The Rights of Military Members under SCRA
Easing the burdens of military life
Every year, the US military deploys and PCS's thousands of servicemembers to dozens of locations across the globe. Of course, deployment or a PCS involves disruption to a soldier’s personal life, and it is an expected part of military life. However, that expectation doesn’t make it easy. Fortunately, federal law provides protections for military members to help ease the personal burdens caused by a military deployment or PCS.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043, allows military members to cancel a lease or service contract for a house, apartment, car, or phone provider with 30 days’ notice of departure from the local area on military orders.
A lesser known but potentially very helpful SRCA right allows servicemembers to reduce the interest rate on any pre-service debt to 6 percent during their period of service. This can be a big savings for servicemembers, especially Reservists and Guardsmen, and can normally be accomplished with a simple request letter to the creditor.
Other helpful SCRA rights include the right for military members, upon request, to be granted a stay of proceedings for court or administrative hearings, including child custody hearings, during a deployment. Under SCRA, military members also have protections from default judgment, foreclosure, eviction, or seizure of property.
Each of these rights have time timing issues and other specific requirements. For further information, military members should contact their local military legal assistance office, or a qualified civilian attorney. If you believe your SCRA rights have been violated, you have a right to bring a civil suit in federal court.