Consumer Protection - Financial Protections for Service Members
Financial Protections for Service Members Basics
Recognizing the unique and significant challenges faced by military personnel and their families, legislators created the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides specific protections to all Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy service members on active duty, including reservists, members of the National Guard and Air National Guard who have been activated for duty, and active-service commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Many SCRA provisions also extend to spouses and other dependents.
Consumer Protections Available
Under the SCRA, you can reduce or cap interest rates to 6 percent per year for the period you remain on active duty on any credit card, mortgage, student loan (federally guaranteed or private), and other loans you or your spouse obtained before you entered active duty. Additional SCRA protections include:
- Safeguards for lease cancellations and evictions if you rent your home.
- Delay of all civil court actions, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure. Courts must grant active duty service members a stay in cases where current military duty requirements materially affect the member's ability to appear.
- Prohibiting lenders from retaliating against service members who claim any of the law's protections by reporting negative information to credit reporting agencies or refusing credit in the future.
Relief under the SCRA may not be automatic. Generally, you must affirmatively invoke, or request, protection. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the law’s provisions and work with your nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Office to identify and invoke any SCRA protections that apply to your particular circumstances.