Several resources are available for a DMDC military status search. They range from the bare minimum to all-inclusive. The main considerations are whether the end product will protect you, and whether you are sure that you won’t have to start all over again because there is a problem with what you received.
Military status searches are often necessary to stay in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a federal law that extends protections to deployed military personnel. Pursuing your case without proof of the defendant’s military status can land you in trouble or double the time you need to get things done.
But where do you get proof?
A Military Status Search: The DoD’s Disadvantages
The Department of Defense is one resource. It is free, but has its limitations. If you do not supply either the Social Security number or the date of birth for the individual, the DoD will not give you any response. If you supply only the date of birth, the certificate issued by DoD will include a broad disclaimer. In effect, the disclaimer will say the DoD is not guaranteeing the results of this certificate because you did not supply a Social Security number, which is the only unique identifier for a military status search.
If you present a military status search certificate like this to a court, the court may react by asking why it should rely upon a certificate that says it isn’t guaranteed. If the court tosses out your certificate, you may have to start the process all over again. You will lose time and opportunity.
The DoD can issue certificates, but not affidavits — raised-seal, notarized documents courts often require.
Military Status Searches and Snail Mail
You can also write a letter to each branch of the military (Army, Navy, etc.) and include a check for $5.20 asking for a response. This is not only a cumbersome and protracted endeavor, but it is probably destined to fail as well. The Army, for example, has indicated it simply does not have the resources to respond. You will have wasted weeks on this wild goose chase.
On the very lowest level of the service offerings are sites that simply sell blank forms. There is no guarantee that your particular court will be satisfied with such a form. Also, you would still have to do the research to find the information to fill in the form. Most sites that do the research for you supply the documents for the same price. So why bother just buying a blank form?
At the higher end of the spectrum is a service provider such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (SCRACVS).
Trust SCRACVS with Your Military Status Search
Our one-stop shop does only one thing and we do it well: We take your information, conduct the necessary research and report back the military status. And we are set up to issue affidavits. You do not need to have the person’s Social Security number, but it helps if you do. You do not have to have the person’s birth date. The SCRACVS can accept information such as the person’s address, phone number, relatives’ names, etc. With this information, the SCRACVS can usually find the Social Security number. We can then submit it to the DoD to get a firm response, with no disclaimer.
The thousands of attorneys, lenders and litigants who use SCRACVS appreciate its quick turnaround time and attention to detail. Often people are surprised that they can actually speak to a human being (or chat online) to answer questions. If you think you will get that same, personalized attention at the DoD, good luck.
The SCRACVS charges a flat $36.40 for their work. An affidavit (optional) is $20. We can even send the affidavit by Fedex, with online tracking.
If you cannot supply a Social Security number, and the SCRACVS cannot find enough to do an SCRA verification, we will issue a full refund. There is no risk. A detailed comparison between the DMDC and the SCRACVS shows the wisdom of using the SCRACVS.
As of the time of this article, the SCRACVS has performed close to 3 million verifications. Our clients recognize the value of the service and the peace of mind that they will only have to go through this important verification process once, and SCRACVS will do it quickly and correctly.
It’s the tried and true resource of choice.