INTRO – TITLE I – General Provisions

SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT (“SCRA”)

§ 501.  Short title  [Sec. 1]
This Act [50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501 et seq.] may be cited as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
§ 502.  Purpose  [Sec. 2] The purposes of this Act are—
(1) to provide for, strengthen, and expedite the national defense through protection extended by this Act to servicemembers of the United States to enable such persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation; and

(2)  to provide for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions that may adversely affect the civil rights of servicemembers during their military service.

TITLE I — GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 511. Definitions [Sec. 101]

For the purposes of this Act:

(1)  Servicemember

The term “servicemember” means a member of the uniformed services, as that term is defined in section 101(a)(5) of title 10, United States Code.

(2)  Military service. The term “military service” means—

(A) in the case of a servicemember who is a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard—

(i)   active duty, as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code, and

(ii)  in the case of a member of the National Guard, includes service under a call to active service authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under section 502(f) of title 32, United States Code, for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by Federal funds;

(B) in the case of a servicemember who is a commissioned officer of the

Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, active service; and

(C) any period during which a servicemember is absent from duty on account of sickness, wounds, leave, or other lawful cause.

(3) Period of military service. The term “period of military service” means the period beginning on the date on which a servicemember enters military service and ending on the date on which the servicemember is released from military service or dies while in military service.

(4) Dependent. The term “dependent”, with respect to a servicemember, means—

(A)   the servicemember’s spouse;

(B)   the servicemember’s child (as defined in section 101(4) of title 38, United States Code); or

(C)   an individual for whom the servicemember provided more than one-half of the individual’s support for 180 days immediately preceding an application for relief under this Act [sections 501 to 596 of this Appendix].

(5) Court. The term “court” means a court or an administrative agency of the United States or of any State (including any political subdivision of a State), whether or not a court or administrative agency of record.

(6) State. The term “State” includes—

(A)   a commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States; and

(B)   the District of Columbia.

(7) Secretary concerned. The term “Secretary concerned”—

(A)   with respect to a member of the armed forces, has the meaning given that term in section 101(a)(9) of title 10, United States Code;

(B)   with respect to a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, means the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and

(C)   with respect to a commissioned officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, means the Secretary of Commerce.

(8) Motor vehicle. The term “motor vehicle” has the meaning given that term in section 30102(a)(6) of title 49, United States Code.

(9) Judgment. The term ‘judgment’ means any judgment, decree, order, or ruling, final or temporary.2

2 Subsection (9) was added by P.L. 108-454, effective December 10, 2004.

§ 512. Jurisdiction and applicability of Act [Sec. 102]

(a) Jurisdiction

This Act applies to—

(1)the United States;

(2)each of the States, including the political subdivisions thereof; and

(3)all territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

(b) Applicability to proceedings

This Act applies to any judicial or administrative proceeding commenced in any court or agency in any jurisdiction subject to this Act. This Act does not apply to criminal proceedings.

(c) Court in which application may be made

When under this Act any application is required to be made to a court in which no

proceeding has already been commenced with respect to the matter, such application may be made to any court which would otherwise have jurisdiction over the matter.

§ 513. Protection of persons secondarily liable [Sec. 103]

(a)     Extension of protection when actions stayed, postponed, or suspended. Whenever pursuant to this Act a court stays, postpones, or suspends (1) the enforcement of an obligation or liability, (2) the prosecution of a suit or proceeding, (3) the entry or enforcement of an order, writ, judgment, or decree, or (4) the performance of any other act, the court may likewise grant such a stay, postponement, or suspension to a surety, guarantor, endorser, accommodation maker, comaker, or other person who is or may be primarily or secondarily subject to the obligation or liability the performance or enforcement of which is stayed, postponed, or suspended.

(b)    Vacation or set-aside of judgments. When a judgment or decree is vacated or set aside, in whole or in part, pursuant to this Act, the court may also set aside or vacate, as the case may be, the judgment or decree as to a surety, guarantor, endorser, accommodation maker, comaker, or other person who is or may be primarily or secondarily liable on the contract or liability for the enforcement of the judgment or decree.

(c)     Bail bond not to be enforced during period of military service. A court may not enforce a bail bond during the period of military service of the principal on the bond when military service prevents the surety from obtaining the attendance of the principal. The court may discharge the surety and exonerate the bail, in accordance with principles of equity and justice, during or after the period of military service of the principal.

(d) Waiver of rights.

(1)Waivers not precluded. This Act does not prevent a waiver in writing by a surety, guarantor, endorser, accommodation maker, comaker, or other person (whether primarily or secondarily liable on an obligation or liability) of the protections provided under subsections (a) and (b). Any such waiver is effective only if it is executed as an instrument separate from the obligation or liability with respect to which it applies.

(2)Waiver invalidated upon entrance to military service. If a waiver under paragraph (1) is executed by an individual who after the execution of the waiver enters military service, or by a dependent of an individual who after the execution of the waiver enters military service, the waiver is not valid after the beginning of the period of such military service unless the waiver was executed by such individual or dependent during the period specified in section [50 U.S.C. App. §516].

§ 514. Extension of protections to citizens serving with allied forces [Sec. 104]
A citizen of the United States who is serving with the forces of a nation with which the United States is allied in the prosecution of a war or military action is entitled to the relief and protections provided under this Act if that service with the allied force is similar to military service as defined in this Act. The relief and protections provided to such citizen shall terminate on the date of discharge or release from such service.

§ 515. Notification of benefits  [Sec. 105]
The Secretary concerned shall ensure that notice of the benefits accorded by this Act is provided in writing to persons in military service and to persons entering military service.

§515a. Information for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents on rights and protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act [Sec. 105a]

(a)   Outreach to members. The Secretary concerned shall provide to each member of the Armed Forces under the jurisdiction of the Secretary pertinent information on the rights and protections available to members and their dependents under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(b)  Time of provision. The information required to be provided under subsection (a) to a member shall be provided at the following times:

(1)During the initial orientation training of the members.

(2)In the case of a member of a reserve component, during the initial orientation training of the member and when the member is mobilized or otherwise individually called or ordered to active duty for a period of more than one year.

 (3) At such other times as the Secretary concerned considers appropriate.

(c) Outreach to dependents. The Secretary concerned may provide to the adult dependents of members under the jurisdiction of the Secretary pertinent information on the rights and protections available to members and their dependents under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

(d)Definitions. In this section, the terms “dependent” and “Secretary concerned” have the meanings given such terms in section 101 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act [50 U.S.C. App. §511].

§ 516. Extension of rights and protections to reserves ordered to report for military service and to persons ordered to report for induction [Sec. 106]

(a) Reserves ordered to report for military service. A member of a reserve component who is ordered to report for military service is entitled to the rights and protections of this title and titles II and III during the period beginning on the date of the member’s receipt of the order and ending on the date on which the member reports for military service (or, if the order is revoked before the member so reports, or the date on which the order is revoked).

(b)Persons ordered to report for induction. A person who has been ordered to report for induction under the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.) is entitled to the rights and protections provided a servicemember under this title and titles II and III during the period beginning on the date of receipt of the order for induction and ending on the date on which the person reports for induction (or, if the order to report for induction is revoked before the date on which the person reports for induction, on the date on which the order is revoked).

§ 517. Waiver of rights pursuant to written agreement [Sec. 107]

(a) In general. A servicemember may waive any of the rights and protections provided by this Act. Any such waiver that applies to an action listed in subsection (b) of this section is effective only if it is in writing and is executed as an instrument separate from the obligation or liability to which it applies. In the case of a waiver that permits an action described in subsection (b), the waiver is effective only if made pursuant to a written agreement of the parties that is executed during or after the servicemember’s period of military service. The written agreement shall specify the legal instrument to which the waiver applies and, if the servicemember is not a party to that instrument, the servicemember concerned.

(b) Actions requiring waivers in writing. The requirement in subsection (a) for a written waiver applies to the following:

(1) The modification, termination, or cancellation of—

(A) a contract, lease, or bailment; or

(B) an obligation secured by a mortgage, trust, deed, lien, or other security in the nature of a mortgage.

(2) The repossession, retention, foreclosure, sale, forfeiture, or taking possession of property that—

(A) is security for any obligation; or

(B) was purchased or received under a contract, lease, or bailment.

(c)   Prominent Display of Certain Contract Rights Waivers. Any waiver in writing of a right or protection provided by this Act that applies to a contract, lease, or similar legal instrument must be in at least 12 point type.

(d)  Coverage of periods after orders received. For the purposes of this section—

(1) a person to whom section 106 [50 U.S.C. App. §516] applies shall be considered to be a servicemember; and

(2) the period with respect to such a person specified in subsection (a) or (b), as the case may be, of section 106 [50 U.S.C. App. §516] shall be considered to be a period of military service.

§ 518. Exercise of rights under Act not to affect certain future financial transactions [Sec. 108]

Application by a servicemember for, or receipt by a servicemember of, a stay, postponement, or suspension pursuant to this Act in the payment of a tax, fine, penalty, insurance premium, or other civil obligation or liability of that servicemember shall not itself (without regard to other considerations) provide the basis for any of the following:

(1) A determination by a lender or other person that the servicemember is unable to pay the civil obligation or liability in accordance with its terms.

(2) With respect to a credit transaction between a creditor and the servicemember—

(A) a denial or revocation of credit by the creditor;

(B) a change by the creditor in the terms of an existing credit arrangement; or

(C) a refusal by the creditor to grant credit to the servicemember in substantially the amount or on substantially the terms requested.

(3) An adverse report relating to the creditworthiness of the servicemember by or to a person engaged in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information.

(4)A refusal by an insurer to insure the servicemember.

(5)An annotation in a servicemember’s record by a creditor or a person engaged in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information, identifying the servicemember as a member of the National Guard or a reserve component.

(6)A change in the terms offered or conditions required for the issuance of insurance.

§ 519. Legal representatives [Sec. 109]

(a) Representative. A legal representative of a servicemember for purposes of this Act is either of the following:

(1) An attorney acting on the behalf of a servicemember.

(2) An individual possessing a power of attorney.

(b) Application. Whenever the term “servicemember” is used in this Act, such term shall be treated as including a reference to a legal representative of the servicemember.