FINANCIAL PROTECTION FOR DEPLOYED SOLDIERS
There are two laws which provide financial protections for Servicemembers.
1. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
- Addresses civil, judicial and administrative proceedings, interest rates on pre-service credit cards and mortgages, eviction, mortgage foreclosure, and residential and automobile rental agreements.
- Provides protection to active duty, Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty for 20 days or more.
- Allows a Servicemember to stay court hearings or administrative hearings if they are unable to appear due to military service.
- Allows a Servicemember to reduce the interest rate on pre-service loans and obligations to six percent per year, if military service materially affects his/her ability to pay the debt.
- Requires a court order before evicting Servicemembers or their families from premises for which the monthly rent does not exceed $2,534.32 for the year 2005. This rental ceiling is adjusted annually for inflation.
- Requires a court order before foreclosure on property purchased by a Servicemember prior to entry on active duty.
- Allows a Servicemember to terminate real property leases if ordered to active duty, in receipt of permanent change of station (PCS) orders, or ordered to deploy for at least 90 days.
- Allows a Servicemember to terminate automobile leases. Pre-service automobile leases may be cancelled if the Servicemember receives orders to active duty for a period of 180 days or more. Automobile leases entered into while the servicemember is on active duty may be terminated if the Servicemember receives PCS orders to an overseas location or deployment orders for a period of 180 days or more.
2. Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Applies primarily to Reserve component Soldiers.
- Ensures that members of the Uniformed Services are entitled to prompt return to their civilian employment upon completion of their service.
- Protects individuals from discrimination in hiring, promotion, and retention on the basis of present or future membership in the Uniformed Services.
- Requires that a person who intends to invoke these reemployment benefits must provide advance written or verbal notice of the forthcoming military service to the employer.
- Sets time limits for invoking the reemployment rights based on the length of the period of active service.
- The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is the primary DoD organization to help Servicemembers protect their rights under USERRA.
For more information in protecting your rights, contact your local legal assistance office.
Source: Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
August 22, 2005
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