When you do business with those who serve in the military, you must stay abreast of which clients are on active duty. The reason for this is because active duty servicemembers are covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a United States federal law that grants them certain protections and benefits. You are obligated to extend these protections to them, or risk fines and penalties levied by the courts or the Department of Defense.
Those in military service may be in one of five branches. These are:
- Air Force
- Marine Corps
- Coast Guard
Reservists and National Guard Personnel
It’s important to know, however, whether your clients are on active duty or merely on reserve, because those on reserve are not protected by the SCRA. However, if those on military reserve are at some point called to active duty, SCRA protections kick in.
Those in military service to the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are not protected by the SCRA unless they are called to active duty by the president. The federal SCRA does not extend benefits to National Guard personnel who are called up by a governor. However, some states have expanded SCRA benefits to cover this group. States are always changing and amending laws, so it is best to check the rules governing National Guard members in your state so that you are certain you are extending benefits to the correct forces.
Military Status Checks
To find out the military status type of your clients, you must conduct military verifications. While it is possible to do these on your own, it is infintely easier and faster to rely onthe services of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service. You don’t have to wonder which government department to turn to for information, or if they will give it to you.
We perform military status verifications quicky – usually within 24 hours. And while a Social Security number is helpful, you don’t need one to get your military status verfication. We can provide you with a verification or an affidavit by using other identifying information, such as name, birthdate, address, copy of a car title, etc. We also provide batch rates for those who require many and frequent military status verifications, such as banks and large lending institutions.
While it’s true you don’t have to worry about performing military status checks for your civilian customers, the truth is that most people interact and do business with members of the armed forces at some point. Thus, it is best to be informed and learn how to do your due diligence to best serve your customers who are in the military, so that you can extend them the proper benefits.