How to Get an SCRA Military Status Verification Certificate

Anyone who must do an SCRA search to obtain a military status verification certificate for their court case will need the individual’s Social Security number or date of birth if they want to use the services of the Data Manpower Defense Center.

Prior to Dec. 20, 2016, this was not always necessary, but the Department of Defense made a change so that this information is required with every SCRA search. When you obtain official search results from a government body that is required to verify the military service status of an individual, it has a great impact on the legal process, so it’s important that the information be correct.

When the Department of Defense announced the change, it said their motivation was to “help users ensure their search results reflect the search criteria they intended.” While this change makes getting a military service status verification certificate more difficult, it also helps ensure that the certificates of service you get are more likely to be accurate.

For this reason, if you submit a request to the Data Manpower Defense Center for a military service status verification with the date of birth for the individual but not their Social Security number, you will get a military service certificate that says the results are not guaranteed. If you submit a service request with neither the Social Security number nor the birthdate, the Data Manpower Defense Center will not even respond.

What SCRA Protections do Military Service Personnel Get?

It’s important for financial institutions, property managers and business people to have a program in place for obtaining military service status verifications in order to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The SCRA, a federal law enacted by Congress many years ago, provides protections to those in military service from certain actions. For example, those with active duty status are allowed to break leases without penalty if they are ordered to deploy to another location. In some cases, the SCRA applies to the military member’s family as well as it relates to leases.

The SCRA also guarantees those with active duty status an interest rate on loans of 6% or lower. This applies to home loans, vehicle loans, personal loans, student loans, credit card balances and any other type of loan.

Military members who have active duty status also are entitled to SCRA protections relative to foreclosures, repossessions and evictions. However, they are not immune to these actions. Rather, plaintiffs must follow a different process when taking legal action against those protected by the SCRA, which includes obtaining a court order.

Reasoning Behind SCRA Rules

The purpose of this is to allow military members with active duty status time to respond to the suit. Because many active-duty military service personnel are deployed — whether stateside or overseas — this deployment may prevent them from answering claims and dealing with proceedings in a timely manner, or appearing in court on a certain date.

The SCRA further guarantees the active-duty military member a court-appointed lawyer to represent them if they are unable to be present to answer to the charges.

Penalties for SCRA Violations

The purpose of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is to allow service members the ability to concentrate on the job they are doing for our country and to protect them from having to worry about financial matters back home. When landlords, lenders and others wishing to bring court actions against debtors do not follow the proper procedure, they risk facing fines and other penalties for SCRA violations.

These fines and penalties can run into millions of dollars. And it’s not just the wronged military member who is allowed to bring charges; the DOJ frequently files charges for SCRA violations on behalf of military members with active duty status. What happens in these cases most often is that the offending party settles with the DOJ to avoid putting up a defence and paying the additional expense of substantial court costs.

SCRA Compliance Protocols

The best measure you can take to stay in compliance with the SCRA is to establish rules about the procedures your company or institution follows with regard to doing military status checks for customers on active duty.

Because it can be difficult, time-consuming and sometimes fruitless to use the DMDC on your own, many businesses and financial institutions instead turn to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service to verify military status.

Why Use SCRACVS for Your Search?

SCRACVS gets your military status verification certificate to you quickly — usually within 24 hours. Further, with our service, it isn’t required that you provide a Social Security number. If you provide us with other information, such as name, address, driver’s license number, license plate number, etc., we can use this to obtain your certificate.

SCRACVS provides you with results fast, via encrypted email, for $36.40 each, with batch discounts available for those that have many checks to do. For an extra $20, you also get an affidavit you can bring to the court proceedings with you, delivered to your door within 24 hours.

What You Get from the DMDC

As a business person attempting to comply with the tenets of the SCRA, you may notice that if you have received a military status verification certificate from the DMDC lately, it includes the last four digits of the servicemember’s Social Security number as well as their month and year of birth.

Previously, a DMDC certificate included only the name and the status of the debtor. This sometimes caused confusion, since many people may have the same name, or maybe known by another name. Printing the last four digits of the Social Security number and part of the date of birth on the verification greatly increases the assurance of the creditor and the court that the certificate applies to the correct person.

Use SCRACVS for a Complete SCRA DMDC Search

If you have incomplete information about the individual or you regularly do SCRA searches for dozens of names, you would do better to use SCRACVS.

Using the DMDC to find the information you need to stay in compliance with the SCRA can be time-consuming and confusing. If you have any questions or problems, you can get help from SCRACVS’ live chat and telephone support.

Glitches & Setbacks with Governmental Services

The Department of Defense has terminated the option to get DMDC help for SCRA searches via email. The DMDC has a telephone number you can call, but these calls sometimes go directly to a busy signal. If the call does go through, a message tells you about issues they can’t help you with, and then you must navigate through a series of prompts in an effort to get to a live representative, who may or may not be able to answer your questions regarding staying in compliance with the SCRA.

Rely on SCRACVS to get you the accurate information you need, quickly and efficiently. Log into our site and create a free account or contact us today.

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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.