Military Status Verification
A military status verification, a requirement in connection with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) is conducted to determine if a person is in active military duty. The SCRA affords certain protections to people in active military duty, called up for military duty, or recently retired.
The goal of the SCRA is to allow the men and women serving their country in military service to do so without worries of default judgments, evictions, foreclosures, and some other actions. The SCRA requires that a military status verification be conducted in certain situations to ensure that these protected individuals’ rights are being protected.
Before a court will enter a default judgment, the judge will almost always require that the plaintiff (the lender, landlord, or whoever is trying to get a judgment against an individual) submit a military affidavit (sometimes called a “non-military affidavit”, “affidavit of military service”, or “affidavit in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act”) where the plaintiff swears that a military status verification has been conducted and the results show that the individual is not on active military duty.
The Plaintiff has to be thorough. The SCRA is a federal statute with severe penalties if a plaintiff cavalierly executes an affidavit without conducting the required military status verification.
And the courts generally require that the military affidavit, resulting from the military status verification, be dispositive. That means that the judge usually wants a “yes” or “no” answer, with no equivocation or disclaimers.
One disclaimer that judges usually reject is when the military affidavit says that, because the individual’s social security number was not available and utilized during the military status verification, the results cannot be guaranteed. The judges are generally not comfortable issuing a judgment in such a situation and will usually reject such a military affidavit.
Experienced lenders, servicers, attorneys and debt collectors utilize the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (“SCRACVS”) as a one-stop resource for conducting military status verifications. The SCRACVS, based in Washington, DC, accesses the United States Department of Defense DMDC SEERS database and can usually perform the SCRA military status verifications even if the social security number is unavailable.