When determining if someone is on active duty, there are some instances where a person’s age may be a quick answer whether the person could be a “Servicemember” under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) found in the Appendix to 50 USCA 501 et seq. Although the SCRA refers to “Servicemember”, but you must look elsewhere in the U.S. Code to find further definitions to explore the servicemember’s age. Servicemember age is a determining factor whether the person is subject to the protections of the SCRA.
First, see the definitions of “uniformed services” (the broader term) and “armed forces” (one component “uniformed services”) at 10 U.S.C.A. § 101:
(4) The term “armed forces” means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
(5) The term “uniformed services” means–
(A) the armed forces;
(B) the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and
(C) the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.
When does active service end? Generally, there is forced retirement once a person is 64 years old. Notwithstanding a servicemember age, under rare circumstances when a person’s grade is above major general or rear admiral, the age can be 66 or 68 if approved specifically by the President or the Secretary of the Department of Defense. See 10 U.S.C.A. § 1253:
§ 1253. Age 64: regular commissioned officers in general and flag officer grades; exception
(a) General rule.–Unless retired or separated earlier, each regular commissioned officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps serving in a general or flag officer grade shall be retired on the first day of the month following the month in which the officer becomes 64 years of age.
(b) Exception for officers serving in O-9 and O-10 positions.–In the case of an officer serving in a position that carries a grade above major general or rear admiral, the retirement under subsection (a) of that officer may be deferred–
(1) by the President, but such a deferment may not extend beyond the first day of the month following the month in which the officer becomes 68 years of age; or
(2) by the Secretary of Defense, but such a deferment may not extend beyond the first day of the month following the month in which the officer becomes 66 years of age.
As set forth above Servicemember age is a criterion for determining coverage under the SCRA and may provide information to include in a military affidavit that is dispositive as to whether the individual is in active service, when the social security number is unknown.