If you’re in the banking or lending industries – or, in fact, any industry that frequently does business with military personnel – you must regularly perform military status checks on your customers in order to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
This federal law outlines extra rights and privileges granted to active-duty servicemembers. The SCRA was enacted in 1922 as the Soldiers and Sailors Act, but it has undergone a few changes and additions over the years.
Additionally, some states have adopted policies and procedures that give service members rights above and beyond those granted to them by the federal SCRA.
It’s important that you familiarize yourself with these laws and retain the proper information to refer back to in any state you do business in.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and courts have been levied steep fines and penalties on those who violate the SCRA, knowingly or otherwise.
How Do I Do a Military Record Search?
You can perform a military status check in an attempt to verify service on your own; however, it can be a slow and time-consuming process to get the information you need. Unfortunately, many people launch their start at the National Personnel Records Center, which does, in fact, keep military records. However, the public is prohibited from accessing military records information from the National Personnel Records Center until the servicemember has been separated from service for 62 years.
Service records are also available from the DMDC, but you must have the individual’s Social Security number for the DMDC to verify the result. If you only have a date of birth, you can sometimes use the DMDC, but your result will be inconclusive. If you do not have the Social Security number or date of birth, you may not use the DMDC. Fortunately, there is a better resource.
Use the SCRACVS for Your Searches
The best way to search service records is to use the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service. The SCRACVS can do a military records check using other identifying information, such as name, address, birthdate, phone number, relatives’ names, previous address, personnel records, etc., and we can usually provide military status verification. And if we can’t, we can prepare an affidavit of due diligence, almost universally accepted by courts, or you can cancel your order for a full refund.
Our service makes the job of searching for military service records information quick and easy. Simply sign up for a free account here on our site and start ordering your military service verifications immediately. We check military service records for you and get results, usually in 24 hours. Plus, our fees are reasonable, and we offer discount rates for batch customers.
Usually, in the case of clients or tenants who are behind in payments, time is money, and the faster your get your military service records, the faster your case will be able to proceed in court.
What Are Active Duty Status Checks For?
A search of your clients’ military service status allows you to learn which of your customers are active-duty servicemembers, or if they served in the military within the past year. Once you have this information for each individual, you should extend the proper privileges to them.
Some of these privileges include:
- A 6% interest rate
- Protection against eviction, foreclosure and repossession
- Protection against default judgments
- The ability to cancel contracts early without penalty, such as with cell phone companies
What Is the SCRA For?
It is important for lending institutions, property managers, and anyone who does business with those in military service to extend SCRA protections to them.
The law was written to afford protections to service members who might be deployed and would find it difficult to address issues back home, such as if family members had sent in their car payment on time.
Further, the intent of the law is to relieve military service members of the worry that may accompany unpaid bills so that they may focus on their duty to protect the country.
Protected, Not Exempt
While servicemembers still must address these issues, the courts grant those in the service more time and resources than they would an ordinary civilian.
This is most important in cases in which the service member is required to appear in court. The servicemember may no longer be in the immediate area, and even if they are, they are frequently unable to simply take time off to attend a hearing.
When you follow the tenets of the SCRA, service members have more time to answer to allegations.
But adhering to the SCRA is more than just doing a good deed or respecting a servicemember. It’s the law. Over the years, many property management companies, car leasing companies, towing companies, banks, and lending institutions, and others have had to pay restitution to their clients for improperly evicting them or their families, repossessing their cars, or not lowering their interest rate properly.
Many of these offenders were required to pay penalties on top of that, some in the tens of millions of dollars. This is why it’s critically important to run active duty status checks regularly on all clients and make sure your information is up to date.
Depend on SCRACVS
Whenever you need military status verification, rely on SCRACVS. Questions? Contact us by phone or live chat for answers and more information.