If you or your spouse are facing any time on active orders, taking advantage of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a MUST! You can save on interest rates, fees and more when it comes to your mortgage, credit card accounts and more.
First, what exactly is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?
Basically, the SCRA protects servicemembers (who are on active orders, or Reserve and National Guard members who are called to active duty for 20 days or more) and their families from the date of entering active duty and terminates within 30 to 90 days after discharge and provides the following protections and benefits:
Repossession | Your vehicle cannot be repossessed without a court order if you made a deposit, or at least one payment before you joined
Foreclosure | SCRA stops a foreclosure without a court order
Protection from Eviction | Your landlord cannot evict you unless your rent is higher than $3,851.03 per month (for 2019), according to military.com
Stay of Proceedings | You cannot be taken to court for civil proceedings (including divorce and child support hearings)
Overdue rent on storage | The owner of a self-storage facility cannot sell your belongings for overdue rent without a court order
Service Termination | SCRA allows you to terminate your phone, cable, internet, etc. contracts (or suspend service and payments) for at least 90 days if you’re sent to a location that doesn’t have coverage under your current provider. This is HUGE. Make sure you do this the second they head overseas to avoid crazy cell phone bills and then purchase wifi to talk to family and friends while overseas. You will be able to keep your phone number if you have to cancel your service due to a relocation that lasts less than 3 years.
6% Cap on Interest Rates | Submitting your orders and any other necessary documentation to your mortage, student loans and creditors who honor the SCRA will make it so your interest rate will not exceed 6% during the active orders. Keep in mind, these benefits only apply to debts and accounts that were opened up before active orders start. Also, it says that if you use any of your SCRA rights and delay payments, it won’t reflect on your credit report.
Termination of Leases | The SCRA will allow you to terminate any (PRE-SERVICE) auto or housing leases during this time if you face active duty orders (on orders for at least 90 days for housing and at least 180 days for auto). This applies to the servicemember and the spouse (just have to make sure you send orders and marriage license to the creditor).
How do I get the right forms to apply for SCRA?
You can enter all of your servicemember’s information in this website and a form will automatically download for you to send to your student loans, mortage, etc. along with the servicemember’s active orders paperwork.
Send orders to all creditors...
Bottom line, you don’t know unless you try. So reach out to all of your credit card companies, mortgage companies, student loans, auto leases and loans, every company you owe. If you’re unsure if the company offers SCRA benefits, just google the company and SCRA and you’ll be able to find information because someone else has looked too! If you have any questions, please reach out! I’m here to help and we’re all in this together!