How to verify military service of an inactive member

There are many times lenders, business owners or others may need to verify a client’s military service. The reasons are many, but they are oftentimes related to complying with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects active duty members of the military from certain court actions. The purpose of the law is to allow servicemembers to concentrate on protecting the country without having to deal with undue stress from back home, including paying bills on time.

The law, however, does not exempt servicemembers from living up to the contracts they signed. It requires those who wish to bring suit against them to follow certain procedures, including getting a court order before proceeding with their case.

SCRACVS Can Help

When you contact the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service for assistance, and when you use the Department of Defense website, you are required to provide information such as specific dates for military service. That means you must not only give the name and other identifying information of the person about whom you are inquiring (the Defense Department also requires a Social Security number), but also specify the dates about which you are inquiring.

For instance, if your client signed an auto lease on Jan. 15, 2020, and subsequently joined the Marine Corps on Feb. 1, their obligations would be different from a person who signed a lease after joining the military. SCRA regulations provide protection for those whose circumstances affect their ability to fulfill the requirements of the contracts they signed.

That includes active duty military personnel, whether they are currently serving or were in service at the time they entered into the contract.

How to Find Military Records

It’s important that you get correct, verifiable personnel records when you do your search. Many people do not know where to start when searching for a client’s military record. The National Personnel Records Center on Archives Drive in St. Louis Missouri is part of the National Archives and Records Administration, and many people search here for information about military records or service records.

While this government website can be useful for some purposes, it states that an active duty military member must be separated from the military for 62 years before the records become public. So in 2020, only records from 1958 and before are accessible to the public. As you can imagine, this type of information may not be very helpful for today’s lenders and business owners.

Othersmay search for a DD214 request for their clients. This document is issued by the Department of Defense when a military member retires, separates or is discharged from the military. However, you can only request your own DD 214; you may not request someone’s else’s. Each DD 214 request is investigated and verified before the information is divulged.

Use SCRACVS

Thus, the best and fastest way to obtain your client’s or tenant’s military records is through the SCRACVS. We obtain military verification information upon request, and we use the Defense Department as our official source. You can get military records for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Reserves and more.

While it is technically possible for individuals to get this information on their own, it is known to be difficult and time-consuming. When dealing with delinquent tenants, clients behind on mortgages or loan payments or others in default, time is of the essence. The longer you have to wait to evict or repossess, the more money you lose.

And it is critical to follow the letter of the law. One misstep in this area could result in a charge of violating the SCRA. These charges do not even have to come from the service member; many have come directly from the Department of Justice. Banks and lenders that were the subjects of these lawsuits were compelled to settle their cases for millions in fines and restitution.

Moreover, while the fines related to the SCRA can be staggering, it is also possible that offenders could receive jail time. The government takes SCRA violations seriously, and you do not want your company to be on the wrong side of the law in these cases.

Rely on the SCRACVS for all your military service status verifications. Our results are guaranteed, and you may even opt to receive an affidavit to bring to court with you. You don’t even need to provide your client’s Social Security number. If we have the name and other identifying information such as address, birth date, driver’s license number, names of relatives, etc., we can usually find the service records. And if for any reason we can’t, you don’t have to pay. So there’s nothing to lose.

Create an account with the SCRACVS today and save money and time.

Roy L. Kaufmann

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.