Relief act helps deployed, families

15 Nov 2007 | Lance Cpl. Austin Goacher

 The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003, a law signed by President George W. Bush, provides protection to military members who are unable to pay their bills due to their deployment.

 The law was created to allow service members to devote their entire energy to the defense of the nation.

 One of the benefits is that the act enables members of the armed forces, who are deploying for more than 180 days or executing permanent change of station orders to a military installation outside of the continental United States, to terminate vehicular leases.

 In order to execute the termination of the lease, the service member must provide a copy of their orders to the lender.

 During the service members change of duty to a new military installation within the CONUS, the act does not apply.

 Service members deploying for 90 days or more are authorized, in accordance with the act, to terminate rental contracts and housing leases.

 This form of termination entitles the member of the armed forces to receive their security deposit.

 The act does not apply to mortgages.

 The act may also entitle the family members protection from eviction while the service member is deployed.

 Service members receive some protection from civil law suits during deployment under the act. In accordance with the act a 90-day stay of hearing may be ordered by the court.

 While the SCRA does not apply to cell phones and credit cards, many companies take steps to provide service members the opportunity to freeze their contracts during deployments.

 For more information contact the legal office at 858-577-1656 or visit

 For more information on cell phone and credit card contracts contact the cell phone provider or the credit card company.

Headquarters Marine Corps