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Another VA Benefit, the SCRA! Wait, What's That?

small child sleeping holding an American flag in his soldier father's arms

It's all over the news, the heroes of our country have returned home, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is putting their program benefits to work! One of the VA benefits that many active duty personnel are electing to use is the VA home loan guaranty benefit; this benefit helps Servicemembers, Veterans and spouses to buy, build, repair, retain and refinance their homes. According to Bloomberg, the boost in VA mortgages is driving America's housing recovery, accounting for 8.1%, or $19.5 billion, of mortgages made in the first quarter.

This is awesome news! And a big congrats goes out to all those Servicemembers that are achieving the American dream of homeownership through the VA Home Loan Program. As we know, the reality is deployments can come at any time, so this forces me to beg the question: what happens when one of these proud homebuyers answers the nation's call to duty?

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

And this is what I found—the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) as the answer to this begging question. This Act alleviates some of the stress and economic burden placed on those called to duty, and their families, so that they can focus on the mission at hand.

Economic Relief Provided by the SCRA

The below are just examples of some of the rights and benefits provided by the Act. For a full list, contact the local Armed Forces Legal Assistance (AFLA) office.

  • A 6% Cap on Interest Rates—related to mortgages, student loans, credit cards, etc.
  • Protection from Eviction
  • Tax relief
  • Temporary relief from mortgage payments
  • Termination of residential and automobile leases

Who can benefit from the SCRA?

  • Active duty Servicemembers in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy
  • Reservists in active federal service
  • National Guard members in active federal Service
  • Dependents of Servicemembers in active duty

As homeowners, the temporary relief from mortgage payments can be achieved for those who bought a home and entered into the mortgage agreement before they were called into duty. They must still own the property, and demonstrate that the call to service affects their ability to make payments

I'm proud that our country has an Act that recognizes, understands and implements rights and benefits to protect our military personnel.

As many more of you are returning home and have questions, I also found through my research a campaign aimed at answering Veterans' questions and highlighting benefits they can receive. Simply send a tweet with the hashtag #Vetq and the VA and other Veterans organizations will see the question and have the opportunity to respond. I found it pretty awesome that the VA is coming up with new innovative ways to reach the heroes of our country and respond to their needs.

How low will your payment be?