TITLE VII – Further Relief

SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT (“SCRA”)

TITLE VII – FURTHER RELIEF


§ 591. Anticipatory relief [Sec. 701]

(a) Application for relief. A servicemember may, during military service or within 180 days of termination of or release from military service, apply to a court for relief —

(1)  from any obligation or liability incurred by the servicemember before the servicemember’s military service; or

(2)  from a tax or assessment falling due before or during the servicemember’s military service.

(b) Tax liability or assessment. In a case covered by subsection (a), the court may, if the ability of the servicemember to comply with the terms of such obligation or liability or pay such tax or assessment has been materially affected by reason of military service, after appropriate notice and hearing, grant the following relief:

(1) Stay of enforcement of real estate contracts.

(A) In the case of an obligation payable in installments under a contract for the purchase of real estate, or secured by a mortgage or other instrument in the nature of a mortgage upon real estate, the court may grant a stay of the enforcement of the obligation —

(i) during the servicemember’s period of military service; and

(ii) from the date of termination of or release from military service, or from the date of application if made after termination of or release from military service.

(B) Any stay under this paragraph shall be —

(i)   a period equal to the remaining life of the installment contract or other instrument, plus a period of time equal to the period of military service of the servicemember, or any part of such combined period; and

(ii)  subject to payment of the balance of the principal and accumulated interest due and unpaid at the date of termination or release from the applicant’s military service or from the date of application in equal installments during the combined period at the rate of interest on the unpaid balance prescribed in the contract or other instrument evidencing the obligation, and subject to other terms as may be equitable.

(2) Stay of enforcement of other contracts

(A) In the case of any other obligation, liability, tax, or assessment, the court may grant a stay of enforcement —

(i)    during the servicemember’s military service; and

(ii)  from the date of termination of or release from military service, or from the date of application if made after termination or release from military service.

(B) Any stay under this paragraph shall be—

(i)  for a period of time equal to the period of the servicemember’s military service or any part of such period; and

(ii)  subject to payment of the balance of principal and accumulated interest due and unpaid at the date of termination or release from military service, or the date of application, in equal periodic installments during this extended period at the rate of interest as may be prescribed for this obligation, liability, tax, or assessment, if paid when due, and subject to other terms as may be equitable.

(c) Effect of stay on fine or penalty. When a court grants a stay under this section, a fine or penalty shall not accrue on the obligation, liability, tax, or assessment for the period of compliance with the terms and conditions of the stay.

§ 592. Power of attorney [Sec. 702]

(a) Automatic extension. A power of attorney of a servicemember shall be automatically extended for the period the servicemember is in a missing status (as defined in section 551(2) of title 37, United States code) if the power of attorney –

(1) was duly executed by the servicemember —

(A)  while in military service; or

(B)   before entry into military service but after the servicemember —

(i)  received a call or order to report for military service; or

(ii) was notified by an official of the Department of Defense that the person could receive a call or order to report for military service;

(2) designates the servicemember’s spouse, parent, or other named relative as the servicemember’s attorney in fact for certain, specified, or all purposes; and

(3) expires by its terms after the servicemember entered a missing status.

(b) Limitation on power of attorney extension. A power of attorney executed by a servicemember may not be extended under subsection (a) if the document by its terms clearly indicates that the power granted expires on the date specified even though the servicemember, after the date of execution of the document, enters a missing status.

§ 593. Professional liability protection [Sec. 703]

(a) Applicability. This section applies to a servicemember who —

(1)  after July 31, 1990, is ordered to active duty (other than for training) pursuant to sections 688, 12301(a), 12301(g), 12302, 12304, 12306, or 12307 of title 10, United States Code, or who is ordered to active duty under section 12301(d) of such title during a period when members are on active duty pursuant to any of the preceding sections; and

(2)  immediately before receiving the order to active duty —

(A) was engaged in the furnishing of health-care or legal services or other services determined by the Secretary of Defense to be professional services; and

(B) had in effect a professional liability insurance policy that does not continue to cover claims filed with respect to the servicemember during the period of the servicemember’s active duty unless the premiums are paid for such coverage for such period.

(b) Suspension of coverage.

(1) Suspension. Coverage of a servicemember referred to in subsection (a) by a professional liability insurance policy shall be suspended by the insurance carrier in accordance with this subsection upon receipt of a written request from the servicemember by the insurance carrier.

(2) Premiums for suspended contracts. A professional liability insurance carrier —

(A) may not require that premiums be paid by or on behalf of a servicemember for any professional liability insurance coverage suspended pursuant to paragraph (1); and

(B) shall refund any amount paid for coverage for the period of such suspension or, upon the election of such servicemember, apply such amount for the payment of any premium becoming due upon the reinstatement of such coverage.

(3) Nonliability of carrier during suspension. A professional liability insurance carrier shall not be liable with respect to any claim that is based on professional conduct (including any failure to take any action in a professional capacity) of a servicemember that occurs during a period of suspension of that servicemember’s professional liability insurance under this subsection.

(4) Certain claims considered to arise before suspension. For the purposes of paragraph (3), a claim based upon the failure of a professional to make adequate provision for a patient, client, or other person to receive professional services or other assistance during the period of the professional’s active duty service shall be considered to be based on an action or failure to take action before the beginning of the period of the suspension of professional liability insurance under this subsection, except in a case in which professional services were provided after the date of the beginning of such period.

(c) Reinstatement of coverage.

(1)  Reinstatement required. Professional liability insurance coverage suspended in the case of any servicemember pursuant to subsection (b) shall be reinstated by the insurance carrier on the date on which that servicemember transmits to the insurance carrier a written request for reinstatement.

(2)  Time and premium for reinstatement. The request of a servicemember for reinstatement shall be effective only if the servicemember transmits the request to the insurance carrier within 30 days after the date on which the servicemember is released from active duty. The insurance carrier shall notify the servicemember of the due date for payment of the premium of such insurance. Such premium shall be paid by the servicemember within 30 days after receipt of that notice.

(3) Period of reinstated coverage. The period for which professional liability insurance coverage shall be reinstated for a servicemember under this subsection may not be less than the balance of the period for which coverage would have continued under the insurance policy if the coverage had not been suspended.

(d) Increase in premium.

(1)  Limitation on premium increases. An insurance carrier may not increase the amount of the premium charged for professional liability insurance coverage of any servicemember for the minimum period of the reinstatement of such coverage required under subsection (c)(3) to an amount greater than the amount chargeable for such coverage for such period before the suspension.

(2)  Exception. Paragraph (1) does not prevent an increase in premium to the extent of any general increase in the premiums charged by that carrier for the same professional liability coverage for persons similarly covered by such insurance during the period of the suspension.

(e) Continuation of coverage of unaffected persons. This section does not —

(1)  require a suspension of professional liability insurance protection for any person who is not a person referred to in subsection (a) and who is covered by the same professional liability insurance as a person referred to in such subsection; or

(2)  relieve any person of the obligation to pay premiums for the coverage not required to be suspended.

(f) Stay of civil or administrative actions.

(1) Stay of actions. A civil or administrative action for damages on the basis of the alleged professional negligence or other professional liability of a servicemember whose professional liability insurance coverage has been suspended under subsection (b) shall be stayed until the end of the period of the suspension if —

(A)   the action was commenced during the period of the suspension;

(B)   the action is based on an act or omission that occurred before the date on which the suspension became effective; and

(C)   the suspended professional liability insurance would, except for the suspension, on its face cover the alleged professional negligence or other professional liability negligence or other professional liability of the servicemember.

(2) Date of commencement of action. Whenever a civil or administrative action for damages is stayed under paragraph (1) in the case of any servicemember, the action shall have been deemed to have been filed on the date on which the professional liability insurance coverage of the servicemember is reinstated under subsection (c).

(g) Effect of suspension upon limitations period. In the case of a civil or administrative action for which a stay could have been granted under subsection (f) by reason of the suspension of professional liability insurance coverage of the defendant under this section, the period of the suspension of the coverage shall be excluded from the computation of any statutory period of limitation on the commencement of such action.

(h) Death during period of suspension. If a servicemember whose professional liability insurance coverage is suspended under subsection (b) dies during the period of the suspension –

(1)the requirement for the grant or continuance of a stay in any civil or administrative action against such servicemember under subsection (f)(1) shall terminate on the date of the death of such servicemember; and

(2)the carrier of the professional liability insurance so suspended shall be liable for any claim for damages for professional negligence or other professional liability of the deceased servicemember in the same manner and to the same extent as such carrier would be liable if the servicemember had died while covered by such insurance but before the claim was filed.

(i) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1)Active duty. The term “active duty” has the meaning given that term in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code.

(2)Profession. The term “profession” includes occupation.

(3)Professional. The term “professional” includes occupational.

§ 594. Health insurance reinstatement [Sec. 704]

(a) Reinstatement of health insurance. A servicemember who, by reason of military service as defined in section 703(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. App. §593(a)(1)], is entitled to the rights and protections of this Act [50 U.S.C. App. §§501 et seq.] shall also be entitled upon termination or release from such service to reinstatement of any health insurance that —

(1)was in effect on the day before such service commenced; and

(2)was terminated effective on a date during the period of such service.

(b) No exclusion or waiting period. The reinstatement of health care insurance coverage for the health or physical condition of a servicemember described in subsection (a), or any other person who is covered by the insurance by reason of the coverage of the servicemember, shall not be subject to an exclusion or a waiting period, if —

(1)    the condition arose before or during the period of such service;

(2)    an exclusion or a waiting period would not have been imposed for the condition during the period of coverage; and

(3)    in a case in which the condition relates to the servicemember, the condition has not been determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to be a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty (within the meaning of section 105 of title 38, United States Code).

(c)   Exceptions. Subsection (a) does not apply to a servicemember entitled to participate in employer-offered insurance benefits pursuant to the provisions of chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code [38 U.S.C. §§4301 et seq.].

(d)  Time for applying for reinstatement. An application under this section must be filed not later than 120 days after the date of the termination of or release from military service.

(e)   Limitation on premium increases.

(1)  Premium protections. The amount of the premium for health insurance coverage that was terminated by a servicemember and required to be reinstated under subsection (a) may not be increased, for the balance of the period for which coverage would have been continued had the coverage not been terminated, to an amount greater than the amount chargeable for such coverage before the termination.

(2)  Increases of general applicability not precluded. Paragraph (1) does not prevent an increase in premium to the extent of any general increase in the premiums charged by the carrier of the health care insurance for the same health insurance coverage for persons similarly covered by such insurance during the period between the termination and the reinstatement.

§ 595. Guarantee of residency for military personnel and spouses of military personnel 14 [Sec. 705]

(a) In general. For the purposes of voting for any Federal office (as defined in section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. §431) or a State or local office, a person who is absent from a State in compliance with military or naval orders shall not, solely by reason of that absence —

(1) be deemed to have lost a residence or domicile in that State, without regard to whether or not the person intends to return to that State;

(2)be deemed to have acquired a residence or domicile in any other State; or

(3)be deemed to have become a resident in or a resident of any other State.

(b) Spouses. For the purposes of voting for any Federal office (as defined in section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. §431) or a State or local office, a person who is absent from a State because the person is accompanying the person’s spouse who is absent from that same State in compliance with military or naval orders shall not, solely by reason of that absence —

(1) be deemed to have lost a residence or domicile in that State, without regard to whether or not the person intends to return to that State;

(2) be deemed to have acquired a residence or domicile in any other State; or

(3) be deemed to have become a resident in or a resident of any other State.

§ 596. Business or trade obligations [Sec. 706]

(a) Availability of non-business assets to satisfy obligations. If the trade or business (without regard to the form in which such trade or business is carried out) of a servicemember has an obligation or liability for which the servicemember is personally liable, the assets of the servicemember not held in connection with the trade or business may not be available for satisfaction of the obligation or liability during the servicemember’s military service.

(b) Relief to obligors. Upon application to a court by the holder of an obligation or liability covered by this section, relief granted by this section to a servicemember may be modified as justice and equity require.

§597. Enforcement by the Attorney General15 [Section 801]

(a) Civil action. The Attorney General may commence a civil action in any appropriate district court of the United States against any person who –

(1)engages in a pattern or practice of violating this Act [50 U.S.C. App. §§501 et seq.]; of

(2)engages in a violation of this Act that raises an issue of significant public importance.

(b) Relief. In a civil action commenced under subsection (a), the court may –

(1) grant any appropriate equitable or declaratory relief with respect to the violation of this Act;

(2)  award all other appropriate relief, including monetary damages, to any person aggrieved by the violation; and

(3)  may, to vindicate the public interest, assess a civil penalty –

(A) in an amount not exceeding $55,000 for a first violation; and

(B) in an amount not exceeding $110,000 for any subsequent violation.

(c) Intervention. Upon timely application, a person aggrieved by a violation of this Act with respect to which the civil action is commenced may intervene in such action, and may obtain such appropriate relief as the person could obtain in a civil action under section 802 [50 U.S.C. App. §597a] with respect to that violation, along with costs and a reasonable attorney fee.

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14 Subsection (b), covering military spouses, was added by in 2009 by P.L. 111-97.