Here at the planting seeds blog, we do our best to give financial advice and share in our financial experiences. In honor of Veteran’s Day, we are focusing our knowledge of the financial and credit industries to our current military men and women in hopes that our understanding of the industry can help in their current or upcoming deployments. So let’s talk SCRA!
Having been a part of KLS for quite some time now, I have always known of the SCRA, or Servicemembers Civil Relief Act; but it wasn’t until recently that I found out the people in which this directly affects don’t necessarily know or understand the benefits provided to them. My significant other is currently active duty in the National Guard and just recently left for his first deployment. In the preparations of his departure, I asked him if he looked into some of the protections of the SCRA, and he didn’t quite know what I was talking about. I’m not biased or anything, but my significant other is the smartest person out there, so if he isn’t aware of this than how many other service men and women are also unaware? So let’s break it down.
The SCRA is a federal law that specifically protects military members while “active duty”. This protection can come in many different forms but essentially postpones or suspends financial and/or civil obligations to prevent service members from being taken advantage of while away from home. Military.com does a great job of breaking down all of the protections and benefits for you, but we are a collections and credit reporting agency, so let me tell you how it is relevant to us.
- Property Lease Termination Rights
There are quite a few things that the SCRA protects in this category. To start, you can terminate a lease agreement without penalty if you deploy for 90 days or more. It also says that a surviving spouse can also terminate a lease if their partner dies on active duty. If you or a loved one are currently being charged by us for a terminated lease and you fell under one of those guidelines, let us know right away so we can help you get this resolved!
- Credit Reporting Protection
Let’s look at this topic with an analogy. On January 1, 2019 you go to the doctor because you have the flu. You have insurance and you paid your copay when you were seen. When you leave the doctor that day, you think everything is paid for and never think of that visit again. In the background, your insurance has covered the visit but applied the flu test to your deductible leaving a balance due. In March, you were called to deploy, therefore never seeing the bill from the doctor’s office nor the bill from the collection agency a few months later. As long as you have activated your SCRA rights and alerted the credit bureaus to your deployment, credit reporting will NOT happen for that past due bill. You should pay it once you return, because that protection does expire, but at least it can leave you worry-free while you are away.
The legal offices on base can provide you with a lot more information than I can, but from my experience with my own soldier, the completion of a quick form gives you and your family legal protection for the entire time you are gone. Not to mention, the ongoing protection while you are listed as active duty.
KLS Financial is grateful to each and every veteran and do the best we can to support you. We partner with our clients to provide affordable payment plans and discounts whenever we can. If you have a bill in our office, call us to inquire of our military and veteran discounts today, and thank you for your service!