Law protects deployed soldiers

On Monday, May 18, the nation celebrated Memorial Day by remembering the U.S. men and women who died while serving in the military. Another one of the ways the nation honors its military personnel is through the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act. The act, which was revised in 2003, is meant to provide peace of mind for soldiers on active duty regarding their financial affairs back home.

The SCRA allows for the temporary suspension of certain financial obligations and judicial or administrative proceedings during active duty military service.

There are probably close to 15,000 people in the greater Capital Region who are somehow affiliated with the military, said Matthew B. Tulley, an area attorney and a major in the Army National Guard. He wants people to understand the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act because both soldiers and civilians who work with soldiers do not know enough about the provisions of the act.

According to Tully, many military personnel and the service providers they deal with, such as landlords and cell phone carriers, are unaware of their rights if they are deployed or even transferred from one base to another.

"The one that I think is most commonly used now and that I used when I deployed to Iraq is the capping of debt at 6 percent interest," said Tully.

The SCRA caps interest rates on mortgages and credit card debt at 6 percent if a soldier is deployed on active duty.

Another benefit is that if a soldier is about to be deployed or has been relocated and is living in an apartment under a lease, he or she can break the lease without penalty.

Tully said that his law firm receives many calls from landlords asking if they can prevent their tenants in the military from breaking their leases when they are deployed or transferred.

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