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History of the SCRA


The history of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) can trace its origin back to the American Civil War.

After the Civil War, a moratorium was passed to suspend certain actions against Union soldiers and sailors. This included contract enforcement, bankruptcy, foreclosure and divorce proceedings.

These prohibitions were formally codified in the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1918. That act expired after World War I, but it came back as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940. In this version of the act, which had no expiration date, Congress again maintained its strong support for protections to personnel on active military duty.

Congress revisited the act repeatedly to enact 11 amendments to keep up with the changing dynamics of American life and the lives and financial affairs of military personnel and their families. The most recent amendment was passed in 1991 during the Gulf War. It stated that creditors must verify if an individual is on active duty before they can take certain collections actions.

Changes Throughout the History of the SCRA

Congress restated and renamed the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in December of 2003. Legislators passed amendments and continues to do so even to this day. Under the SCRA benefits, lenders are prohibited from repossessing the service-member’s personal property, including their car, and from foreclosing on their home without a court order.

SCRA law allows the Attorney General to pursue litigation against anyone who violates this law and harms a service-member or their family. SCRA protection covers a variety of potential issues that members of the military may face as they go into active duty. Common protections include:

  • Rental agreements
  • Security deposits
  • Prepaid rent
  • Evictions
  • Installment contracts
  • Credit card interest rates
  • Mortgage interest rates
  • Mortgage foreclosures
  • Life insurance

Who is Eligible?

SCRA protection applies to the following servicemembers:

  • Full-time active duty members of the military.
  • Reservists on federal active duty.
  • Members of the National Guard on federal orders for a period of more than 30 days.

SCRA protection applies in some cases to spouses and dependents of servicemembers as well. A surviving spouse of a service-member is allowed to terminate a lease if their partner dies on active duty. A spouse can also choose to claim the service-member’s state of residence, or the state in which they reside on their taxes.

SCRA Attorneys in Raleigh, N.C.

If you are a member of the U.S. military and believe you were subjected to SCRA violations or have any questions regarding this blog or the SCRA as a whole, Maginnis Law’s SCRA attorneys would like to speak with you.

Maginnis Howard attorney Karl Gwaltney is experienced in handling SCRA cases and would like to speak with you regarding your potential case. You can contact our firm at (919) 526-0450 or through our contact page.