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Understanding the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) stands as a pivotal piece of legislation offering a range of legal protections to those who have devoted their lives to serving in the United States military. This Act extends its benefits to regular military personnel, reservists, National Guard members, and their families – especially those handling finances during deployment. The SCRA is not just a legal document; it’s a safeguard, ensuring that those who serve can do so without undue stress or worry about their financial and legal obligations back home. This blog aims to demystify the SCRA, laying out its key features and debunking common misconceptions, thereby empowering our servicemembers and their families with knowledge and confidence.

Who is Covered by the SCRA?

Understanding who is eligible for SCRA protections is the first step in accessing its benefits. The Act covers all active duty service members, including those in the regular military, the National Guard, and the Reserve Components. It’s crucial to note that SCRA’s coverage is not limited to those in active combat or overseas deployments. It also extends to servicemembers undergoing training before deployment or engaging in various other military operations.

For family members, the SCRA’s coverage is indirect but significant. It grants them the ability to act on behalf of their deployed loved ones, especially in financial and legal matters. This aspect of the Act ensures that the pressures of managing such affairs do not add to the already challenging circumstances faced by military families.

Key Protections Offered by SCRA

The SCRA provides several critical protections designed to ease financial burdens and legal obligations for servicemembers. Understanding these can be immensely beneficial.

Interest Rate Caps

One of the most significant provisions of the SCRA is the interest rate cap. This cap limits interest rates on pre-service financial obligations and liabilities, including mortgages, credit cards, and car loans, to 6% per annum. This reduction is not automatic – servicemembers must request it in writing and supply a copy of their military orders. The reduced rate applies for the duration of active duty and, in the case of mortgage payments, up to one year after that.

Eviction Protection

Servicemembers and their families are also protected against eviction from their primary residence during active duty if the rent is below a certain threshold (updated periodically). To claim this protection, one must provide a written notice and a copy of military orders to the landlord. This protection aims to ensure that families aren’t displaced due to the financial strains that can accompany military service.

Contract Termination Rights

The SCRA allows servicemembers to terminate residential leases, automobile leases, and cell phone contracts without penalty if they receive orders for a permanent change of station or deployment for a period of 90 days or more. To do so, written notice and a copy of the military orders must be provided to the respective parties. This right is vital for those who need to relocate swiftly due to military commitments.

Addressing Common Misconceptions

Misunderstandings surrounding the SCRA can lead to underutilization or misapplication of its benefits. Here, we aim to clarify some common misconceptions.

Misconception 1: SCRA Only Applies in Combat Zones Many believe that SCRA protections are only available to those serving in combat zones. This is not the case. The Act covers all active duty service members, including those stationed domestically, undergoing training, or deployed in non-combat areas.

Misconception 2: Automatic Application of Benefits Another common belief is that SCRA benefits apply automatically. Servicemembers must proactively request these benefits, typically in writing, and provide the necessary documentation, such as military orders. Failure to do so could mean missing out on crucial protections.

Misconception 3: SCRA Covers All Debt and Obligations While the SCRA provides broad protections, it does not cover all types of debt and obligations. The interest rate cap, for instance, applies only to debts incurred prior to military service. Understanding the specifics of these protections is key to effectively utilizing the SCRA.

How to Seek Assistance and More Information

Navigating the complexities of the SCRA may seem daunting, but help is readily available. Servicemembers and their families can contact their nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office for personalized advice and assistance. These offices have the expertise to guide you through the SCRA’s provisions and help you assert your rights.


The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act is a powerful tool in the arsenal of legal protections for those in uniform. It offers peace of mind in knowing that, while servicemembers are protecting the nation, the SCRA is there to protect their legal and financial interests at home.

If you’re a service member or a family member handling financial matters during deployment, don’t navigate these waters alone. Reach out to your Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office to fully understand and utilize the SCRA benefits you’ve rightfully earned.

We are licensed in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan to best serve our Veterans, Active Duty Military, and First Responders.

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