Service members Civil Relief Act
You’ve all seen the “TARGET: MONEY” pieces about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
on AFN. However, do you know the
benefits under the Act and what it might do for you?
In December 2003, President Bush signed into law the Servicemembers Civil
Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA was a
revision of the venerable Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act.
The original legislation, enacted in 1940, provided for the national
defense by suspending enforcement of civil liabilities of military members to
enable them to devote their full energy toward the defense needs of the nation.
With the same purpose in mind, the new law was written to clarify the
language of the previous law, incorporate years of judicial decisions
interpreting the law, and to recognize changes in American life since 1940.
The SCRA covers all active duty personnel, Reserve
personnel serving on active duty orders under Title 10, and Guard personnel
called to active duty for more than 30 days under Title 32. The coverage from the Act extends to all courts in the United
States, all states and territories, and the District of Columbia.
SCRA provides potential benefits in the following areas:
Civil Lawsuits, Leases, and Interest Rates.
a default judgment being entered against a military member when the member
does not appear in court to answer a civil lawsuit due to military service
the right to a military member to reopen a default judgment rendered against
the member while on active duty
a court to order a stay (delay) of proceedings, or a stay of execution of a
judgment for the period of active duty service if the member’s ability to
participate in the proceeding was materially affected by reason of the
the application of a statute of limitations, if military service prevents
participation in a suit during periods of active duty
eviction if military member is unable to pay rent due to military service
a new military member to terminate a lease for a private dwelling if it was
rented before entering military service
right to terminate real property leases due to PCS orders or deployments
over 90 days without the requirement of a military termination clause
for the termination of automobile leases if the member receives PCS orders
outside CONUS or deployment orders for more than 180 days
for a 6% cap on interest rates on interest-bearing debts incurred before
entering active duty
This is intended to be a general introduction to some of
the benefits of the SCRA. To find
out more details about the specific requirements of the Act, you should seek