Are you in the military or know someone who is? Ever heard of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA)? If not, it’s time you did. At Clanton Law Office, we’ve gained robust experience helping servicemembers understand and leverage their rights under this important law.
Who is Covered by the SCRA?
Let’s start by understanding who is covered under this act. The SCRA applies to:
- Active duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard;
- Members of the Reserve component serving on active duty;
- Members of the National Guard component mobilized under federal orders for more than 30 consecutive days;
- Active duty commissioned officers of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Did we mention that SCRA rights can also be exercised by anyone holding a valid power of attorney for the servicemember? Yes, and in certain circumstances, some SCRA protections extend to dependents as well.
Core Protections of the SCRA
The SCRA is not just another piece of legislation; it’s an arsenal of rights and protections aimed at ensuring the financial security and peace of mind of our servicemembers. Let’s look at the core protections it offers:
- Reducing Interest Rates: The SCRA allows servicemembers to lower the interest rate on any pre-service loans to a maximum of 6 percent. It’s like a financial shield, easing the burden of debt.
- Protection against Default Judgments: Life happens. And sometimes, that might mean missing a court date. Under the SCRA, courts must appoint an attorney to represent the servicemember’s interests, providing an extra layer of defense against default judgments in civil cases.
- Protection against Foreclosure: This powerful provision means that during service and up to a year after, banks and other lenders cannot foreclose on a servicemember’s home without a court order.
- Protection against Repossession: Similarly, creditors cannot repossess personal property without a court order if the servicemember bought the property and received a loan before entering military service.
- Termination of Leases: Here’s a flexible one. Servicemembers can terminate residential housing and automobile leases without penalty if their military orders require them to do so.
The Importance of the SCRA
In 1940, Congress passed the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). In 2003 they modernized it and renamed it. Why is an law that is over 80 years old still so crucial for servicemembers? Simply put, it gives them the peace of mind to focus on serving the nation. Courts have stated that The SCRA was passed to protect servicemembers of the United States to enable such persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation and temporarily suspend court proceedings that may adversely affect the civil rights of servicemembers during their military service. This was done so that servicemembers can devote their full energy to the nations security. Consider a hypothetical servicemember, Sergeant Jane. She thought she was current on her payments, but a SNAFU with the bank caused her payments to stop. Her car was repossessed, and her home foreclosed. But thanks to the SCRA, Jane was able to get her car back and stop the foreclosure. She could focus on her duty, knowing that her financial interests were protected back home.
Navigating the SCRA with Legal Assistance
While the SCRA offers substantial protections, navigating its provisions and enforcing your rights can sometimes be complex. This is where having an experienced ally like Clanton Law Office on your side can be instrumental.
We focus on consumer protection laws and have a deep understanding of the SCRA. Whether you need help reducing your loan interest rates, defending against a potential default judgment, or understanding how to protect your home or personal property, our dedicated team is ready to assist you. We believe in aggressively defending the rights of consumers, and that includes our heroic servicemembers.
Don’t try to figure out the intricacies of the SCRA on your own. Reach out to us at Clanton Law Office and let’s discuss your situation.
The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act is a powerful tool, offering financial security and peace of mind for those bravely serving our nation. Remember, at Clanton Law Office, we’re not just here to talk about the law – we’re here to help you navigate and benefit from it. Our goal is to ensure that our servicemembers can focus entirely on their duty, with full confidence that their legal and financial rights are protected. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help understanding or enforcing your SCRA rights.