DoD Knowledge Base: FAQs

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Published: 04/10/2007 | Updated:  07/29/2014
What military personnel rights are covered under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA) updated what was formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA). It is a federal law that gives all military members important rights while they are on active duty.

It covers such issues as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, and income tax payments. It also provides many important protections to military members while on active duty.

The SCRA protects both active duty military members, reservists and members of the National Guard when called to active duty (starting on the date active duty orders are received. In limited situations, it also covers dependents of military members (e.g., certain eviction actions).

To receive protection under some parts of the SCRA, the member must be prepared to show that military service has had a "material effect" on the legal or financial matter involved. Protection under the SCRA must be requested during the member's military active duty or within 30 to 180 days after active military service ends, depending on the protection being requested.

In many situations, the SCRA protections are not automatic, but require some action to invoke the Act. For example, to obtain a reduction of the service member's pre-active duty mortgage or credit card interest rates, the service member must send his/her lender or creditor a written request and a copy of your mobilization orders.

Legal advice is also available. If the service member thinks that he/she has rights under the SCRA that may have been violated, or that he/she is entitled to be shielded from a legal proceeding or financial obligation by the SCRA protections, the service member should discuss the matter with a legal assistance attorney or a civilian lawyer. Please visit The Judge Advocate General's Corps site for more information: https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/legal.