What is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act?
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) was passed by Congress in 1940. While the act provides certain protections to all service members, the act details specific benefits to individuals called to active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. Reservist and National Guard members (when in active federal service) are also protected under the SSCRA. The protection begins on the date the soldier entered active duty service and terminates upon release from active duty.
How do I know if I qualify for relief under the SSCRA?
Under the provisions of the SSCRA, service members may qualify for reduced interest rates on credit cards, installment loans, and mortgage loans if the service member's military obligation has affected his/her ability to pay their financial debts. For the duration of the service member's military obligation, the interest rate will be capped at 6%.
What type of debit is eligible for reduced interest rates?
The following conditions must be met for a financial obligation to fall under the SSCRA:
1. Debt must have been incurred prior to the service member coming on active duty.
2. The service member must be on active duty at the time the request for relief is made.
3. The service member's military career must have materially affected the service member's ability to pay on a debt. Generally this means that the service member makes less money in the military than they made as a civilian.
4. Federally guaranteed student loans do not qualify under this provision.
Contact your legal office for more guidance in determining your eligibility under the SSCRA.
How do I invoke the SSCRA?
Service members must notify us in writing of their intent to invoke the 6% cap. Proof of mobilization/activation to active duty should be provided to the credit union along with evidence of the difference in the member's military and civilian pay. This information should be mailed to
Tina Werking, VP Lending
Lafayette Federal Credit Union
3535 University Boulevard West
Kensington, MD 20895
In most cases, the interest rate will be reduced within one week after the request is received.
What other benefits are available under the SSCRA?
Service members called to active duty may also be eligible for protection from eviction and delay of civil court actions. For more information regarding your rights, please contact your legal office.
Knowledge is power. Be in the know for financial betterment.