going through a private investigator, who can help you find the official military personnel file that can act as military verification. Yet another way is to try reaching out via snail mail or email to the National Personnel Records Center for further information.

The best way to get a military affidavit for servicemembers and civilian next-of-kin alike is to go through the SCRA website. Since military verification is so important and can serve several purposes, the chief of which is protecting the assets and rights of servicemembers while deployed, the SCRA website is your best bet to getting it efficiently and legitimately.

Conclusion

If you find yourself in a position where you need to verify military status of an individual quickly, you can rely on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service. More accessible to access than the DMDC (which requires a Social Security number to be accessible) and faster than the NPRC (which can take up to ten business days to process a request). There is also the inconvenience of going through all that hassle through other channels and only having a certificate for it at the end with a disclaimer that the information may not be reliable.

On the other hand, the SCRACVS is accessible through additional basic information such as name, birth date, names of next-of-kin, etc., to get reliable military verification that can hold up in court, all for a small fee.