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Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act








Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief ActSSCRA

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Service Members' Civil Relief Act

Service men and women who are active in the United States armed forces are providing a great benefit to the country and have been issued protective legislation to make sure that their financial responsibilities in addition to their legal rights are secured. The legislation is known as the Soldiersí and Sailorís Civil Relief Act of 1918 or the SSCRA. Changes were made to the original Act in the 1940s to prevent the legislation from expiring.


On December 19, 2003, President Bush signed an enhancement to the original protection, which is now called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or the SCRA.

Reservists and service members of the National Guard are included in the protections that the SSCRA offers in addition to all service members place on active duty. Furthermore, military personnel can expect to be covered from the first day of their active duty and will receive protection from the SSCRA for 30 to 90 days following the date of discharge from active duty.


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Residential Protection

Protections include the canceling of leases and rental property used for a residence, business or cultivation. The agreement must have been signed before the start of active duty, and the location must have been used by the service member or his or her dependents. It should be noted that, under the SSCRA, a lease agreement can only be canceled when the lease was signed before a notice of active duty, not after.

Service members who receive orders to move bases permanently can cancel a home lease. This provision is also in effect for those who are deployed to a new area for 90 days or longer.

Military personnel may be protected from eviction by the SSCRA. If a rental property is providing a residence for service individuals or their family members and the rental costs are $1,200 or less, then the service member can request protection against eviction. In some cases, military orders can affect a service personís ability to provide financial support.

The SCRA has expanded this protection to include todayís higher cost of living and service members can now be covered for monthly home leases up to $2,932.31. Furthermore, the new Act will be updated yearly for inflation. However, a landlord must be given written notice and can charge rent to the service member for 30 days after the next rental is due. For instance, a written notice is sent to the landlord on February 12th and the next day rent is due is on March first, the service member can be charged rent until March 31st.

Interest Rate Protection

Service members can also request an interest rate limit of six percent for debt obligations. Approved debts that fall under this area of financial protection are bills that were accumulated before the military member was assigned to active duty. Furthermore, the military person must be serving on active duty when requesting the interest rate limit.

The creditor is not allowed to charge a service member excess interest after they leave active duty, and the monthly payment will be lowered by the total amount of interest deducted each month during a service members military activation.

The service member is instructed to reach creditors in writing when making the interest rate cap request. Furthermore, the official orders can be sent to the creditor verifying the military requirement. However, a creditor can ask for a court review if he or she believes that the service member is not financially impacted by the military orders.

Legal Situations

Service members can be granted a stay when they are included in civil, bankruptcy, child custody or paternity lawsuits. Courts generally wonít grant this provision in legal proceedings that require action such as discovery or depositions. However, if a judgment is set against a military member who is serving at the time of the judgment, then it may be possible for the service member to have the judgment thrown out.

This specific provision cannot be used for cases involving criminal proceedings, child support resolutions or when the military member is a witness. Service members who are involved in legal matters are advised to have their civilian lawyer contact a Military Legal Assistance Attorney to ensure their case is handled properly.

Auto Loans

Service personnel may request protection through the SSCRA for prior debts involving auto leases in which active duty has prevented the military member from fulfilling his or her financial obligations. In order to qualify for this provision, a minimum of one deposit or payment must have been covered on the contract before entering active duty. If the contract qualifies, then the lender is unable to repossess the vehicle or cancel the contract, unless a court has approved this action.


Military personnel may ask a court to suspend taxes or other assessments that may have been incurred prior to active duty. In this situation, a court may approve a stay, which would prevent fines from being charged to the service member.

The SCRA also prevents military members from double taxation. This situation can happen when service members are married and their spouse is employed and taxed in a separate state from their permanent home residence. The SCRA will stop states from using a military personís income to determine the tax rate in the state where their spouse works. However, military pay is taxed in some states and service members will have to pay taxes on their pay in these states.

Private Health Insurance

Military personnel who are self-employed and purchase health insurance are entitled to temporarily cancel this coverage when they are placed on active duty. Upon returning from active duty, the private health insurance carrier is required to reinstate military memberís health coverage under the SCRA.

Life Insurance Benefits

Under the extended SCRA benefits, activated military personnel have received an updated life insurance protection from $10,000 to $250,000, which is the highest amount that the government will cover for default of nonpayment while a service member is out on active duty.

In providing these protections to the men and women who serve in the military, the country is showing its appreciation for those who put their life on the line for others.


Want to read the actual US Code 50 Regulation?  Reference the Sailors' and Soldiers' Relief Act.


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