Know Your Rights Under the SCRA
We support our military by making sure our servicemembers are aware of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the benefits it offers. The SCRA expands and improves the provisions of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA), allowing persons on active duty in the United States Military to devote their full attention to service by easing some of their financial obligations and, in certain cases, suspending the enforcement of civil liabilities. As an active duty member of the United States Military, you may be eligible for SCRA benefits and protections.
Some of the SCRA's benefits and protections–such as the interest-rate cap limitation and protection from non-judicial foreclosure and repossession–are intended to protect military personnel who had an existing obligation prior to becoming active duty military but are less able to manage their finances while in active service. Other SCRA protections, such as protection from evictions apply to all active duty members.
Are you looking for forms to initiate a SCRA request? CLICK HERE!
Who's eligible for SCRA benefits and protections?
Active duty members of the military, including those described below, who received their loan prior to active service may be eligible for an interest rate reduction benefit and may be protected from non-judicial foreclosure and repossession of property without a court order:
- Active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, including reservists serving on active duty
- National Guard service for more than 30 consecutive days under federal orders issued by the President or Secretary of Defense
- Commissioned officers of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and Public Health Service on active service
Who's not eligible for SCRA benefits and protections?
- Individuals who received their loan or credit while on active duty in military service are not eligible for the 6% interest rate cap or the protection from non-judicial foreclosure or repossession
- National Guard members, except as described above (although some state laws provide similar benefits for National Guard members called to active duty under state-issued orders)
Mortgage and home equity benefits
- Reduction or limits on interest rates. If you enter active duty and have an existing mortgage loan, you may be entitled to a lower interest rate. Lenders generally cannot impose a rate of interest exceeding 6% on debts incurred prior to active duty. The 6% rate is in effect for your entire period of active duty service. For mortgage loans, the benefit extends 1 year beyond your period of military service.
- Extended benefit timeframe. As an additional benefit while you're transitioning to civilian life, the SCRA program extends the interest rate and reduced loan payment benefits for 12 months beyond the date your military service ends.
- Reduced payments. If your interest rate is higher than 6% for mortgages both owned and serviced by The Harbor Bank of Maryland-your payments will be reduced to reflect the lower interest rate.
- Protection from foreclosure. The SCRA generally prevents lenders from foreclosing (absent a court order) on eligible active duty servicemembers during their period of military service and 12 months thereafter. To learn more about this benefit, please contact us.
Servicemembers have up to 180 days from the date military service is completed to request benefits and provide documentation.
To apply for SCRA interest rate benefits, you'll need one of the following:
- A copy of your enlistment orders or your military orders calling you to active duty service
- A properly completed Department of Defense Short Form (available from your local JAG or Housing office)
To apply for SCRA mortgage benefits, you'll need one of the above OR a letter on official letterhead from your commanding officer containing the following:
- Your full name, including middle initial
- Your Social Security number and date of birth
- Your home address
- Date of military orders marking the beginning of the period of active military service
- Signature of your commanding officer
- Acknowledgement that the information will be relied upon by a creditor
- Commanding officer's telephone number (for verification purposes)