Our site has a single function: to determine if a person is in active military service to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Creditors (such as banks and mortgage companies) and their attorneys and agents as well as others need to be cautious. Taking certain action against people on active duty or who may have recently left active duty can be dangerous. This is because the act’s protections may extend up to a year after termination of active duty. Below are some valuable resources.
People who contract with servicemembers may need verification. Creditors do searches to determine whether a servicemember is active. If so, they are subject to the protections of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
While we are happy to provide resources, we do not offer legal advice. We recommend you contact your closest legal resource.
RESOURCES FOR SERVICEMEMBERS AND FAMILIES
- MilitaryOneSource.mil is the Department of Defense-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, Guard and reserve service members and their families. They can get information on deployment, reunion, relationship, grief, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, and much more.
- Military Legal Assistance Office Locator is where you find the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Office in the continental U.S.
- LawHelp.org was created for people living on low-incomes and the legal organizations that serve them and provides referrals and resources to local legal aid and public interest law offices, basic information about legal rights, court forms, self-help information, court information, links to social service agencies, and more in your state.
- The Servicemembers Law Center is an excellent resource on the SCRA, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and the Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)
- The Military Legal Services assists servicemembers to locate active duty legal activities offering general legal services within the continental United States.
- MiMM (Misadventures in Money Management) is an excellent education series produced by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- USA.gov is useful for finding locations for active military personnel and sending “care packages”, etc.
- Diligentia Group has a nice article on how to verify military service for a veteran.
Whom does the act protect?
The SCRA protects active military members. This includes reservists, National Guardsmen and commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who are in active federal service. Dependents of these people are eligible for some of the benefits of the act as well.
10 U.S.C. § 101(d)(1) defines “active duty” for armed services as “full-time duty in the active military service of the United States … [including] full-time training duty, annual training duty, and attendance, while in the active military service, at a school designated as a service school by law or by the Secretary of the military department concerned.”
Section 101 of Title 10, U.S. Code, does not further define “active military service.” But Section 101(d)(3) says active service means service on active duty or full-time National Guard duty.
The SCRA covers those on active duty and those attending a service school. It may not cover those attending training prior to entering active duty, such as officer candidates. It is unclear, for example, whether “active military service” under 10 U.S.C. § 101(d) covers training as a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps or attendance at a military academy.
The code defines “dependent” as a servicemember’s spouse or child (as defined for purposes of veterans benefits, in 38 U.S.C. Section 101), or another individual for whom the servicemember provided more than half of the support in the 180 days prior to an application for relief under the act.
This language appears to codify courts’ treatment of the term “dependent” as relating to financial dependency rather than strict familial relationships.
38 U.S.C. Section 101(4) defines child as an unmarried person under age 18; who before attaining age 18 became permanently incapable of self-support; or who after attaining the age of 18 and until completion of education or training (but not after attaining the age of 23) is pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution; and who is a legitimate child, a legally adopted child, a stepchild who is a member of a veteran’s household or was a member at the time of the veteran’s death, or an illegitimate child but, as to the alleged father, only if acknowledged in writing signed by him, or if he has been judicially ordered to contribute to the child’s support or has been, before his death, judicially decreed the father of such child, or if he is otherwise shown by evidence to be the father of the said child.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act at 50 U.S.C. App. 511 (2) defines “military Service”as follows:
(2) Military service
The term “military service” means—
(A) in the case of a servicemember in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard—
(i) active duty, as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10, United States Code [see above], and
(ii) in the case of a member of the National Guard, includes service under a call to active service authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense for a period of more than 30 consecutive days under section 502(f) of title 32, United States Code, for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by Federal funds (note that the DMDC does not report periods of service that are less than 30 days in duration);
(B) in the case of a servicemember who is a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, active service; and
(C) any period during which a servicemember is absent due to sickness, wounds, leave or other lawful cause.
The code mentions “military service” in 10 U.S.C. § 101(d)(1), but it does not actually define it in that title.
Note that some protections extend for a period of time AFTER active military duty. For example, the 6% interest rate cap lasts for one year after termination. Proscriptions against foreclosure also extend after the active duty end date).
Also, see FAQ on Call-Up to Active Duty for other relevant information.
SCRACVS is unable to authenticate any information contained in the resources set forth above. The links and information are not to be construed as the rendering of any advice.