Soldier’s and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act

When Bryan joined the Army we had a little debt — not much, but our bank told me about the Soldier’s Civil Relief Act. They are a wonderful Credit Union and truly care about the customer so I was very grateful when they told me I qualified for a drastically reduced interest rate. I took them up on the offer, filled out the paperwork and showed them a copy of Bryan’s orders. It was a done deal and the debt was paid off super fast since I chose to double up on payments as the interest was so low!

Check out the following information on the Act and see if you qualify for its benefits.

The following EXCERPT is from http://www.defense.gov/specials/relief_act_revision/

American Forces Information Service

If you’re a reserve component service member called to active duty, you’re protected by a law that can save you some legal problems and possibly some money as well.
Under the provisions of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, you may qualify for any or all of the following:
• Reduced interest rate on mortgage payments.
• Reduced interest rate on credit card debt.
• Protection from eviction if your rent is $1,200 or less.
• Delay of all civil court actions, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce proceedings.

“Although all service members receive some protections under the SSCRA, additional protections are available to reserve components called to active duty,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Lindemann, deputy director for legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Most active duty service members are familiar with the provisions of the SSCRA that guarantee service members the right to vote in the state of their home of record and protect them from paying taxes in two different states.

One of the most significant provisions under the act limits the amount of interest that may be collected on debts of persons in military service to 6 percent per year during the period of military service. This provision applies to all debts incurred prior to the commencement of active duty and includes interest on credit card debt, mortgages, car loans and other debts. The provision, Lindemann emphasized, applies to pre-service debts, and the interest rate reduction doesn’t occur automatically — service members must request it. READ MORE

9 Responses to “Soldier’s and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act”

  1. Jenn Says:

    My husband is getting active duty orders soon and will be using the relief act for his credit cards. My question is would the act cover my cards if I add him as an authorized user even though the debt on the cards occurred before I would add him and before we were married?
    I read on the act that it covers debt the service member and spouse accrued before active duty dates, but nothing about my situation.
    From other websites adding authorized users makes both parties liable for that debt amount through the eyes of the credit card company and credit report agencies. But could it also make it so that my cards could be eligible for the lower interest rate?
    If so it would really help us out in just paying them off completely.
    If you can explain that part of the act I would be most appreciative. Thank you.

  2. Claire Says:

    I would either call your financial institution, JAG or if he’s willing, just add him. That way you have your bases covered. Be sure to take a copy of his orders — the orders that show when his active duty status begins.

    Good luck!

  3. Josh Says:

    Does the Soldiers’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) apply to personnel already in the Military that have recently got divorced and have to pay both child and sposal support? I have 3 credit cards with just over $10K in debt. I currently pay over the minimum, but with the court order paying child support of $1K/month (california), plus spousal…
    I am unable to make the minimam payments for the last three months. I have been trying to get my interest rates, but the banks will not listen to me. NFCU keep telling me that they are not accepting requests to lower interest rates.
    I have written down 7 different names & times who I have talked to. Learned to keep a log of all important phone calls. One of my card’s interest rate is 17 percent. The rate was increased right before the law changed about card companies required to notify customers of interest raises.
    I am deploying soon and do not know what else to do. I received a letter from my Admin Department stating my approximate deployment and for how long. I used this letter before to lower my interest rate, but it does not always work. 2 or 3 credit card companies accepted the letter in my last two deployments. This is my third deployment in three years. Thank you in advance for any assistance or guidance.

  4. Claire Says:

    Josh,

    I think it depends on when the debt was incurred, but I may be wrong. I used this relief act to lower payments we were making when my husband first joined. What you need to do is send the credit card companies a copy of your orders and tell them you would like your interest rates lowered under this act. They will contact you to let you know if you don’t qualify… if you don’t and you think you should then talk to someone at JAG to see if you have grounds to take it farther.

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