What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and what protections might be available to active duty service members?
SCRA, or the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, enables servicemembers on active duty in the military service of the United States to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the nation by alleviating some of their financial burden. Some of the protections and benefits offered under SCRA include: • Interest Rate Cap: The maximum rate of interest on debt incurred prior to entry into military service (active duty) is 6%. If an eligible servicemember has an interest rate over 6%, upon request and with proof of eligibility, TMS will reduce the rate to 6% for the term of active duty. • Fees: Fees that are subject to SCRA will be waived to ensure that interest in excess of 6% is not paid by the servicemember. This can include late charges and foreclosure fees. TMS will waive late charges for all loan types/investors from the start of the active duty period through the end of the protection period. • Stay on Evictions and Foreclosures: Under SCRA, the servicemember has the right to have default judgments and other legal proceedings, evictions, repossessions, and foreclosures delayed until the servicemember is able to defend themselves in court. TMS will not proceed with these actions while the servicemember is on active duty and for up to 12 months after the end of active duty. Keep in mind that SCRA protections apply only to an obligation on real property (i.e. your mortgage) owned by a servicemember that meets the following criteria: • Loan was originated before the period of the Servicemember’s active military service and for which the Servicemember is still obligated, and • Loan is secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, or other security in the nature of a mortgage.
What is a “servicemember” for purposes of SCRA?
Servicemember refers to all persons in the armed forces of the United States: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including members of a reserve component and the National Guard, (Reservists), the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commissioned corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and U.S. citizens serving with allied forces.
What types of military service quality for SCRA benefits?
Military Service refers to active duty in the regular military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard), including members of a reserve component called to active duty, and members of the National Guard called to active duty by the Federal government for longer than 30 consecutive days, and commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or Public Health Service (PHS) called to active service by the order of the Federal Government.
What documentation does a customer need to submit to be reviewed for SCRA protection?
TMS will accept the following types of documentation to determine a servicemember’s eligibility for benefits under SCRA: • A verbal, written, or electronic request for relief (Note: TMS will verify the servicemember’s eligibility through the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC); and • At least one of the following: • Military orders, including Enlistment Contract, Travel or Permanent Change of Station orders, and Military Deferments; or • Department of Defense (DOD) Short Form; or • Letter from a Servicemember’s Commanding Officer, or screen print or other evidence of the DMDC check using the loan/obligation date as the “as of” date. For Fannie Mae loans, TMS will also accept: • Fannie Mae’s Request for Military Indulgence Form 180; and/or • TMS’s Mortgage Assistance Application Package for borrowers seeking loss mitigation assistance. This Package is modeled off of Fannie Mae Form 710 and is intended to document the borrower’s financial and hardship information. Documents should be sent to: • Fax to: 1.888.476.3867 • Mail to: Special Loans, 500 S. Broad Street, Suite 100A, Meriden, CT 06450 • Customers can also email the information to CCare: [email protected]
What about spouses or dependents of a servicemember?
If the customer requesting SCRA benefits or protections is claiming eligibility as a spouse or dependent of the servicemember, the customer must provide the documentation requested above for the servicemember (written request for relief and copy of orders), plus: • For spouses: a copy of the marriage certificate. • For dependents/children: a copy of the dependent’s military ID showing their military sponsor and relationship to sponsor. Documents should be sent to: • Fax to: 1.888.476.3867 • Mail to: Special Loans, 500 S. Broad Street, Suite 100A, Meriden, CT 06450 • Customers can also email the information to CCare: [email protected]
Once I apply for benefits, should I still make my regular monthly payments?
Yes. You are still required to make your monthly mortgage payments made up of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, and any other amounts that show as due on your monthly billing statement. Once we receive your request for relief under SCRA, we will review your eligibility and processes your request within 30 days of the receipt of the request. If our review confirms you meet eligibility requirements, we’ll send you a confirmation letter that outlines any change to your monthly payment, the effective date, and termination date of the benefits (if known). If we’re missing documentation needed to process your request or need more information, we’ll send you a communication letting you know. If we determine you are not eligible for SCRA benefits, or if you do not submit sufficient documentation within 30 days of the receipt of the request, we will send a communication denying the request for SCRA benefits.