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Service Members
Civil Relief Act – SCRA

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) helps those who have dropped their affairs to answer their nation’s call and alleviates some of the stress placed on their families. It allows Servicemembers to suspend or postpone certain civil obligations so they can devote their full attention to their military duties.

What Kind of Relief Does it Provide?

SCRA benefits include the following:

  • Caps on interest rates
  • Tax reliefs
  • Temporary relief from mortgage payments
  • Termination of residential and automobile leases
  • Protection from eviction
  • Stay of judicial proceedings
Who Does it Protect?
  • The SCRA offers protection to the following:
  • Active duty Servicemembers in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy
  • Reservists in active federal Service
  • National Guard members in active federal Service
  • Dependents of Servicemembers in active duty (some benefits only)
The SCRA provides eligible Servicemembers with a variety of rights and benefits, including (but not limited to) the ones listed in this section. For more information, contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance (AFLA) office.

A 6% Cap on Interest Rates
If the Service affects your ability to meet obligations you had before entering active duty, you can cap their interest rate at 6%:
  • The interest rate cap starts on the first day of active duty and lasts for the duration of Service.
  • The cap can apply to credit cards, mortgages and student loans (excluding Federal Guaranteed Student Loans).
  • The excess interest will not be due after your release from active duty. The portion above 6% is permanently settled.
  • Your monthly payment must be reduced by the amount of interest saved during the covered period.
To qualify for the 6% cap, you must demonstrate the following:
  • You are now on active duty.
  • The obligation or debt was made prior to entering active duty.
  • Military Service significantly affects your ability to make payments.
You must provide creditors with a written notice requesting relief under the SCRA and a copy of your orders within 180 days of release from Service.

Protection from Eviction
The SCRA protects Servicemembers and their families from eviction if they lease a house or apartment and cannot make rent. It is adapted to today’s high cost of living. Currently, housing leases are covered for up to $2,932.31 per month and this amount will be adjusted each year to cover inflation.

You also have the right to terminate a housing lease when you receive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or when you are deployed to a new location for 90 days or more. To qualify, you or your dependents must occupy the house.

The SCRA ensures the following:
  • Your landlord cannot evict you or your dependents while you are serving on active duty without first obtaining a court order.
  • You can request that the court delay an eviction order’s execution* for 90 days. However, the court can decide whether to postpone eviction and for how long.
  • You can be protected from eviction for about three months. You must show that military duty significantly affects your ability to pay rent.
  • If a landlord evicts you regardless or tries, he or she may be subject to fines or even imprisonment. If you are in this situation, consult an AFLA attorney.
Tax Relief
If you have received PCS orders relocating you to another state, only your permanent legal residence is considered for tax purposes. As such, if you are not a resident, the state where you are temporarily located cannot tax your military income or use it to increase your or your spouse’s tax liability.

The SCRA can also defer the collection of income tax due before or during active duty Service:
  • The deferral ends 180 days after your release.
  • No interest or penalty is accrued during this period.
  • The deferral does not apply to Federal Social Security or Medicare taxes.
  • To qualify for the deferral, you must notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or state tax authority and demonstrate the following:
  • You are now on active duty.
  • Military Service significantly affects your ability to make payments.