Search Penny Hill Press

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): An Explanation

R. Chuck Mason
Legislative Attorney

Recognizing the special burdens that members of the military may encounter trying to meet their financial obligations while serving their country, in 1940 Congress passed the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The law was amended from time to time, ordinarily in response to military operations that required the activation of the Reserves. P.L. 108-189, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), was enacted on December 19, 2003, as a modernization and restatement of the protections contained in the SSCRA. Much like with the SSCRA, the SCRA has been amended since its initial passage and proposed changes continue to be introduced in Congress. Most recently, P.L. 112-154, the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, enacted on August 6, 2012, extended protections related to mortgages and foreclosures until December 31, 2014. This report summarizes the rights granted to persons serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and in some instances, to their dependents, under the SCRA.

The SCRA provides protections for servicemembers in the event that their military service impedes their ability to meet financial obligations incurred before entry into active military service. Forgiving of all debts or the extinguishment of contractual obligations on behalf of servicemembers who have been called up for active duty is not required, nor is absolute immunity from civil lawsuits provided. Instead, the act suspends civil claims against servicemembers and protects them from default judgments. The SCRA includes provisions that prohibit the eviction of military members and their dependents from rental or mortgaged property; create a cap on interest at 6% on debts incurred prior to an individual entering active duty military service; protect against the cancellation of life insurance or the non-reinstatement of health insurance policies; allow some professionals to suspend malpractice or liability insurance while on active duty; and proscribe taxation in multiple jurisdictions and forced property sales in order to pay overdue taxes. The U.S. Attorney General is authorized to commence a civil action to enforce provisions of the SCRA. Additionally, servicemembers and their dependents have the right to commence a civil action, that is, a private cause of action, to enforce protections afforded them under the SCRA.

Date of Report: August 22, 2012
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: RL34575
Price: $29.95

To Order:

RL34575.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.